Los Angeles-based conceptual artist Hildegarde Duane has worked across mediums since the mid-seventies, courting the peripheries of mass media entertainment and its archetypal figures in her video and photo stories. This exhibition is the artist’s first solo presentation in Europe and brings together a comprehensive survey of work made between 1978 and today, exhibited over two floors of Künstlerhaus Stuttgart.
Western Woman, is simultaneously a nod towards the artist’s Californian roots, and the set of stereotypical conventions she both engages and unsettles in her work. Hildegarde Duane’s approach to feminism and feminist discourse speaks of an attitude and subversive mode of representation employing humour, irony, and ambiguity in equal measure. Her long-running fascination with the subtleties and potential perversions of the iconic representation speaks of a sensitivity towards the edge or tipping point of an image, what she describes as a “piercing quality, yet detached.”
Working with numerous collaborators, including Argentinian and ex-Angeleno artist David Lamelas, Duane’s practice is born from a spirit of collaboration initiated at the Long Beach Museum of Art in its multiple video programmes, commissions, and editing facilities from 1975. A recurring group of artists, actors, and musicians feature on and off camera. Other frequent collaborators, including Ilene Segalove, form a West Coast peer group of artists and video makers whose concerns preceded those of the Pictures Generation.
The exhibition highlights key works in the artist’s practice, incorporating video- and image-based installations while experimenting with scale and form. Many of the photo stories on display are reconceptualised by the artist for this presentation, juxtaposed with recent image and text pieces and monitors featuring key short videos. The enduring wit and tone of Duane’s work emphasise its currency; her bold visual style and consistently perceptive reinterpretations of the banal have a potency that defies easy categorisation but represents with irreverence and energy a continuous making and unmaking of the (female) image.
Curated by Steven Cairns, Hildegarde Duane, and Fatima Hellberg
Hildegarde Duane lives and works in Los Angeles. Her work has been exhibited internationally since the mid-seventies and is held in collections including Museum of Modern Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris; Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid and Guggenheim Museum, New York. She is a recipient of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, among others.