press release

Lutz Bacher
More Than This

In a career spanning more than four decades, Lutz Bacher has built a highly heterogeneous oeuvre that defies classification. The American artist, who adopted her male pseudonym when she first started out, has produced conceptual work in a variety of media. Bacher's photographs, sculptural arrangements, videos, sound pieces, and expansive installations incorporate images and objects that are fixed in collective memory and easily retrieved: press photographs of public figures that, copied several times over, begin to lead a strangely aesthetic new life, found objects from thrift shops she integrates into her installations as objets trouvés and readymades. Her appropriations draw on vernacular and pop culture sources such as dime novels, porn magazines, self-help literature, and paparazzi snapshots. The human body, sexuality, power, and violence are key issues in her art, as is the deliberate blurring of the line separating the private from the public sphere.

Through abstraction, fragmentation, and the arrangement of things in unwonted orders, Bacher raises questions concerning the standardizing pressures that shape social models of identity and our individual life choices, confronting our preference for conformity with piles of sand, coal slag, or thousands of loose marbles in the exhibition space to create situations of literal as well as metaphorical instability: everything, we sense, may change in an instant.

More Than This, Lutz Bacher's new installation in the Secession's main hall will bring together a loose arrangement of found objects—large, bulky tubes that are at the same time reminiscent of broken tools and parts of giant (toy) creatures—painting, and a sound piece into which the space and its visitors are immersed. With a short video clip that opens up a dialogue with Gutstav Klimt's Beethoven Frieze, the installation continues in the room where this main work of Klimt is on permanent presentation.

Lutz Bacher's artist's book The Gift will be published in conjunction with the show.

Lutz Bacher lives and works in New York.

Curator: Jeanette Pacher