Shana Lutker’s second solo exhibition at Barbara Seiler Galerie is a poetic, charming interpretation of the birth of Surrealism. Inspired by the Parisian theatres and dining rooms in which the Surrealist movement first found its feet, Lutker puts specific objects through a series of material, emotional and conceptual transformations. At the core of her work is the first fistfight of the Surrealists, which took place on the stage of the Theatre Michel on July 6, 1923. That night, André Breton and the actor Pierre de Massot exchanged blows after the latter insultingly dismissed Pablo Picasso’s contribution to modern art. In the months after this incident, the Surrealists frequently engaged in physical combat in defence of their revolutionary ideas. 

The ardent conviction and ferocious absurdity of these artists are reflected in Lutker’s work, which uses objects relating to the fistfights as a starting point for historical and artistic contemplation. She takes elements that evoke the intellectual intensity of Surrealist meetings at the Theatre Michel – ranging from a red leather chair to an over-sized rope pull – and accords them new meaning by situating them within the gallery space. The objects appear to haunt the pristine rooms like lost wraiths, bearing testament to the romantic heroism of the Surrealist genre. 

The Blowing Nose will show at Galerie Barbara Seiler until 13 July.

Barbara Seiler Galerie, Anwandstrasse 67, CH 8004 Zürich, Switzerland

All images courtesy of the gallery.