The Impermanent Display II is the second in a series of displays drawing from the Maja Hoffmann / LUMA Foundation collection. It includes a range of works focusing on unseen parts of the world, including representations of natural environments and animal species. It presents works with a political dimension and concerns regarding recent social transformations through an engagement with the politics of race. The display also examines different modes of production, from scientific experiments to performative actions, diverse painting and photographing techniques, as well as the inclusion of live animal species. At the heart of the display lies a sculptural installation by Precious Okoyomon, which the artist intended to be seen as a prism or a portal to a discursive space touching upon notions of ecology, invasive species, geological layers of the Earth and blackness. Embracing a wide range of materials, this installation marks multiple points of departure and takes a critical look at the society of today’s world.
Seminal works from the collection by key contemporary artists, including Carsten Höller and Philippe Parreno, provoke audiences to consider a different time and space and ponder the idea that ritual takes place in the space that art creates. Their works explore the fascinating interconnections between imagination and contemporary production. Visitors are encouraged to further explore the works of these artists in the large-scale installations in LUMA’s permanent spaces as well as the landscaped park.
Pioneer artists like Joan Jonas and Sturtevant are also included, with groundbreaking works based on drawing, performance and video installation. Tackling complex questions regarding humans’ relationship with the environment and extinction while also encompassing provocative perspectives of processes without beginning and without end, their works are infused with the power of symbolism and meaning of fantastical and mythical creatures.
The dynamic tension between images, techniques and reproduction is further emphasized in the works of Sigmar Polke, Laura Owens and Tacita Dean, also part of the display. The multiple layers of materiality, the overlaying of processes and forms and the powerful stories conveyed in their monumental works shown here are characteristic of their unique investigations into the codes by which knowledge and our relationship to the world is structured. The Impermanent Display II encourages us to reflect on the notions of transformation raised in the work of the artists: in pursuit of change, as a response to social and political change, or through an engagement with the different modes of being part of our environment and the space we occupy and which we call our own.
Etel Adnan (1925-2021) was a Lebanese-American artist, poet and essayist, writing in French and English. Born in Beirut, she moved to Paris after a long period of residence in California. She began painting in the 1960s and her work has received international recognition since 2012.
Judy Chicago is a leading contemporary artist who works across media such as sculpture, painting and installation. Her practice and personal politics are concerned with gender and social equality, the state of the world and climate justice. Extinction narratives and human responsibility to the planet are an important focus in her practice.
Tacita Dean is a pioneering filmmaker and multimedia artist. Traversing through the varied states and iconographies outlined in Dante’s The Divine Comedy, Dean combines media in a manner that seems to parallel the sights and scenes of Dante’s literary masterpiece.
Trisha Donnelly’s work is based on conceptual strategies and uses a diverse array of media and processes. She is known for her poetic, unconventional, often enigmatic works. Ghostly, mysterious projections of eventless narratives and overlapping images are characteristic of her videos.
Eliasson unsettles notions of two- and three-dimensional objects, lending a sculptural quality to the flattened compositions, as colors and shapes develop, then vanish in a slow continuum.
Urs Fischer mines the potential of materials—from clay, steel, and paint to bread, dirt, and produce—to create works that disorient and bewilder. Through scale distortions, illusion, and the juxtaposition of common objects, his sculptures, paintings, photographs, and large-scale installations explore themes of perception and representation while maintaining a witty irreverence and mordant humour.
Carsten Höller’s large-scale works actively engage viewers and challenge their perceptions. Symbolism and metaphor are central to his work.
Joan Jonas is a pioneer of performance and video art. Her work combines installation, sculpture and drawing, often in collaboration with musicians and dancers to realize improvisational performances.
Mining the banal objects of everyday life, Kelley elevated these materials to question and dismantle Western conceptions of contemporary art and culture. These projects invoked a vast range of media and forms, illustrating the artist’s versatility and underscored a number of Kelley’s recurrent themes, such as repressed memory, sexuality, adolescence, class, and Americana.
Paul McCarthy is widely considered to be one of the most influential and groundbreaking contemporary American artists. Playing on popular illusions and cultural myths, fantasy and reality collide in a delirious yet poignant exploration of the subconscious, in works that simultaneously challenge the viewer’s phenomenological expectations. Whether absent or present, the human figure has been a constant in his work, either through the artist‘s own performances or the array of characters he creates to mix high and low culture, and provoke an analysis of our fundamental beliefs.
Okoyomon, a poet and visual artist working across various media, is among the most significant voices of her generation. Their work is about building new worlds and constructing possibilities for novel understandings of reality that can lead to new ways of living and relating to one another.
Laura Owens is best known for her painting practice that transforms the history of the medium in uncanny ways. Often combining depictions of landscapes with geometrical patterns, her work reveals an astute awareness of the evolution of painting and its importance in contemporary society. Her work combines bold colors, conceptual thinking and a unique depth of vision, and is best understood in relation to Owens’s interest in rethinking key moments from art history.
Parreno conceives his exhibitions as a scripted space where a series of events unfolds. He seeks to transform the exhibition visit into a singular experience that plays with spatial and temporal boundaries and the sensory experience of the visitor who is guided through the space by the orchestration of sound and image. For the artist, the exhibition is less a total work of art than a necessary interdependence that offers an on-going series of open possibilities.
Considered one of the most significant conceptual artists, Polke emphasized in his work a dynamic tension between expressive gestures and mechanical reproduction. Some of his strongest paintings are on transparent fabric, through which the wooden support becomes visible. Fascinated by mass-media imagery and errors in mechanical reproductions, he conceived his paintings as a type of mark-making that represent these mechanical processes.
Tavares Strachan’s work is based on scientific developments used to express invisible, physical and metaphorical displacement, and the capacity of people and matter to withstand inhospitable environments. Central to his practice is the emphasis on the migratory, cross-cultural nature of knowledge production in the contemporary world, through the prism of artistic practices.
Sturtevant’s practice explores the boundaries between fact and fiction, reproduction of images and reappropriation. She often used the iconic images or artworks of her generation as a source and catalyst for her own explorations of originality, authorship, and the structures that define art and image culture.
From abstract and interactive sculpture to furniture and collage, Franz West’s work possesses a character that is at once lighthearted and deeply philosophical. Belonging to a generation of artists exposed to the Actionist and Performance Art of the 1960s and 70s, West instinctively rejected the idea of a passive relationship between artwork and viewer.