Born 1985 in Frankfurt, Lilly Lulay studied photography, sculpture and media sociology in Germany and France. Her works examine photography as a cultural tool that forms an integral part of daily life. Perfectly aware of today’s overproduction of images Lulay uses own and other peoples photographs as "raw material". Applying a variety of techniques, that range from laser cutting to embroidery, from installation to collage Lulay turns photographs into palpable objects. With her work she investigates on the influence that photographic media have (had) on social behavior and mechanisms of individual and collective perception. Since 2017 she investigates on the smartphone as a photographic tool which has significantly changed the functions and appearances of photography. In her mixed media projects, she explores the social, technical, and economical structures linked to smartphone photography. 


For her photo-based works Lilly Lulay won several prizes and scholarships as: 2019 Stiftung Kunstfonds grant, 2018 Foam Talents programme, 2017 Olympus recommended fellowship in cooperation with Foam Amsterdam, Deichtorhallen Hamburg, Fotografie Forum Frankfurt, 2015 IEPA residency grant, 2013 Künstlerhilfe Frankfurt scholarship and 2012 Deutsche Börse-HfG Offenbach photography prize. Lulay’s works form part of private and public collections such as George Eastman Museum Rochester, Fondazione Fotografia Modena, Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Frankfurt, Art Collection DZ Bank Frankfurt as well as Artothèques in Pessac, Pau and Limoge, France. Her works have been shown in these institutions as well as at Aperture New York, Die Ecke Santiago de Chile, Ballarat Foto Biennale Australia, Beaconsfield London, Foam Next Door Amsterdam, Festival Circulations Paris, Benaki Museum Athens and Museum für Konkrete Kunst Ingolstadt and other venues.

Artist Statement

 About the series title :   Our writing tools work with us on our thoughts

In 1882 Nietzsche wrote this sentence to a friend on his first typewriter. Today, when we want to get in touch with friends, we use our smartphone. Here we still put letters together, but also use photographs and emojis to express ourselves. In addition to written language, images and ideograms have emerged which are (seemingly) comprehensible on a global and intuitive level.

I am interested in how the communication between friends has changed through smartphones and in the role, photography plays within this. With which images and symbols do we interact inside social networks or WhatsApp and with which images do we surround ourselves in our private living spaces? Which graphic or spatial settings frame and connote photographs, here as well as there?

The series “Our Writing Tools Take Part in the Forming of Our Thoughts” is an interaction of digital and analogue living spaces: a collage of symbols/ icons that originate from the smartphone or the Internet and photographic insights into the living space of my friend C. In 2017, for her 74 birthday C. got her first smartphone. Today, even if she remains critical of it (the smartphone provides mainly banal contents, to many small bits of information), we are in a more lively exchange than ever before. Via WhatsApp Audio, I explain her the functions of her new „writing tool”. “If you want to send me a photo, first tap on the camera icon on the bottom left, then take the picture and then press on the paper plane symbol.”


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