Lutz Presser

Head, Visual and Performing Arts, NIE, 2004

PhD Monash University, MA Art History La Trobe University

Lutz Presser has been involved with University level art teaching since 1973. He is also a practising artist who has exhibited mainly in Australia and Europe. His work is in state, federal and private collections. A long time interest has been to bring theory and practice together and research projects such as Fetishism in the work of Man Ray ,Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe analyses previously unseen works by these artists and attempts through a visually biased methodology to address the marginal and decode some highly controversial images by three major 20th century artists. He is also engaged in producing a series of large-scale stereoscopic images or SIRDS, which have been digitally generated.

Dr Lutz Presser is an art academic, has been teaching in Art Schools and Universities since 1973 and since 1998 has been living and working in Singapore where he is presently the Head of Visual and Performing Arts at the National Institute of Education, Nanyang Technological University. He is a writer, researcher and practicing artist. Since coming to Singapore his artworks have dealt with aspects of cultural displacement, cultural misreadings and misinterpretations as well as formal aspects of Visual Literacy.


Source: NIE Press Release

Opening 12 Jan 2004 @ 1900hrs

Exhibition runs 12 Jan - 30 Jan 2004

Guest of Honour Prof Su Guaning - President, Nanyang Technological University

Visual Literacy: A Solo Exhibition by Lutz PresserVisual Literacy can be applied and understood in several different ways and is presently gaining academic legitimacy in terms of “reading” works of art. My usage of the concept is tied to the belief that art objects carry meaning, which is embedded in the object itself and is transferred from the object to the viewer in a purely visual form. The meaning, to be understood, must be interpreted in order to be deciphered by the viewer. This activity does not require the necessity of text or words. Visual Literacy is inseparable from familiarity with the idioms, codes, symbols and conventions of a visual language, which can and does change from culture to culture. In other words, if a viewer is to genuinely appreciate a work of art and see intelligently, he/she must have knowledge and experience of the visual language used, in order to “read” the layers of meaning correctly and not misinterpret the work. However, certainly within Western art history, some layers of meaning are not fully revealed or understood until a passage of time has elapsed from when the work was originally produced.

The present exhibition entitled Visual Literacy “plays” with the above concept as well as what we see and the mechanics of how we see. Traces of cultural displacement, misinterpretation and cultural misconceptions are also present, hence the inclusion of a series of small oil paintings by anonymous Vietnamese artists. The facsimiles, literally copies from magazine reproductions of works by several prominent modernist/postmodernist Euro-American artists including Botero and Andy Warhol, use the traditional method of copying from a master. However, there are a number of variants in the copies which change the reading and understanding of both the originals and the Vietnamese works. Thus it is curious and important to note that when the same work is painted over and over again none are exactly the same, apart from the fact that the scale, colour, tone, texture and other subtleties are at variance from the originals. Perhaps most bizarre is that Warhol’s Marilyns and Maos were photographic silkscreens and not hand painted, so what we are looking at in the Vietnamese works are handmade copies from magazine reproductions of photographic copies mechanically reproduced from magazine reproductions. I would argue that the Vietnamese works are as “original” as Warhol’s, who, no doubt would have approved of these labyrinthine convolutions.

Other works such as Visual Terrorism: The Twin Towers, deal with optical responses, in this case afterimages, coupled with visual suggestion, i.e., a simple, tall, vertical grid can suggest a sky scraper with lights on or off as well as conjure less pleasant recent memories.

MnM is a series of drawings where handmade Chinese paper serves as the site for Eastern and Western cultural icons to merge and become one; Marilyn becomes Mao and vice versa. The MaoSIRDS are a series of digitally produced and printed “paintings” on canvas utilizing the technique of Single Image Random Dots Stereograms, in other words, embedded in the busy decorative pattern is a fully-developed 3D image of Mao Zadong’s head in various positions.
Finally, The Lenticular Last Supper is a 16 foot long version of Andy Warhol’s 1986 reworking of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper using the lenticular techniques of “flips” and “deep 3D”. The lenticular image has two components; a printed image and a lenticular lens screen through which the image is viewed. Warhol complicated Leonardo’s already loaded Renaissance image by adding camouflage patterning. Through the addition of lenticular layering Warhol’s and Leonardo’s interpretation of an important moment of Jesus Christ’s life, the moment he predicts his own betrayal and death, lends a suitable complexity to a work and story which can simultaneously operate on the most profound human levels as well as pure kitsch.

Lutz Presser 2003


Foucault's Oz S'poring

by Lutz Presser and Guy La Pointe

Source: Press release 2001

In this project, members of the public unwittingly trigger electronic mechanisms by moving around the given space. The sensors respond firstly with animal noises, such as barking or croaking, and secondly, by activating a series of short films, which are automatically displayed on the large television monitors. The content of the movies is absurd and out of place in the given situation. The movie excerpts have been gleaned from longer films produced some years ago highlighting Australia's projected public self to the world. The edited images haven been "mined" from the film archives of the Australian High Commission.

The project is supported by Australian High Commission (Singapore) and anticipates another one scheduled to open later this year. Foucault's Oz S'poring explores human behaviour in public spaces. They also play with the notion of surveillance and the sudden realisation that one is being observed, without necessarily knowing who is watching and why.

Lutz Presser is an artist/educator/writer who has taught in art schools at university level for over 25 years. Simultaneously he has made art and exhibited in Australia, Europe and Singapore, been included in Australian national surveys and has been awarded grants and overseas studios. He is presently engaged in works dealing with human behaviour, cultural displacement and "acculturation". He is also engaged in research leading to a book on fetishism in the work of Man Ray, Andy Warhol and Robert Mapplethorpe.

Guy Lapointe is a Canadian artist has lived and worked in Singapore for the last few years. His work has been shown regionally as well as in Europe and North America, and his most recent practice is essentially focused on the use of videography in the context of performance and installations. He presently lectures at the National Institute of Education.


Red Gate Gallery Residency Program - Lutz Presser, National Institute of Education, Singapore

Red Gate Residency Programs provide artists, curators, writers and academics with an opportunity to live and work in China. Red Gate has a number of fully self-contained apartments and studio/lofts available which are ready to use.

This program is managed on a not-for-profit basis by Red Gate Gallery. Participants are expected to cover the costs of living and accommodation and studio (if required) whilst Red Gate provides all the necessary support to make your time here fruitful and enjoyable.

Applicants are encouraged to seek funding from relevant organizations and letters of support can be provided to this end.

Red Gate Gallery is supporting the residency programs of Asialink and the Australia-China Council, and Conjunction Arts, NY, Creative New Zealand and is currently developing initiatives involving Singapore, Canada, the UK, Ireland and France.

Red Gate Gallery is a member of RES ARTIS, the international association of residential arts centres.


Plastique Kinetic Worms -  In June 1999, the gallery was showing "The Me, Me, Me Show," a joint installation dealing with reading and misreading art by three Australian artists currently living in Singapore, Colin Reaney, Karee Dahl, and Lutz Presser.