Annka Kultys Gallery is pleased to present ‘From My Bedroom To Yours’, Molly Soda’s first solo exhibition outside her native United States. The show features twenty recent works by the Detroit-based digital artist realised across a variety of digital platforms, including videos, gifs and NewHive.
Born in 1989 and currently 26, Soda explains her work is about girls and for girls in their bedrooms, and takes the private behaviours inherent to those spaces and makes them public, reflecting how that process changes the way in which those behaviours are seen and contextualised. As a result, her images are raw, rejecting conventional beauty norms, whilst still maintaining a tween-Tumblr aesthetic and employing kitsch elements and lowbrow internet culture.
Soda belongs to a generation of young video and internet based women artists, including the likes of 22-year old Canadian photographer Petra Collins (b.1992-) and the San Franciso Bay-area based Vivian Fu (b.1990-); the latter’s photography focusing on the intimacy of her personal relationships and challenging representations of Asian women. Yet Soda’s work also resonates with that of an earlier generation of women artists, and in particular Tracey Emin (b.1963-) and her infamous Turner Prize nominated ‘My Bed’ (1998), an installation piece comprising an unmade double bed and related detritus (empty vodka bottles, cigarette ends, condoms, stuffed toy, etc) Emin had purportedly occupied for several days following a bout of depression ; which echoes Soda’s own bedroom/workspace / site-of-production. Beyond the common superficialities of the two spaces, both artists’ work draws heavily upon autobiographical elements, contradicting society’s expectations of women’s art and women artists, through the communication of their most intimate experiences.
Each piece in the show records the artist undertaking one or more of a diverse range of activities from her home, such as singing, dancing, telling stories or expressing her emotions (melancholy, frustration, joy, etc), for example. Each activity takes place directly in front of her camera creating a powerful intimacy with the viewer. An emotional connection with her viewers is created through the artist’s shared feelings of loneliness, silliness, love, lust and boredom as she puts herself on display and makes her private, public : from her bedroom to yours. As Soda’s entire oeuvre is available on-line, her art is freely accessible not only to her hundreds of thousand of followers on apps such as Instagram or Tumblr but also literally to anyone with internet access. Visitors to the gallery will therefore be able to augment their experience of the artist’s works on the ipads and television monitors provided in the gallery by using their own smartphones and portable devices to access the social platforms (Tumblr, NewHive, YouTube, etc) where Soda’s works were originally posted.
To foster an ambience akin to the artist’s own bedroom in Detroit, the normal white cube aesthetic of the gallery space has been transformed : its walls have been painted a pink similar to that of Soda’s bedroom and its space decorated with pink-hued furniture pieces which have the dual function of both providing gallery visitors with a physically comfortable environment in which to view the work, while also replicating the ‘girly-pink-warm’ atmosphere associated with the artist’s work.