@hannezaruma does not own a computer, nor does she use professional graphic design software. Usually, she asks friends to give interviews in her place. But the Ukrainian artist still finds a way to create hilarious imagery inspired by viral internet content, confronting the shortcomings of our modern world: from unrealistic beauty standards and fast-fashion, to gadget mania and our ignorance of environmental issues.
The former law student and model rose to fame to December 2020, when she shared a self portrait on Instagram which spread her face across several early 00s phone screens. She did not expect that her concept would quickly become an AR Instagram face filter, amassing 11 million views in just one week. As a result, Zaruma now boasts a hefty social media following, has appeared in international fashion publications such as the US Vogue and I-D, and has launched an all-digital fashion collection for innovative online retailer DressX.
Zaruma’s visual language is witty and razor-sharp. The artist has a knack for combining images of everyday consumerist gadgets and technology with nature and life: picture a seashell squashed by a takeaway cup lid, earbuds sprouting plant life, or a USB stick made of an actual, human tongue. In one video she pokes fun at Instagram-driven narcissism by grooming herself to excess.
Can AR filters make you feel beautiful enough to stop spending on cosmetics? Will your new vacuum cleaner help you clean up the same beaches that it pollutes during its manufacture?
Zaruma invents situations that are fake but seem frighteningly real: a sewing machine can stitch a perfect body, ice is sold as sugar-free sweets, and scanning a phone over a body lets you see their underwear. In such a way, shifting between our real and augmented realities, Zaruma explores the vices that shape us — and the economy of excess we unwittingly fuel.