Sven Lütticken is commissioned by If I Can’t Dance to undertake one of four research projects as part of Edition V – Appropriation and Dedication (2013–2014).
Louise Lawler's A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture (1979/2012) is the case study that Lütticken is focusing on for his contribution to Performance in Residence. The work 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 movie going, 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.
If I Can't Dance became interested in thinking about Lawler's practice in the framework of Edition V - Appropriation and Dedication, after reading an essay by Helen Molesworth, titled 'Louise Lawler: Just the Facts' (2004). We first read this essay in our Affect Reading Group in 2010. Molesworth's understanding of Lawler's work moves away from a typical reading of a 1980s appropriation practice as a strategy of criticism or subversion, and instead considers the affective qualities of Lawler's engagement with her subject matter.
Lütticken's research begins with a new presentation of A Movie on 12 June 2012 at cinema de Uitkijk in Amsterdam. In his research essay, to be published in 2013, Lütticken writes about the process of research: "One way to approach it is to repeat it, to collaborate with Lawler in adding another iteration. This is what I have done with If I Can’t Dance, but of course the repetition has an impact on the work. In order to approach the work one has to enter it. A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture is a work that can only be interpreted by changing it."
Louise Lawler lives and works in New York. Lawler became well known in the 1980s for her photographs of art works situated in the homes of collectors, auction houses and galleries. These photos show art works in constellations with designer objects and everyday objects; or offer ‘backstage’ glimpses of works in transit or prior to installation. Often framed as ‘appropriation art’, or ‘institutional critique,’ this photographic work, which she maintains until this day, lays bare the day-to-day operations of the art world and its circulation and presentation of art works. The work also, importantly, exposes an affective engagement of the artist with her subject matter. Lawler’s practice in fact extends into audio pieces, installations, events and several kinds of ephemera. These works assert a ‘poignancy’, as Helen Molesworth has described, that is characterised by both passion and sharpness, and attests to the complexity of personal and political commitment in artistic practice.
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).
Sven Lütticken is commissioned by If I Can’t Dance to undertake one of four Performance in Residence research projects as part of Edition V – Appropriation and Dedication (2013–2014).
Louise Lawler's A Movie Will Be Shown Without the Picture (1979/2012) is the case study that Lütticken is focusing on for his contribution to Performance in Residence. 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. Lütticken’s research will depart from this piece to look into other instances of Lawler’s early performative practice.
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