This week I finished up my study of Elaine Sturtevant. What an interesting person she was!
One of Sturtevant’s first videos was her Dillinger Running Series in 2000. It was based on Beuys’ Aktion Dillinger, an impromptu performance he did in Chicago on January 14, 1974 in which he reenacted how the gangster John Dillinger was gunned own in front of the Biograph Theater. Elaine’s version is a series of photographs in animated sequence projected in a loop from a rotating turntable on the gallery floor. Her criminal image circles slowly around the room, sort of creeping in the corners, to a techno sound track.
The Dark Threat of Absence Fragmented video installation combined her own reconstructions of scenes from Paul McCarthy’s video portrait The Painter with found footage from television satirizing the capitalism and consumerism. The violent and sexual scenes from The Painter lose their shock potential through endless repetition.
I love this Pacman piece of hers and ended up sharing it on the same as the This is Us episode in which Randall shares his love of Pacman and how it's a metaphor for life:
"In the middle of it all, there's Pac-Man. Bright yellow little dude doing his thing. Homie's like Sisyphus, decade after decade just eating those circles and trying different routes, trying his best to avoid all those ghosts. Life feels like Pac-Man sometimes, I guess. It's the same game over and over again, same board, same ghosts. Sometimes you get a bunch of cherries, but eventually, inevitably, those ghosts catch up with you."
I missed seeing this piece below and it seems to be one of her more famous ones. It’s acrylic and neon on canvas.
I wasn’t familiar with the work of Martial Raysse so I gave him a google and now I'm in love. These three below are his:
Elaine Sturtevant died on May 7, 2014 in Paris at the age of 89. I liked this description of her work from bbc. com “Sturtevant’s art actually hinges less on copying than on the big questions of authority, authorship, circulation, and history.” ... “Sturtevant’s ‘copies’ are in fact studies in the differences that arise through repetition.”
I think one of the most interesting things about her is that she went by just Sturtevant, usually only signing her work on the back. Her maiden name was Elaine Horan. She married Ira Sturtevant, an advertising excecutive, and divorced. So all this time she went by a single name that wasn’t even her own while creating works that replicated others. She refused to talk about her background and biography. She seemed to take herself completely out of the equation.