Indepth Arts News: |
"Beyond Decorum: The Photography of Ike Ude
2001-07-28 until 2001-10-21
Sert Gallery, Harvard University Art Museums
USA United States of America
Nigerian-born Iké Udé has been
living in New York City since 1982,
but first received critical attention
in the mid-1990s as a result of
participation in a number of highly
This attention was also an acknowledgment of Udé’s impact on an
active circle of New York artists during the 1980s, when his interest in
style, fashion, and media led to his founding of the magazine aRude. Treating the magazine as a medium in its own right, Udé played
multiple roles in its production.
Udé’s art insists that, while the arts have played a key role in the
politics of visual culture and representation, media and fashion are
increasingly defining visual culture. His photography is infused with
critical references to fashion and the media, and he investigates
fashion photography as a distinct type of performance documentation.
His send-ups of stock fashion poses and sexual stereotypes
undermine the tenuous balance between perception and reality that
fashion features and ads work so hard to achieve.
Beyond Decorum: The Photography of Ike Udé is part of a larger
project titled Beyond Decorum, in which worn shoes, coats, and
pressed shirts displaying businesslike ties are posed as male and
female surrogates. Borrowing a notion from the philosopher Gaston
Bachelard, who observed that a wardrobe’s inner space is an
intimate space, space that is not open to just anybody, Udé creates
a charged space for a dialogue of identities. Enshrined in department
store cases and mirrored by companion photographs, the clothing is
intended to appeal to our consumer mentality to construct identity
through outward appearance and gives new resonance to Barbara
Kruger’s aphorism, I shop, therefore I am.
The exhibition has been curated by Lauri Firstenberg and was
organized by the Institute of Contemporary Art at Maine College of
Art, Portland, Maine.