The Blowing Nose

Barbara Seiler Galerie
Zurich, Switzerland

June 08 - July 13, 2013

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On July 6, 1923, the first fistfight of the Surrealists took place on the stage of the Theatre Michel at the "Evening of the Bearded Heart," a multimedia program put together by Tristan Tzara. On that night, André Breton stormed the stage early in the program. Incensed, among other things, by an insult to Pablo Picasso made by the actor Pierre de Massot, Breton jumped up out of the seats, cane raised, and broke the arm of the "pint-sized" Massot. This action, witnessed by the entire audience, signals the beginning of Surrealism.

Shana Lutker's exhibition takes it's title from another play presented on that night in 1923, Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes' Mouchez-vous. The objects presented in "The Blowing Nose" have been infused by the artist with this specific history—the story of the fistfights of the Surrealists.

For the past couple years, Lutker has been compiling the history of these fistfights of the Surrealists, visiting sites in Paris and delving into archives. The fights took place in theaters and dining rooms across Paris, as the Surrealists came to blows in defense of their revolutionary ideas. The battles highlight the conviction, the absurdity, passion and calculation of the Surrealists (and perhaps, of art in general).

Lutker's bodies of work are each shaped by research rooted in the histories of psychoanalysis and surrealism. The topics serve as touchstones, and Lutker uses them to carve out a space to begin making. The resulting artworks are not re-creations or re-makes, but the object's origins are the space and experience of research. In this show, Lutker presents elements of the Théâtre Michel that have undergone a series of material, emotional, and conceptual transformations. A deep red leather and chromed steel chair, a set of stage curtains turned from lead and an over-sized rope pull inhabit the gallery space like ghosts, or survivors, of history.

Also included in the exhibition is the first chapter of the artist's forthcoming book, Le 'NEW' Monocle: The History of the Fistfights of the Surrealists.


© 2024, Shana Lutker. All Rights Reserved.