You can see the 20 available Polaroids on this page: link.
Ulay does not start with a prepared concept, but is inspired by what he encounters. In this case he found a swimming pool in the Palmeraie, an oasis outside Marrakesh. Surrounded by rose petals, he is bathed in water. The light dances on the surface, which ensures a continuously changing light. In the water, the body is lighter, freer to move. Some kind of weightlessness sets in. At the same time, the body is vulnerable, with only the water surrounding it as an armor. Ulay has been concerned with his own identity throughout his life as an artist, for which he uses his own body as a means of expression.
Ulay (Frank Uwe Laysiepen, 1943) is known for his experiments with Polaroid technology. He developed the so-called “Polagrams”, life-size Polaroid photos for which he literally stepped into a large-format camera. Initially Ulay made self-portraits, later he turned his camera towards people from special groups, such as Aboriginals in Australia, homeless people in New York and young people in Dordrecht. Identity and the search for it have always been very important in Ulay’s work.
Ulay – JOY 011 (one of the hundred Polaroids)
Verily Klaasen (head of Art Affairs Rabobank) said the following about it: ‘Now it is normal practice to take a photo of daily life with a smartphone, which we can also see immediately. In the 1960s, when Ulay discovered the Polaroid, a direct image was reserved for the Polaroid. For Ulay, Polaroid’s instant photography fits in seamlessly with his need for a medium that was in direct connection with life itself. ‘
We are delighted to be able to show the JOY series to our readers. JOY consists of 100 unique photos that together form one work of art. Ulay made this Polaroid edition especially for Rabobank, as part of the Ulay – Polaroids exhibition, which opened in the Nederlands Fotomuseum in Rotterdam in January 2016. There are still a number of Polaroids available, so that as a buyer you can own one hundredth of the photographic work.
At Ulay, works are created quite freely, he said: “This series was made in the Palmeraie, an oasis outside Marrakech. I “grow” into a situation, instead of having a prepared concept for my work. In this case I found a swimming pool in the Palmeraie. In this I wanted to combine and culminate what has kept me busy during my artistic career. Body, water, light, the color pink and the seductive beauty of nature. Each of the 100 photos reflects a moment of joy and completeness. ”
One of the hundred Polaroids from Ulay – JOY 099
Information about the polaroids from the JOY (2015) series:
Dimensions: Image size: 6.2 x 9.9 cm, photo: 8.6 x 10.8 cm, passe-partout cardboard: 21.5 x 26.9 cm
Signed under the photo on the passe-partout cardboard and on certificate
Technique: Fuji Instax Wide (instant photo)
Edition: one-offs, 100 photos from the series entitled JOY, consisting of 100 unique works
In the documentary “Where did the image go?” Ulay looks back penetratingly and candidly on his life and work in his studio in Ljubljana. The camera follows the artist on a journey through images from the past. And documents Ulay’s visits to his depot in the Netherlands and the depot of the Rabo Art Collection. Here he sees important works and his Polaroid cameras back for the first time in more than twenty years.
The film was commissioned by the Rabo Art Collection for the exhibition Ulay | Polaroids (23 January – 1 May 2016) in the Nederlands Fotomuseum, the film was made by Charlotte Ebers and Stijn van der Loo. Above the trailer, watch the full movie at Kunstuur: link
A large retrospective of Ulay was shown in 2016-2017 at the Kunsthall Schirn in Frankfurt: Ulay Life-Sized. Ulay and Marina Abramovic have long been an artist duo known for their groundbreaking and penetrating performances. Here you see the images that went viral from The Artist Is Present in MoMa in which they meet again after a long time.
All Polaroids are photographed by Peter Cox. Portrait of the artist: Profilex.