L’Image Habitable (The Livable Image) - Version D
imaginary constructs

Zilla Leutenegger (www.zilla.ch)
            Centre for Contemporary Images

Zilla Leutenegger is one of the generation of young artists who came to the fore in Zurich in the 1990s. Constructing a form of mythology from herself, her own person—this is how one might sum up in just a few words her approach to art.

(see below...)

Zilla Leutenegger, Forum Hotel, 2002

The artist thus appears in each of her installations, although by making disguises and simulacra an increasingly frequent part of her work she always does so in ways that are very different from one another and distanced. A figure that is extraordinarily complex and difficult to grasp is thus taking shape as the artist’s output grows. Leutenegger is manipulating her image in its concrete and figurative meanings in order to raise the question of the definition and representation of identity in the technological age.

In Forum Hotel, a camera moves around hills and valleys that all look like the moon’s surface. Leutenegger is standing on the roof of the Forum Hotel calling to her mother. Meanwhile planet earth appears and disappears behind the young woman. The childish image of a young girl alone on the moon is presented with the power of illusion one encounters in a fairy tale and yet is dispelled at the same time by the omnipresence of technology. The artist thus “derealizes” a narrative that is already a dreamlike tale from the start. The question of the relationship between fiction and reality is tackled here indirectly, by way of a reality transfigured and slapped together with the help of today’s computer tools.

“I am touched by machines because they look dangerous but also because they are quite delicate, sad, violent and lovable. You sense the difficulty and at the time it’s touching to try to do something together.”

Zilla Leutenegger

Born in 1968 in Coire, Switzerland. Lives and works in Zürich.
Zilla Leutenegger has taught since 2000 at Zurich’s Gestaltungsschule Punkt G. She has mounted this year “Oh mein Papa” at Bern’s Stadtgalerie and “it'll end in tears” at Zurich’s Galerie Peter Kilchmann. She has also taken part in the following group shows, “Videodrome II” at the New Museum of Contemporary Art, New York, and “media_city seoul 2002” at the Seoul Museum of Art. In 2001 the Galerie Zürcher, Paris, featured her work entitled “before you go I want to show you something,” while Geneva’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art presented “Zilla Leutenegger (meine nächste arbeit wird mit einem hund sein).” London’s Institute of Contemporary Art and the FRAC Provence Alpes Côtes d'Azur in Marseille (“Je pense, donc je suisse”) also displayed one of her pieces as part of their collective shows in 2001.