“The work of Klaus Lutz is absolutely unique.
Lutz was a draftsman, printmaker, and thinker. He was ceaselessly making sketches, recording his thoughts and feelings in notes. He was a performer and a filmmaker. In a special way Klaus Lutz was a universal artist, and his work has a timeless resonance. Containing art historical references to the Bauhaus as well as the Russian avant-garde, his work simultaneously confronts us with an unparalleled artistic vocabulary. This is perhaps what constitutes the special quality of his timeless oeuvre, which draws on art history but is at the same time utterly autonomous”.
Dorothea Strauss, director of Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich
Cécile B.Evans, Feeling For You, ongoing
Feeling For You is an ongoing, frequently updated performance lecture that reverse engineers the artist’s practice through a series of personal anecdotes, Google searches, images, and video clips. Meandering through the last few years of Evans’ work, the talk follows the same ‘hyperlinked’ logic used in recent projects like Hyperlinks or It Didn’t Happen or AGNES. Touching on the impacting rise of digital technology and the disorienting feedback loops it creates within society, the performance takes this year’s festival theme as its starting point.
Like the narrator of the Berlin-based artist’s film AGNES (The end is near) (2014), an artificial intelligence neurotically fixated on her own impermanence, Evans’s characters are often unable to describe their predicaments, shaped by larger forces they can’t comprehend and choices that weren’t their own.
Evans’s video installation How happy a Thing can be (2014) shown at Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridge in 2014, includes a pair of scissors, a screwdriver and a comb placed on clear Perspex rods. Installed alongside an animated HD video, the objects’ weirdly smooth surface reveals them to be 3D-prints. The contemporaneity of their mode of production jars with the timelessness of the objects’ designs, as does the work’s title, drawn from Rainer Maria Rilke’s 9thDuino Elegy (1923). The future is here, the work seems to say, but it’s one in which the past is oddly present. Conceived in tandem with the installation, the film of the same name follows the strange private lives of computer-animated versions of the same three objects, bored and hysterical, like celebrity recluses. The scissors take a bath in an upscale bathroom, and when the soundtrack turns ominous, blood streams from its handles. When a voiceover announces – apropos of nothing – ‘it’s time to dance’, the scissors begins a sweeping dance solo. But this is as much an emotional breakdown as a dance break – not virtuoso spectacle, but an eruption of untamed feeling.
Feelings are facts, as Yvonne Rainer put it in the title of her 2006 memoir, and for Evans too, emotions are a stubborn truth of experience, both easy and difficult to say anything about. Evans studied acting before making art, and physical gesture seems sometimes a way to get hold of emotions when language alone can’t quite reach. At the same time, gestures can communicate no less arbitrarily than words: as when AGNES, the hand-shaped chatbot Evans installed on the Serpentine Gallery website in 2014, asked me how I’m feeling and allowed me to respond only by selecting between three pictures of differently posed hands.
Cécile B.Evans, Hyperlinks or it didn’t happen, 2014
Cécile B.Evans, Tree of Life, 2014
C-type print, Kodak metallic print and UV print on glass
Cécile B.Evans, AGNES, 2014 – ongoing
AGNES is a bot that lives on the Serpentine Galleries website.
She also travels.
AGNES (the end is near) is a video installation originally on view in the group exhibition La Voix Humaine at Kunstverein Munich curated by Saim Demircan, alongside works by Tyler Coburn, Kalup Linzy, Erica Scourti, Cally Spooner, Frances Stark, Amelie von Wulffen
Cécile B.Evans, How Happy a Thing Can Be, 2014
3D printed plaster sealed with wax, HD video; dimensions variable