Ulay (born in Solingen, Germany, 1943) pioneered the use of the Polaroid as an art medium and is widely known for his unusual experiments, such as his ‘Polagrams’, the life-size Polaroids he created by literally ‘stepping into’ a large format camera. One of his Polaroids is more than 2.5m tall.
Ulay was introduced to Polaroid in the late 1960s, when he moved to Amsterdam. Since then, he has spent much of his artistic career working with a Polaroid camera. Owing to his technical aptitude and knowledge, he soon acquired a name as an expert and consultant in the field. Polaroid was happy to provide unlimited supplies of film and the latest cameras for him to use. In the early 1970s Ulay embarked on a very personal search for identity, particularly in relation to social issues and areas of tension between men and women.
Polaroid’s instant photography was a perfect match to his need to registrate his performances. He would photograph himself dressing up and applying his makeup, meticulously capturing each and every move, often creating a complete photo series which he referred to as ‘auto-Polaroids’.