Olga Lamm is a Moscow-born, New York-based artist. After graduating from the School of Visual Arts in NYC, where she majored in graphic design and 3D design. Lamm has worked as a freelancer for publishing houses, magazines, design firms and ad agencies. Her diverse clients have included Scholastic, Universe Publishing/Rizzoli, Oxford University Press, Imagination, Interbrand and R/GA. While working on brands such as the Ad Council, Burberry, Google, Netflix, Samsung, Tiffany, and YouTube, among many others. From store interiors, billboards, logos and packaging to websites, books and magazines, she has worked on a variety of graphic design and advertising projects.
Lamm’s commercial work has long intersected with her fine art and multimedia practice, the latter of which takes the form of digital collage, text-based installations, and animation. Lamm began her commercial career as a graphic designer and art director, and as she became more interested in the real world application and functionality of design, her experience with design implementation from start to finish gave her a bird's eye view that is reflected in her multimedia fine art practice where dreams and research fuse in fantastical explorations of self and identity.
Polymorphous and serial in nature, such works make connections between our interior and exterior experience of reality, merging the realms of macro and micro, nature and technology in the process. The photo-based series “Renaissance Ball” (2000), for example, was inspired by the filmic and performative aesthetics of storyboards and flipbooks, playing with the way our outer appearances and internal sense of self intersect through drag and masquerade. The series both reflects and critiques popular culture tropes that promote body ideals be it via plastic surgery, make-overs or heavily retouched images in advertising. By digitally transposing the drag queen subjects from their original environment (Wigstock) into bucolic landscapes, the work challenge our expectations of gender expression through fictional scenarios that suggest a deeper kind of self-journey. Similarly, after experimenting with a virtual reality game “Second Life” and its avatar-based reality, she made her series “metaSingularity” (2009-2012) equating singularity with the convergence of technology and humanity. Evoking/processing the plasticity of the human condition, it conjured a surreal, architectonic world ruled by metamorphosis. The works “metaCamouflage” (2013), “metaDynamic” (2013) & “metaEnergy” (2013) that followed experimented with lucid dreams and astral projection forming a four-part series collectively titled metaFour. The latter echoes the scientific hypothesis that all reality is actually a projection, in keeping with the model of a hologram. Amidst working
on metaFour, she began her series “Wordplay” (2012-Present) which resembles billboard/signage advertisements, and employs
an installation format where animations and sculptures based on mantras are augmented/layered into urban and rural landscapes. These wordplays examine the role of language in our life and the potential narratives that can arise when given characters are rearranged, as in the anagrammatic works such as “IMAGINE=I IN GAME” (2012) and “BELIEF=BE LIFE” (2013).
While working in many creative environments with various clients and projects is reflected in Lamm’s earlier works such as “Journey” (2001-2003), “Apocalypse” (2001-2004) and “i” (2002-2003). These works show the same sort of character displacement, allowing fictional characters like drag queens and numbers derived from an artist -generated code to migrate into various platforms and formats - digital and print, still and moving, visual and audible etc. “Sunset by Proxy” (2015) and “Thou(ght) Patterns” (2013-2015), for instance, explore how the same image can communicate, interact and evolve differently in such contexts, where divergent mediums and scales alter our perception of them.
As Lamm’s commercial and visual art practices continue to evolve in tandem, her interest in neuroscience has recently led to works such as “Architecture of metaFlight” (2017-Present) that consider the gravitational pull of socially imposed structures/templates/labels in an effort to release their grip on us, and develop richer notions of self that expand our awareness and connect us to our essence in an infinite sea of possibilities.
Lamm’s work has been shown nationally and internationally, with exhibitions in the US, Germany and Columbia. The artist recently received Berlin’s Institute for Art & Innovation annual award, The Social Art Award (Invigorating The Rise of Social Art), and is currently working on an exhibition based on a collaboration with her late father, the artist Leonid Lamm.