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Sturtevant: Leaps, Jumps and Bumps

Elaine Sturtevant’s first solo UK exhibition is full of weird and wonderful pieces with images from popular culture, pulsating beats, loud and bright repeated photographs on screens and video installations that leave you really questioning the mind behind the art.

That mind belongs to the artist who had her first exhibition in New York in the 1960s and made her name by repeating the works of male artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein and later in her career, Marcel Duchamp and Félix González-Torres. Sturtevant is a conceptual artist whose repeated imagery and videos on a rhythmic loop speak volumes on her thoughts about the world we live in and the constant bombardment of information we receive, and which is often repeated, from the internet and media.

Sturtevant examines how popular culture really is valid artistic material and while the videos, such as Finite Infinite where a dog is forever running on a loop, and screens playing clips, some borrowed and some created by Sturtevant, seem to be quite random and juxtaposing you still want to stand there and uncover the idea behind it and you begin to understand why she decided to turn these seemingly random shots into something with a hidden meaning.

This isn’t the type of exhibition where you can walk in and completely understand the work. The line of blow up dolls at the window is certainly arresting and eye catching yet also slightly strange, it leaves you wondering if this is Sturtevant’s somewhat bleak representation of us, has popular culture and the internet turned us into these empty shells?!

One of the most stunning pieces is the circle with hanging lightbulbs tumbling to the floor, a recreation of a Félix González-Torres installation. González-Torres was the original mind behind the installation which makes you question what Sturtevant’s concept behind the piece is, no two artists minds are the same and you wonder if she finds an entirely different meaning behind her version to that of the original.

Sturtevant’s work makes you want to ask questions and uncover meanings, she wishes to show how reality is so distorted by the digital world and while some of her pieces are a little hard to understand, Sturtevant’s thoughts of our now empty world are perfectly clear to see through her work.

The exhibition runs from 28 June - 26 August 2013 at The Serpentine Gallery.

Lucie Rutter


Serpentine Gallery, London
(28 June - 26 August 2013)
© 2013 Jerry Hardman-Jones