Lutz Bacher: Black Beauty

25 Sep 2013 – 17 Nov 2013

Cost of entry


ICA (Institute of Contemporary Arts)

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Piccadilly Circus/Charing Cross

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Black Beauty is the first major solo exhibition in the UK by the artist Lutz Bacher, who lives between Berkeley, California and New York.

Since the beginning of her career in the 1970s, she has drawn upon disconnected information from popular culture and her own life, producing works that play with the interchangeability of identity. Throughout her wide-ranging conceptual practice Bacher uses images and objects in a physical, sometimes visceral manner, conducting arrangements of seemingly disparate entities and allowing them to interact in new ways. The artist's expansive work explores human identity as it is defined through gender, sexuality and the human body.

This exhibition presents new and recent works which combine striking installations with film, sound and sculpture. At the core of the exhibition is Black Beauty, several tons of coal slag which flow throughout the lower gallery. This piece is paired with a sound work, Puck (2012) which envelopes the viewer as they move through the space. Images taken from her on-going series The Celestial Handbook (2011), a book depicting astronomy and poignantly addressing the gap occurring between the visual and verbal articulations of an idea, are displayed framed along the concourse in the lower gallery.

The upper galleries house Chess, which consists of a large chess board frequented by figures, with the sound piece Elvis (2009), a looped audio work featuring Elvis Presley crooning in the background. Bacher's interpretation of narratives is further explored by her installation taken from the recent film version of John le Carré's Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. The installation seeks to address the complex notions of representation, language, art and space. This enigmatic mixture of bodies and ideas, pop and personal, continue to be entirely relevant to problems in both art and life today. Exposing areas of ambiguity in the social codes that shape our perception of others, Bacher's work has a personal resonance frequently driven by tactical humour.

Lutz Bacher is staging three exhibitions in Europe this year, the first was at Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany (9 February - 14 April, 2013), the second is here at the ICA (25 September - 17 November 2013), and the third at Kunsthalle Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland (opening 22 November 2013). A publication presenting the artist's complete oeuvre in the form of an artist book will also be issued in cooperation with Kunsthalle Zurich and the Portikus in Frankfurt.


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