1xRUN Thru Interview
Self Reflection is Greater than Self Projection by Insa
1xRun: Tell us a bit about this piece…
Insa: These lenticular pieces are based off of an installation that I did in April of 2012. The installation piece is my most obviously paradoxical to date. Having built the my brand through reiterating issues of the female body and commodity fetishism, here, amid a swirling cacophony of bikini clad women and chrome, the audience is assured that ‘Self Reflection is Greater than Self Projection’.
Read on below for more information behind Insa’s Self Reflection Is Greater Than Self Projection…
This new installation piece is INSA’s most obviously paradoxical to date. Having built the INSA ‘brand’ through reiterating issues of the female body and commodity fetishism, here, amid a swirling cacophony of bikini clad women and chrome, the audience is assured that ‘Self Reflection is Greater than Self Projection’.
The work is a maelstrom of spheres reflecting a distorted and sexually exaggerated view of two women gesticulating amongst the chaos. Glimpses of a black and white striped background behind these spheres hint at, albeit briefly, some sort of superseded purity as the irrepressible foreground pushes its way back into focus. To produce the work, INSA constructed an 8ft x 8ft box, painted the interior with disorientating stripes with one wall made of reflective chrome spheres. With the cameras and flashes set to record remotely, INSA actively removed himself from participating in this process. In pitch black, and with the camera only recording the deceptive reflections with each flash cycle, the photographer and the girls were equally distant from the end results. Thus, the final imagery’s depiction of make-believe is further deepened and the artist is no more engaged with the fantasy/ reality than the viewer. The optical illusion created by the digitally printed vinyl melds the walls into each other to encircle the viewer in this disarming reality. Alluring and grotesque in equal parts; INSA’s work once again challenges our notions of attainment and success, questioning a culture obsessed with image and money and our own culpability and complicity in it. Even if we want no part in it, can we ever avoid being voyeurs of these two girls and the INSA bubble they inhabit?
‘Self Reflection is Greater than Self Projection’ is loaded with the iconic and counterpointed themes familiar in INSA’s work: that the ideal of projected success is different from that of genuine happiness reflecting the innate conflict of who we really are and who we strive to be. INSA’s art regurgitates stereotypes, but this repeated imagery, apparently gratuitous, aims to disrupt without simplistically rejecting the images that surround us. Instead, INSA calls on us to confront our own contradictions when we are drawn into the objectification of women’s bodies, and aligns this relationship of desire with the insatiable lusts of consumerism. It’s clear that success in this world is measured unequivocally by fame, money, and beautiful women in high heels. With no little degree of irony, INSA’s constructed reality has created an artistic brand as synonymous with attainment and success in the real world as the oiled and pouting women depicted in his imagery.
This world is a hyper-reality, in contrast to the artist’s own lifestyle, but one in which his fans across the globe often go to incredible lengths to take part in. In Spring 2011 the artist announced an open competition on his website, insaland.com, where people were asked to swap something in return for a limited edition INSA and NIKE bootleg t-shirt. Epitomizing the cult appeal surrounding his work, the successful winners included those individuals who tattooed their bodies with INSA artwork and one who named their first born child under the artist’s moniker. Another one of the successful participants was Francesca Selby from the wall coverings agency PaperGraphics who donated the vinyl covering that provides the canvas for this installation, a very generous swap that finds herself at the heart of INSA’s coveted and immersive world.
It may not be obvious at first glance, but INSA’s work is an astutely calculated critique of society, commodity fetishism and many of the ardent cravings of life in the 21st century. He throws our desires in our face and tells us to love them and become them, while at the same time trying to hope that there must be more to our life than this. It’s for this reason that INSA’s oeuvre, and this latest installation in particular, are crucial components of contemporary cultural criticism today.