In this social media age the selfie has become the fastest and most widely used form of self portraiture in history. With the help from beautifying apps we can now edit our own image to conform to existing beauty standards, which has created an additional amount of competition and pressure on, in particular, young girls to present themselves regularly online and in ways that mimic an ideal. Iiu Susiraja's work aims to challenge this kind of self-representation.
In self portraits wherein the artist has wedged a broom under her breasts, is hugging a loaf of bread or carries her tummy on a serving tray, we are presented with a sort of satire on a form of photography that has become the norm. Iiu says the most common reaction to her work is 'confusion', which perhaps reveals how innate this 'perfect selfie' phenomenon has become within our culture, and shouldn't a contemporary photographer be reacting to the contemporary photographic phenomenons? Iiu's work almost feels like a public service to all of us women, to remind us that we can express ourselves and our bodies however we chose and that sometimes the most bizarre, least conventionally beautiful representations can be the most honest and exciting. As the artist puts it, she wants viewers 'to feel freedom to perform how they want to in their own self-portrait. And the best part is if the viewer has conflicting thoughts with my art.'
Iiu's work does not mock the vanity of selfie culture, but rather sees the benefit in this new and highly accessible way of self representing as a form of free self expression and a way of taking control of how you wish to be seen. Rather she sees that it is headed down a path of singularity, and her work demonstrates a breath of fresh air which may inspire a diversity, honesty and truth to how we continue to document ourselves and present our image to the world.
We are honoured to have one of these self portraits as a Photo Postcard for our exhibition in October. In the image the artist displays the infamous tights struggle every woman knows all too well, humorously using a baseball bat to help her with it, to seemingly no avail.
Her work is a great example of how contemporary photographers are reshaping the climate that photography exists within by satirising the forms that make up the 'norms'. We are delighted to have Iiu on board as one of our participating artists. For the full list of who else's work is on the line up go to http://bit.ly/2r0MUE4.
About the writer
Rosa Torr has a BA in Politics and Philosophy from University College Dublin, though she herself is from London. Her place of interest is political theory and in particular Gender Studies. Rosa has written for numerous online publications and the University Observer. She is also a theatre maker and is currently co-artistic director of BUMP&GRIND Theatre Company. The show she co-wrote BUMP is on at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer.