On Tuesday 12 June at 7 pm, a new edition of Louise Lawler’s 1979 work A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture will be presented at The Movies cinema in Amsterdam. The evening is a co-production of If I Can’t Dance and the Stedelijk Museum. A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture revolves around the announcement and screening of a film chosen by Louise Lawler. The work accentuates the operation of the film screening and the experience of moviegoing, and foregrounds the performative aspects of film and of the artist’s practice. It was first presented at the Aero Theater in Santa Monica in 1979. The screening is followed by an after talk in the presence of the artist, with Sven Lütticken and Andrea Fraser, and with a response by Eric C. H. de Bruyn.
Louise Lawler’s A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture (1979) can be seen as a piece whose actual and potential consequences for contemporary art and theory deserve in-depth analysis. Sven Lütticken points out in his research proposal: “As an appropriation of film that is (seemingly) without pictures, as a performative intervention in the cinematic context, as a (non) event that stresses the spectators’ agency by leaving them in the dark, A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture has a complex temporality. It can be related to other works by Lawler and a number of others artists from the late 1970s and early 1980s, when artists examined elements of ‘cinematic’ culture such as the film still and the film screening—in other words, elements that had usually been treated as mere context for the ‘actual’ film. However, A Movie… has produced after-images and after-effects well beyond the years around 1980. While later versions of A Movie… have kept the piece in the public view to some extent, its visibility is marginal when compared with some of Lawler’s other work—particularly in Europe.”
The presentation of A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture is part of a research project undertaken by Sven Lütticken and Louise Lawler, and marks the beginning of their research trajectory within the framework of If I Can’t Dance’s programme Performance in Residence. With Performance in Residence, If I Can’t Dance considers performative art works as case studies for research projects with associated artists and curators, that lead to new productions.
Sven Lütticken teaches art history at VU University Amsterdam. He is the author of Secret Publicity: Essays on Contemporary Art (2006) and Idols of the Market: Modern Iconoclasm and the Fundamentalist Spectacle (2009). Andrea Fraser is an artist and teaches at the Art Department faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles. Eric C. H. de Bruyn is Assistant Professor of Film and Photographic Studies at the University of Leiden.
With special thanks to PhDArts, doctoral programme for visual artists and designers, Leiden University / University of the Arts, The Hague, www.phdarts.eu.