We proudly present ‘Social Media Solitude’, the third solo exhibition of Line Gulsett with TORCH
gallery. Like in her earlier works, the new paintings and drawings in this show cover our modern state of mind, one that is distracted by a constant stream of images and information. While being more connected than ever, people feel more alone than ever. It is commonly accepted that social media plays a large part in this distress. Gulsett takes this lost connection to reality and its causes to create images that force us to contemplate our solitude.
Social Media has become an extension of our thought in a Cartesian sense. According to Descartes, as long as we think we can know that we exist (I think therefor I am). This is called
solipsism; the notion that the only thing that exists, is one’s own self and mind. By using social media, our thoughts and experiences (through which we exist) come through an extension. These experiences are merely simulations of reality, since it creates an environment in which only the user exists. The experiences had through the social media are approximations of reality and social interaction is contrived. Social media simulates social interaction, but fails to deliver
what immediate social interaction can.
This illusion of integration results in less solidarity. It increases social anxiety, depression and insecurity, so social circumstances inflict mental health issues. Not being part of their community is one of the three kinds of causes for suicide in Emile Durkheim's work Le Suicide (1897). He argues that what he calls egoistic suicide, occurs when people are insufficiently integrated in a society. Using social media to experience life is disconnecting people from their community and feels similar to the cause Durkheim was writing about.
Children too are spending more time looking at screens and less on the playgrounds. It is crucial for them to play, so they can learn and interact with the world around them. Both the movement related to playing and the flickering images on our screens, are recurring themes in Gulsett's work. Playful objects and images found on social media come forward in distorted fragments through a visual language that seems moving itself. Brightly colored figures dissolve into a dark background through rough brushstrokes and wiped out lines. This sense of motion is characteristic in her paintings, but also distinguishes her drawings and oil paste. The colors applied are dissolving into 'dust' across the plane, in the form of raw pigments.
A new addition to Gulsett's use of material are aluminum balloons, directly glued onto the canvas. Being moving objects, these are fun to play with for children, sold at fairs and used
during birthdays. There is chance this will be another toy soon abandoned in favor of digital games. Filled with aluminum, they often disappear into the sky, never to be found again. Eventually they end up in the sea, eaten by fish that are poisoned this way and contribute to a further pollution of this planet. In making them part of her compositions, Gulsett uses balloons as metaphor for two things that endanger our next generation's health.
Line Gulsett (1981, Norway) lives and works in The Hague, The Netherlands. She graduated from the Royal Academy of the Arts in The Hague in 2011 and has exhibited worldwide ever since. In 2015, she completed a residency with the Leipzig international artist program and in 2018, East side International residency in Los Angeles. In 2018, she took part in the exhibition Lebenszeichen in der Kunst in Weserburg Museum für moderne kunst, Bremen She is a member of the Norwegian Artists Association and her work is represented by TORCH gallery in Amsterdam and Camara Oscura in Madrid.