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Heinrich Lüberartist sheet 33/72

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An artist mainly associated with the field of performance art, he often contructs elements that extend or transform his body, “playing” with them via word and gesture. He also designs many performances integrated into architectural settings, especially the façades of buildings under construction.

PerformanceProcess Basel 2017-2018
fri 19 Jan 2018
1
18-02h
Museumsnacht Basel (2017)Musée Tinguely

PerformanceProcess special program with San Keller and Heinrich Lüber.

PerformanceProcess Paris, Centre Culturel Suisse 18.09-13.12.15
tue 06 Oct 2015
1
18h
Volute (création)Centre culturel suisse+33 1 42 71 44 50

Presented in the Focus Heinrich Lüber

Heinrich Lüber, a major figure of performance art in Switzerland, presents himself in often extreme situations—on the façades of buildings, on rooftops, attached to structures. With Volute, a new performance designed for PerformanceProcess, he seeks to embody the spoken word in a physical and spatial gesture. Taking inspiration from the comical figure of Harlequin, he stands on a revolving elliptical mirror with a baroque horn sticking out of his body. This revolving device projects the words and actions of the artist in a continuous spiral.

wed 07 Oct 2015
thu 08 Oct 2015
fri 09 Oct 2015
sat 10 Oct 2015
sun 11 Oct 2015

Exhibitions

An artist mainly associated with the field of performance art, he often contructs elements that extend or transform his body, “playing” with them via word and gesture. He also designs many performances integrated into architectural settings, especially the façades of buildings under construction.

60 years of performance art in Switzerland museum Tinguely, 20.09.2017 - 28.01.2018

Volute (2015-2017)

Sculpture activated by the artist during the exhibition, without given schedule

With Volute, which he designed specifically for PerformanceProcess, Lüber intends to record the speech act in a sculptural and spatial gesture. To this end he has drawn inspiration from the comic figure of the harlequin: slowly he rotates on an elliptical mirror, together with a horn that appears to jut out of his body. The sculpture will be activated by the artist at regular intervals during the exhibition.

PerformanceProcess Paris, Centre culturel suisse 18.09-13.12.15

Almost everything in life almost didn't happen (2015, 6'19'')

Production Brigit Rufe
Performance compilation video created especially for PerformanceProcess.

extraball

symposium

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biography

Born in 1961, lives in Zurich
Heinrich Lüber has been a major figure in Swiss performance art since the 1990s. He usually performs himself, playing with objects he attaches to his body and putting himself in often extreme spatial situations—on building façades or rooftops, or attached to structures. He designs the structures or sculptures he attaches to his body, and has developed his work as a dialectic between the body and architecture.

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Harlequin walking on air

Heinrich Lüber makes his body interact with architecture, objects and sounds, throwing the viewer off-balance. ...

Heinrich Lüber makes his body interact with architecture, objects and sounds, throwing the viewer off-balance.

An ellipse-shaped stage with a mirror-covered surface revolves. A curious musical instrument is balanced on the end of a long stalk. It's a kind of baroque horn with a number of coils and a large flared bell, made of almost five metres of brass tubing by a maker of historic instruments in Basel. Volute by Heinrich Lüber is both a site-specific installation made for the Centre Culturel Suisse in Paris and a performance that activates the installation for several hours each day for a week.

The form of the performance itself relates closely to the nature of the PerformanceProcess programme organised to celebrate the Centre's 30th anniversary. Heinrich Lüber steps onto the stage wearing a neutral-coloured costume adorned with contrasting brightly coloured strips of fabric. This is the skeleton of a costume, a prototype in progress: the appearance of the garment is transitory. The artist tries to speak, stammers, hesitates, and warms up his voice. He jumps from side to side, revolving with the stage. He moves excitedly around. The reflection of the character in the mirrored platform set up under the glass ceiling merges with that of the curlicues of the metal instrument. Through his costume and posture, the artist evokes commedia dell'arte: the valet Harlequin, a crafty buffoon who tries to serve several masters at once. The staging and title reference baroque theatre with its oxymorons, its mirror effects and its role reversals, as well as the elliptical shape of a proscenium-arch theatre. Under the high ceiling of the Centre Culturel Suisse, Lüber confronts the exhibition space, painted grey for the occasion, reminiscent of a traditional theatre. The perpetual rotation of the proscenium makes it into a real piece of stage machinery. The musical instrument is at once a set, a prop, and part of the orchestra pit that remains practically inactive. Everything about this performance challenges the viewer's expectations, making us hesitate between art and theatre. For Heinrich Lüber, the idea is to challenge the history of performance and place it squarely in a postmodern perspective. Words do not come, because the artist embraces what Bertolt Brecht said about radio: “We suddenly had the possibility to say everything to everyone, but on second thoughts we had nothing to say”. Through his hesitations and this inability to speak, he attacks the position of authority of the author as well as that of the actor—because as a performance artist, he is a bit of both. Heinrich Lüber, who is also a teacher, likes to quote the character “Le Tiers-Instruit” invented by philosopher Michel Serres, who reconciles literary and scientific culture through a process of hybridisation, intermediacy, and decentring: he too is a Harlequin figure.

Since the early 1990s, Heinrich Lüber has developed a complex form of performance that makes him a major artist in this field. He systematically uses his body as a sculptural element. Inside the museum, he presents himself with props that extend human anatomy. Outside, he confronts the monumental scale of architecture, defies the laws of gravity, and himself becomes part of the building. Thanks to clever, often invisible, sometimes demonstrative machines, he balances on a façade, walks on air, or balances horizontally and impossibly on a single point. Often wearing a colourful costume that reinforces the physical presence of his performances, his body, sometimes on top of that of another performer, integrates sculpture or architecture as its constituent parts. A video montage presented in the PerformanceProcess exhibition shows a large number of his performances at different venues across Europe. This confrontation between the human scale—that of both the artist and the viewer—and the macroscopic scale—that of the city or of architecture—helps us to understand the philosophical and sensorial issues raised by an approach to performance that overturns the codes of the genre.

 

Denis Pernet

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