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Disidentification and Metamorphosis: Early Works of Ulay


The exhibition composed of Ulay's videos of the '70s is passing through his reckoning with identity continuing from the very beginning. Changing the identities, emphasizing the relations between the gender identities, and handling an ambiguous identity problem constitute a considerable part of Ulay’s works. The idea that the transitions within the artist's own world, as well as the transitions between the materials of art, are instable leads us to think about Ulay's thought he developed as early as the '70s, as is the case with the French Gilbert Simondon's suggestion of a metastable psychic and physical formation for the human being.

It is a matter of discussion for the 20th century philosophy that the movement within the formation called the individualitation process is a temporal movement. The human being is a psycho-social entity, not only a social one, and he does not have any essence. Pre-individuality and the things included into this yeast later determine the entity; and they are not only a priori but also empirical.

From this point of view, the existential problem is suggested as a transcendental problem. The psychic activities and physical affects of the entity constitute strata by being articulated with each other. These always instable transitions are internal variations of the entity. The psycho-social is connected to both life and the physical world. And the new thought regime of individutation is founded on this ground. 

Thus, Ulay looks at the relation of its art with the identity on the one hand and his own relation with the identity on the other hand, and problematizes it. He disidentifies himself by using the space and himself, and transforms the space as he transforms himself.