An Analphabet


Vielmetter Los Angeles
Los Angeles, CA

September 20 –November 2, 2019

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The exhibition takes its title from a curious word. An analphabet is an illiterate who cannot recognize the letters of the alphabet. Analphabet is also the title of a 1947 book of drawings by Man Ray, where it seems to describe an alphabet, rather than an analphabet. Spurred by this curious homonym, the exhibition is framed by a circular logic: if a letter is seen as just another shape, any shape might also be mistaken for a letter.

Lutker creates a precarious, shifting installation of sculptural forms. Highly polished reflective steel is cut into recognizable shapes—a lasso, a perforated A-frame, an eye—which are also suggestive of letters or sounds. Culled from her studio archives of materials, surrealist ephemera, and found objects, Lutker presents a body of work that yearns to be more. An Analphabetinsinuates the possibility of a world, and all the shapes and objects in it, as a text to be read.

Lutker plays with the epic and glorious, as well as the ominous; evoking nooses, gallows, and surveillance. Each object occupies the space in dialogue with the others, distinct and yet dependent. Their indeterminacy reflects the ambiguities and anxieties that permeate language today but also pointing to the possibility of a more nuanced interpretation.

In recent years, Lutker has focused her research-based practice on the history of the surrealists and their frequent fracas. The ongoing project is comprised of sculpture, installation, performance, and writing, grouped as chapters from a future publication: Le NEW Monocle: The History of the Fistfights of the Surrealists. The vocabulary she has developed through this project expresses itself playfully in the new work, which does not contain the narrative of a specific altercation, but rather, animates the lexicon of Lutker’s own studio practice as it has been shaped by her investigation of this history.


© 2021, Shana Lutker. All Rights Reserved.