JSC ON VIEW is the title of a new series of exhibitions focusing explicitly on the inventory of works in the JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION. The series is being introduced by a tribute to three female artists who have recently passed away: Lutz Bacher, Barbara Hammer, and Carolee Schneemann.

The presentation will cover the entire ground floor of JSC Düsseldorf, comprising six key video works from the artists’ respective oeuvres, as well as the large-format photographic series Sex with Strangers (1986), one of Lutz Bacher’s key early works.

The U.S. American artist Lutz Bacher who, since the 1970s, had concealed her identity behind a male pseudonym used a deliberately unaccommodating approach in her frequently parodic art to forego it being categorized within a feminist context. She employs imagery and text from popular culture in her objects and time-based work, which by means of deconstruction and alienation broaches central questions concerning authorship, power, and the influence of mass media on society.
For the nine-part photographic series Sex with Strangers that, to date, has not been presented at the JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION, she enlarged photographs of pages with illustrations together with captions from a book presenting itself as an informative sociological study of female psychology and deviant sexual behavior. However, it is in fact hard pornographic imagery that is on display, once again denying the viewer the opportunity of ascribing any specific classification to the work.

The filmmaker Barbara Hammer is one of the pioneers of queer cinema. Her experimental films evolved from the notion that conventional narrative film is too limited to be capable of representing homosexual reality in general and her lesbian one in particular. Her documentary and experimental films are regarded as one of the earliest and most wide-ranging representations of lesbian identity, love, and sexuality. The work Double Strength (1978), one of three works by Hammer in the exhibition, is a poetic study of the different stages of a lesbian love affair between Hammer herself and her then partner, the choreographer and female trapeze artist Terry Sandgreff. In a montage comprising film footage of both women swinging on the trapeze, Sandgreff performing acrobatic dance moves, and also including private photographs, the film traces the relationship from its intense beginnings, via alienation to the eventual end of their love. Hammer’s work is distinguished by its physical presence and expressivity, in which the camera enters into a relationship with its surroundings. Space and time become blurred, providing instead an insight into Hammer’s very personal experiential space.

Carolee Schneemann, in her performative, kinetic painting and experimental practice, opened the social discourse around physicality and gender roles earlier than many other female artists. She is considered as one of the most radical representatives of such a genre and, as she has stated herself, has always considered her practice to be that of a “painter who has left the canvas to activate actual space and lived time.”
Schneemann’s video Up to and Including Her Limits of 1975 is regarded as a direct response to Jackson Pollock’s physicalized painting process. “I am suspended in a tree surgeon’s harness on a three-quarter-inch manila rope, a rope which I can raise or lower manually to sustain an entranced period of drawing – my extended arm holds crayons which stroke the surrounding walls, accumulating a web of colored marks. My entire body becomes the agency of visual traces, vestige of the body’s energy in motion.”
One of her central works, Fuses from 1964-67, was created over several years, showing Schneemann with her partner, the composer James Tenney engaging in intimate sexual activities. The act, which she filmed herself, has been collaged with color overlays and burn marks that have been inscribed into the film over time. Fuses is the first part of her Autobiographical Trilogy and was based on the question of how and whether the sexual act itself differs from pornography and traditional art.

All three artists were pioneers in their respective fields. All three died this year, in their seventies. The JULIA STOSCHEK COLLECTION is proud to be able to offer an insight into the work of these three artists and their disparate interpretation.

Lutz Bacher, Barbara Hammer, Carolee Schneemann

Carolee Schneemann, Fuses, 1964–67, 16-mm-Film, transferiert auf HD-Video, 29’37“, Farbe, ohne Ton. Courtesy of the Estate of Carolee Schneemann and Electronic Arts Intermix, New York.

Installation view, JSC ON VIEW: LUTZ BACHER, BARBARA HAMMER, CAROLEE SCHNEEMANN, JSC Düsseldorf. Photo: Simon Vogel, Cologne.

Barbara Hammer, Double Strength, 1978, 16mm film transferred to video, 14’03’’, color, sound. Video still. Courtesy of the Estate of Barbara Hammer and KOW, Berlin/Madrid.

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