The addictive force of the internet is real, and no one knows this better than Aurélie Bayad. In a post-internet world, where IRL increasingly merges with URL, new possibilities of being are creeping into our daily lives. In her versatile art practice, Bayad uses video, photography and performance to confront us with the messy, dirty thoughts and desires of our hyperreal (what is real?), cultivated identities, as we try to live up to the new rules and standards set by the digital sphere of fake likes and dark web eroticism. Bayad uses her camera, her own and other bodies, and texts she wrote to create a fresh aesthetic language for the new desires of contemporary culture. In slimy and gooey, ugly and disgusting, cheap and glittery settings, we watch her unfold the personae of her filmed and photographed subjects. She hides her models behind the soft, nostalgic hues of the kitschy eighties and nineties; includes erratic and ecstatic sequences in her films, with heart-pounding soundtracks; and fearlessly looks back into the lens, as if asking us: ‘What is your real personality? What is real beauty? What is your true desire, your fetish? Who do you want me to see?’ With her otherworldly beauty standards, her visceral and vomitous but lively encounters with food and other quotidian objects, and her frank interrogations of intimacy, giving and receiving, love and abuse — so pertinent that they can make you tremble with self-doubt — Aurélie Bayad shares with us her search for personal grounding in this confusing, networked world.
- Text by Zeynep Kubat (.tiff)