For their first solo presentation in the US, Artor Jesus Inkerö (b. 1989, Helsinki, Finland) presents three recent video works as part of the New Museum’s ongoing Screens Series.
Inkerö’s large-scale photographs, videos, and performances are part of what the artist terms a “holistic bodily project”: a series of rigorous, evolving self-transformations that transgress boundaries between Inkerö’s art and life. Through bodybuilding, dieting, supplements, dress, posture, and digital post-production, Inkerö (who uses the pronoun “they”) manipulates the material, external qualities of the self to consider how it might be projected into the world. Online and at the gym, they are immersed in bodybuilding subcultures and their attendant languages, behaviors, and perceptions. Famous figures from popular culture serve as ideals and models through which the artist imagines possible new selves, cycling fluidly through a range of genders. In works such as SWOLE (2017), Inkerö documents their real-life commitment to and subsequent transformation from an intensive gym and diet regimen, as well as the attendant communities that form around and support such activities, mainly through texting and sharing videos and photos on various digital platforms. In Inkerö’s subsequent work, BUBBLE (2017), the artist inhabits a constructed world, adopting movements and gestures to project the most generic vision of contemporary masculinity and first-world comfort. Their latest work, LISTENER (2018), focuses on the deepening of the male voice on an airline’s pre-flight safety video—how its decibel produces feelings of calm and security, and how the artist might imitate it to similarly exert subtle control over others through the modulation of masculine-coded attributes.
Inkerö’s works examine the comfort we seek through identification with others and through the stability of generic forms and predictable behaviors. Their work joins the world of appearances with the personal project of self-fashioning, and highlights the conflation of self and other as an omnipresent mode of control in late capitalist society. In short, Inkerö’s videos explore the choices we make—and the limitations we encounter—in order to identify with or feel connected to those around us.
“Screens series: Artor Jesus Inkerö” is organized by Helga Christoffersen, Associate Curator.