Narration and Performance

Narration and Performance

Anne-Lise Coste, Klodin Erb, Clare Goodwin, Richard Hamilton, Rebecca Horn, Urs Lüthi, Mamiko Otsubo, Ulrike Rosenbach, Dieter Roth


In the group exhibition Narration and Performance we show works by four artists from the gallery programme alongside works by guests. The title of the exhibition allows us to show a wide range of works. The term performance has been lately used rather abundantly in press releases, we therefore have simply put it in the title of the exhibition. Narration, the narrative, is often closely linked to the performative aspect of an art work.

In works with a performative and/or narrative character, often people are depicted: In the middle room, three photographs from 1977 present Rebecca Horn in a performance with a threatening drawing mask. Willy Spiller photographed a great example of a playful performance and an incunabulum of Swiss art history in 1970 when he staged David Weiss and Urs Lüthi together at various locations in Zurich. The pair of pictures Me and the Other by Klodin Erb, painted behind glass, braces the central exhibition space. Anne-Lise Coste astonishes with adaptations of Mondrian pictures in her signature airbrush technique. A process that diametrically opposes Mondrian's meticulous way of working and charges his rational colour fields in primary colours with emotions. Opposite, an offset print from 1974 reproduces the androgynous Urs Lüthi, who is not the only one who is alone. Next to the self-portrait of Lüthi, hangs his graphic suite Blessures sentimentales in three sheets and in different techniques. The triptych Energy comes from Energy by Urs Fischer could be understood as the early creation of his possible motto. On invitation cards for exhibitions by Hauser & Wirth and Presenhuber he depicted hands and feet and a cake with a candle: Elements that refer to his later gigantic sculptures of hands and wax sculptures.

In the large canvas by Klodin Erb in the first room with the prosaic title After the Landscape and the unusual format (shaped canvas), the performative character of its production is revealed. The painting is from a group of five, which Erb painted with enamel lacquer throwing folds in the drying process depending on its application. Thus the representation is further changed after the end of the painting process. Erb poured the synthetic resin paint onto the pictures lying on the floor and distributed them with a mop. This gave her the impression of paint deposits and marbled sediments. The group of pictures was created for an exhibition in the Aargauer Kunsthaus in Aarau, Switzerland and is inspired by pictures of Caspar Wolf (1735-1783) from the museum collection. Wolf is especially known for his cave views and his interest in geological questions.

On the floor the work Equivalent by Mamiko Otsubo is arranged. The conceptual piece borrows its form and name from Carl Andre’s minimalist sculpture series Equivalent from 1966/69. In Otsubo’s version, the 120 firebricks are replaced with used paperback copies of the Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein, featuring the infamous portrait of Stein by Picasso. On one end of the sculpture, a number of skin toned silicone casts of these books serve as “prosthetics” and stand in for additional copies. Carl Andre is understandably a big fan of the works by Gertrude Stein. The American writer, a materialist in her own right, gave words and language a double life.

In the back room, one can discover another ceramic piece by Clare Goodwin. Opposite, three people are depicted in different poses: Richard Hamilton presents a Dedicated Follower of Fashion who wanted to get a model job in Hamburg by sending his photograph to an agency; Dieter Roth shows himself in the Self-portrait as a Parisian not as from Paris, but disguised as a contraceptive, and Ulrike Rosenbach imitates the macho gestures of Elvis Presley, as Andy Warhol had captured them in the early 1960s. These role-plays can be excellently summarized under the exhibition title Narration and Performance and show the tendency of the artists in the 1970s to question and stage themselves.

Limmatstrasse 214
8005 Zürich
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