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Institute of Contemporary Arts London (ICA)

Public Institution
Lutz Bacher: Black Beauty (23.8.2013)
Image courtesy of the artist and Galerie Buchholz, Cologne/Berlin, and Greene Naftali Gallery, New York
Image courtesy of the artist and Galerie Buchholz, Cologne/Berlin, and Greene Naftali Gallery, New York
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Black Beauty is the first major solo exhibition in the UK by American artist Lutz Bacher. Occupying an important position in contemporary art practice, Lutz Bacher's work is receiving increasing levels of international recognition. Black Beauty provides a unique opportunity to see Bacher's new works made specifically for the ICA together with recent work for the first time in London.

Since the beginning of her career in the 1970s, Bacher has drawn upon disconnected information from popular culture and her own life, producing works that play with the interchangeability of identity, sexuality and the human body. 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. Lutz Bacher is as elusive as her work is ambiguous, perhaps preferring not to dictate how her works should be viewed.

The exhibition at the ICA presents new and recent works which combine striking installations with film, sound and sculpture. At the core of the exhibition is Black Beauty (2012), several tons of coal slag which will 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. The audio recording of the character Puck at the conclusion of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream is repeated with different emphases and pronunciations. Black Magic (2013) is a new site specific work made from black vibrating 'astroturf' that will be displayed along the full length of the concourse in the lower gallery.

The enigmatic and eclectic mixture of ideas that Bacher brings together are full of personal and philosophical significance and are frequently driven by tactical humour.

Lutz Bacher is the focus of three exhibitions in Europe this year, the first was at Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany (9 February - 14 April, 2013), the second 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 co-operation with Kunsthalle Zurich and Portikus in Frankfurt and will include an essay by Caoimhin Mac Giolla Leith (University Colleage Dublin).
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