Sturtevant: Leaps Jumps and Bumps

Capturing Four Decades of Groundbreaking and Provocative Work from the Artists’ Artist

An unsettling line of inflatable dolls sits at the window of the Serpentine Gallery in London’s Hyde Park this summer. It comes as part of the Ohio-born, Paris-based artist Sturtevant’s first exhibition at a public institution in the UK, almost half a century after she began “repeating” the works of such New York art-world giants as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein. For Sturtevant, the repetition for which she became so notorious is a way of shedding light on art’s inner workings: “It seems so simplistic,” she says, “but it’s oftentimes true that when something is simple, it’s powerful.” Ever rigorous, Sturtevant made a point of learning the techniques used to create the work of art she was repeating, normally choosing iconic pieces––like Warhols, which “work better” because they are recognizable––and executing them again, looking to find out what made them tick. In one famous anecdote, when Andy Warhol was asked about his screen-printing technique he is said to have replied: “Ask Elaine Sturtevant.” Having repeated Joseph Beuys, Paul McCarthy and other significant figures in 20th-century art, Sturtevant has now taken on the 21st century by making work that deals with the culture of repetition in the digital age, some of which can be seen in the video installation in today’s film. “Don’t call it a retrospective,” she says of the exhibition. “When you’re in a certain space, you try to create tension—via tonality, or rhythm—in order to trigger thinking. This shows a certain dynamic, and that’s very good.”

Sturtevant: Leaps Jumps and Bumps will be on view until August 26 at the Serpentine Gallery, London. 

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Conversations (1)

  • engelsesteenweg
    Yea this is a rip-off and badly made copy of the film Koyaanisqatsi. Both the visuals and the audio.

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