Beginning Thursday, February 27, Peder Lund will present works from the iconic Warhol Flowers series by the American artist Sturtevant (1924-2014). Sturtevant created one of the most interesting oeuvres in the 20th century. By following a unique approach that consisted of creating stunning repetitions of the artworks of her contemporaries and presenting them consciously as independent works, she questioned the foundations of our understanding of art and her oeuvre confronts us with a fundamental expansion to Duchamp’s concept of the readymade. The show includes 19 unique works from the 1970s that have never been shown in Scandinavia before.
While some of her repetitions were essentially exact copies of the artworks she chose to work with, others were recreated manually from memory. Through the artistry of Sturtevant’s detailed repetitions, the works she referred to can be easily identified, but their meaning was far from being a simple duplication, as her intention was never to create just a close resemblance, but to explore through her work topics such as authorship, authenticity, and originality. Issues that are of the highest relevance in our digital age, which is defined by the endless stream of images and their recombination.
Starting in the early 1960s, Sturtevant created in half a century an impressive body of work that challenged the viewer to look closely and think about the social and historical context of art. During her lifetime, Sturtevant’s work was met with much resistance and, similar to other great female artists, her oeuvre was only first truly given recognition in the last decades of her life. Sturtevant began her career in New York, where she studied at the Art Students League, an art school that has been historically known for its broad appeal to both amateurs and professional artists. Among the alumni of this school are many artists who became key figures of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art, such as Cy Twombly, Roy Lichtenstein, and Robert Rauschenberg. This vibrant environment was an important source of inspiration for Sturtevant’s work and some of her fellow students became close friends and sometime collaborators.
Born in Lakewood, Ohio in 1924 as Elaine Sturtevant, Sturtevant moved to New York in the early 1960s and decided to use only her last name as an artist name. Besides her artistic education, she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Iowa, followed by a master’s in the field from Teachers College of Columbia University. Later in her career, she held a professorship at MIT in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2014, Sturtevant died in Paris where she had lived since the beginning of the 1990s at the age of 89.
Works by Sturtevant are held by renowned public and private collections, including ARC, Paris; DAP, Paris; FRAC, Bretagne; MAMCO, Geneva, MOCA Los, Angeles; Moderna Museet, Stockholm; Musée d’Art Moderne de la ville de Paris; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Pinault Foundation; Secession, Vienna, Sintra Museum of Modern Art, Sintra; Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Weimar Neues Museum, Weimar; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City, ZKM, Karlsruhe.