Shana Lutker | Paul, Paul, Paul, and Paul
Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects is pleased to present “Paul, Paul, Paul, and Paul,” the fourth chapter in Shana Lutker’s body of work entitled Le “NEW” Monocle: The History of the Fistfights of the Surrealists. Each chapter focuses on a particular altercation and takes shape through the artist’s research and experience as sculpture, writing, and performance.
The Surrealist fistfight at the heart of this exhibition transpired ninety-years ago on July 2, 1925 at a banquet in celebration of the Symbolist poet, Saint-Pol-Roux, at the Closerie des Lilas, located at 171 Boulevard du Montparnasse, Paris. Of the fight, Lutker writes:
“On the evening of July 2, the Surrealists arrived early to the dinner and distributed copies of an “Open Letter to Mr. Paul Claudel, French Ambassador to Japan” under each place setting before the other guests arrived. Printed on what was described as a garish purple-red paper, the letter was a response to Claudel, the conservative poet-turned diplomat, who had recently stated: “Not one of the present art movements can lead to any genuine renewal or creation. Neither Dadaism nor Surrealism which have only one meaning: pederasty.
The banquet guests arrived. Many were conservative and elderly patrons who did not hold the Surrealists in high regard—of particular note was the presence of Surrealist-adversary Madame Rachilde. She was seated at the same table as André Breton and Florent Fels, who began batting insults in her direction. When they were reprimanded by the guest of honor, the Surrealists yelled, “Down with France!” The atmosphere became heated. What followed was a blur: “There are as many versions of this banquet as there were witnesses,” said Philippe Soupault. Rachilde dared to repeat a recently published remark that a Frenchwoman should never marry a German. Breton then accused her of insulting Max Ernst, a German married to a French woman (who happened to be in the room). Breton threw his napkin in her face and called her a fille a soldats. Breton was almost pushed out the open window. The police were summoned. Soupault swung from a chandelier. Plates were thrown, glasses shattered, hair was pulled. Surrealists cried out, “Long live Germany!” “Long live the Riffs!” Food flew, mirrors shattered. Surrealist Michel Leiris screamed “Down with France!” to the 500 people who had gathered on the street below They challenged him to come down to the street. He did, and was severely beaten. The police beat him up again, after his arrest. Madame Rachilde was also arrested, in hysterics.”
Lutker’s installation in Gallery 1 makes reference to the banquet context of this fracas with a series of strange tables, platters, and dyed purplish paper works. In Gallery 2 a stage-like staircase, series of graphite “boots,” and mirrored sculptures connect this presentation with her exhibition of Chapter 3 at the Pérez Art Museum Miami.
“Paul, Paul, Paul, and Paul,” is Shana Lutker’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery. An expanded essay-version of the text above will be published as Chapter 4 of Le “NEW” Monocle and other works from this chapter are concurrently on view at Barbara Seiler Galerie in Zurich, Switzerland. The third chapter, titled “Again Against, A Back, A Foot, A Wall,” is on view at the Pérez Art Museum Miami through September 15, 2015. The installations from the first three chapters will be presented this fall in the artist’s solo exhibition at the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden and Museum in Washington DC, opening October 29, 2015. Work related to this series is included in a group show at Hauser & Wirth, New York opening June 25, 2015.
Shana Lutker received an MFA from the UCLA School of Art in 2005. Chapter 2 of Le “NEW” Monocle was featured in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. The performance component of Chapter 1 was presented at Performa 2013. In addition to the exhibitions listed above, Lutker's work has been featured in solo and group exhibitions, including Cleveland Museum of Art, OH; the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Russia; The Center For Ongoing Research & Projects, Columbus, OH; The Suburban, Oak Park, IL; Gallery 400, Chicago, IL; Mass MOCA, North Adams, MA; CCA Wattis Institute, San Francisco, CA; Artists’ Space, New York, NY; SALTS, Basel Switzerland; Public Fiction, Los Angeles, CA; and Sculpture Center, Long Island City, NY.