Critics’ Picks

View of “Lutz Bacher,” 2014.

View of “Lutz Bacher,” 2014.


Lutz Bacher

Galerie Buchholz | Cologne
Neven-DuMont-Straße 17
April 9–May 31, 2014

Lutz Bacher works predominantly with found materials, which is one reason her art anticipates much that is to be observed in the current approach of many young artists. She either places such objects into a content-based context, or she highlights their materials or their formal singularity. For instance, in 1986, she photocopied individual illustrations and accompanying texts from a pseudoscientific book on sexuality, and then reshot these copies and enlarged them. Thus arose a series of graphic black-and-white photographs with even more unusual texts, titled Sex with Strangers, 1986, which is currently on view at the gallery’s Neven-DuMont-Straße space. At Buchholz’s Elisenstraße location, Bacher presents unprimed, wrinkled canvases that have been painted with gray paint and exhibit signs of wear and tear. This lends them, when mounted back on the wall, an unusual monochromatic materiality. “Gray Painting (Loxodonta),” 2013, is her title for this series of twenty-three works, which calls up associations with abstract painting but also with the skin, injury, destruction, age, and thus manifest a structural similarity with all of these phenomena. Bacher also builds shipping crates out of foam core for found, heavily battered organ pipes of various sizes, which she lays carefully in the crates. Organ Pipes is the title of this recent work from 2014. It brings to mind biological organs and plumbing and, in fact, suddenly these pipes transform themselves into those very networks, as before the painted images had turned into injured skin. And it is precisely this that distinguishes Bacher’s approach to found materials: Here, it is less a case of ideological contexts than of structures and, accordingly, less about content than the thingliness of found objects. And that is what makes her work so very timely.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.