H. Y. S. T. et al., Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.
Jun, 19 2010
H. Y. S. T. et al
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects.
June 19 – July 31, 2010
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is pleased to present H. Y. S. T. et al., an exhibition of new work by Shana Lutker. Drawing from research of the invention of hysteria, the beginnings of psychoanalysis and its legacy in art, Shana Lutker has developed a series of objects that are hovering in a peculiar state. They are specific and deliberate yet also premature or incomplete. Dream objects, they exist as ideas, sketches or hypotheses. In that way they reference the process of thinking, the subjectivity of memory, and the impossibility of translating an idea into three dimensions without a loss of potential.
In his study of hysteria, early psychologist J. M. Charcot relied on a 15 year old woman who came to his Salptrire Hospital in Paris in 1876. Charcot gave her the name “Augustine,” though she was sometimes referred to in hospital papers as “Genevieve,” or as “L.,” “X.,” or sometimes as “G.” Her name was not fixed, but she was his model patient, performing her symptoms, notably holding poses of different emotional states for a series of early photographs often sited and reproduced in texts on psychology, photography, and feminism. In 1885, Sigmund Freud came to study with Charcot, and the time he spent at the Salptrire was formative. He respected Charcot as a mentor but questioned his method of treatment, leading directly to Freud’s practice of psychoanalysis and the interpretation of dreams. In 1928, Andre Breton and Louis Aragon acknowledged and celebrated the “50th Birthday of Hysteria” in their magazine Le Surrealiste Revolution. They thank Charcot profusely for the “greatest poetic discovery of the end of the 19th century” and for the pin-up photographs of “delicious” young Augustine.
The relationship between psychoanalysis and representation, the interpretation of history, and the inherent incompleteness of translation are at play in H. Y. S. T. et al. Mainly made of steel, leather, and wood, objects in the exhibition are based on things seen in photographs, reminiscent of tools and objects used by Charcot, Freud and Breton. They are rather mysterious about their function and form, simplified and refined to be more bare, more naked. Each titled with a letter of the alphabet, the sculptures take the shapes of their titles. It is unclear as to whether the letters shaped the objects or the shape of the objects led to the titles.