THE ART OF TAMMY MIKE LAUFER
An academic paper by Maayan Glaser-Koren
"My works and video arts are similar to mental puzzles, where you can travel from one point to another by analyzing a picture’s symbolic objects. There is always something for the observer to discover".
Tammy Mike Laufer is an Israeli contemporary artist who creates hybrid digital art. She incorporates both video art and digital painting references from art movements such as Futurism, Dada, Surrealism, Pop, and Feminist art. Her work shows traces of Salvador Dali’s depiction of dreams, Frida Kahlo’s palette, Andy Warhol’s silk prints, and Judi Chicago’s early feminist work. By drawing her inspiration from different artists,
Laufer creates her own digital art language through which she emphasizes the isolated human condition in the technological age.Laufer’s digital paintings depict various objects and subjects, including cars and skyscrapers within urban fantasy landscapes and a series of a generic woman separated from the material world. The depiction of a woman detached from her environment and floating within an arid background imitates a womb, referencing well-known early minimalist feminist work by Chicago depicting images of the vulva in an abstract manner. There is also a deeper relation between Laufer and Chicago since they are both female artists who had their own struggles in the art world. Maybe that is why Laufer depicts her women isolated and alienated from their surroundings, or maybe she places them in a safe place such as the womb in order to protect them from the patriarchal world.
Laufer’s artwork from 2010 depicts pigs while referencing the global economic struggle. PIGS CRISIS (2011) is a video installation inspired by the swine flu “media-panic” that replaced the media’s obsession with the recent economic recession. Included are portrayals of real pigs that fly in a dark galaxy. Similar to a video game simulation, the pigs fight each other and are confronted by flu viruses. In addition, the term “PIGS” is an acronym for the four countries (Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain) whose national debts and economic crises are a threat to the European economy and to the stability of the European Union. Eventually, the pigs withdraw from view and the video ends with coins piling up signaling “game over.” There are no winners and no losers, as if to suggest that we cannot be certain about the future and who will be on top in the end. This is Laufer’s well-crafted version of a short narrative.
Laufer’s digital paintings and video art depict different notions of alienation and struggle. As an artist, she consistently critiques and expresses her ideas about life; even if she presents imaginary fantastic images, the message is clear and pertinent to reality. She prompts viewers to be hypersensitive to their surroundings, in an effort to increase awareness about the nature of art and its social relevance.