Tuesday, March 31, 2009


Since 2002, the Norwegian public has been familiar with IKé UDé’s work, when the artist participated in the group exhibition “A Doll’s House”, that involved a modern interpretation of Ibsen’s play. Yet the event “Paris Hilton: Fantasy and Simulacrum”, that recently opened at Oslo’s Stenersen Museum, will finally allow Oslo’s contemporary art fans to admire UDé’s first solo event.

The exhibition - that was first launched last year at New York’s Stux Gallery - is a sort of conversation between the artist’s alter ego, Visconti, and Paris Hilton. The result is a unique visual dialogue about popular culture and the construction of the Paris Hilton phenomenon, carried out through elaborate mixed media works. Provocative materials from gossip blogs, porn sites, wallpaper samples, photocopies, mirrors, film and fashion and lifestyle magazines, clash and combine with UDé’s fantasy and sense of humour providing a fresh perspective on a celebrity most people think they already know and forcing the visitor to question issues of fame and the aesthetics of cultural decay. “The result is pure magic,” Selene Wendt from the Stenersen Museum says, “whether or not one likes or admires Paris Hilton, she is truly fascinating from a sociological perspective. IKé’s intellectual and artistic investigation of Paris Hilton is as relevant and interesting today as Andy Warhol’s approach to the stars of his time. Those who understand the subtleties of the artist’s approach will be open to the infinite layers of meaning embedded in the work, including questions surrounding popular culture and the intricacies of who achieves stardom and why within our society.”

IKé UDé was born in Lagos, Nigeria, and moved to the States in the 1980s. The founder of the quarterly aRUDE Magazine, he is also the author of the impressive volume Style File: The World’s Most Elegantly Dressed published by Harper Collins, a compendium of the “Style File” and “Elements of Style” sections originally published in aRUDE. The book features over 50 interviews with pioneer stylemakers, such as John Galliano, André Leon Talley, Stephen Jones, Iris Apfel, Christian Louboutin and Dita Von Teese.

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