Walker Art Center

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Artist Talk: Liam Gillick & Hito Steyerl

In Defense of the Poor Image, or Literally No Place

Part of 9 Artists

Join celebrated artists Liam Gillick and Hito Steyerl for a conversation about their process and differing approaches, which will expand into a more general discussion on criticism, theory, and contemporary art and society.

Gillick and Steyerl are each highly regarded for their writing. Gillick has, for many years, attempted to avoid what he terms the “singularity” problem—the idea that form and content should converge within a single work. Rather, he advocates pursuing simultaneous and parallel tracks in art, and his texts are often equal partners with his objects in the making of the work. With a distinctive and influential writing style, Gillick is also known for his essays and wider cultural criticism. Steyerl’s theoretical and performative essays range across many topics related to contemporary art and culture, including the evolving nature of the image in a post-digital world and the increasingly networked relationship between image and identity in an era of social media. Her texts operate alongside her moving-image work, though she sees them as related but independent pursuits.

The artists’ publications will be available the day of the event in the Walker Shop.

This talk will be webcast live and archived on the Walker Channel.

About the Artists

Intimately invested in the legacy of modernism, Liam Gillick (b. 1964) makes sculptures, text-based works, and publications that owe much to a working through of the failure of its Utopian promise to design a more egalitarian society. The 9 Artists exhibition presents a series of projects from the past 20 years of the artist’s production—from text-based vinyl wall graphics to a giant Bloody Mary to glitter carpets. A collection of his major fictional texts, All Books, was published in 2009.

9 Artists also features the latest work by Berlin-based artist Hito Steyerl (b. 1966), How not to be seen. A fucking didactic educational .Mov file, which debuts at the current Venice Biennale and continues her long meditation on the nature of the image in the digital age. Additionally, a number of her works have recently entered the Walker’s collection, including Red Alert (2007), with which she claims to have reached the logical end of the documentary genre. A collection of Steyerl’s essays, The Wretched of the Screen (with cover design by Gillick), was published by e-flux journal in 2012.


Mack Lectures are made possible by generous support from Aaron and Carol Mack. Support for this program is provided by Casey Kaplan.