Klaus Lutz: Performances for Screens

Image of Klaus Lutz, 'Arabia'. Courtesy The Estate of Klaus Lutz
Klaus Lutz, 'Arabia'. Courtesy The Estate of Klaus Lutz

The enigmatic work of Swiss artist Klaus Lutz (1940-2009) lies somewhere between the meditations of a recluse and the fantasies of a utopian visionary. Reminiscent of Georges Méliès, Chaplin, and with overtones of both the Russian avant-garde and the Bauhaus, his films are mysterious mental landscapes in which a curious solitary figure – the artist himself – flies over imaginary cities and through interstellar space, interacting with signs and drawings, props and structures.

Shot almost entirely in Lutz’s tiny East Village apartment in the 1990s and 2000s, the films – which harness performance, animation and intricate multiple exposure on 16mm film – speak to the earliest origins of cinema, while folding in the legacy of twentieth-century performance work. For this special event we present both single-screen films and Lutz’s unique double-projections onto both screen and a large white balloon, creating convex, circular images. 

Despite having shown worldwide, including solo shows in Zurich, New York and elsewhere, Lutz’s work has never before screened in the UK. Curated and presented by Lutz’s friend and peer, artist Hannes Schüpbach.

Supported by the Swiss Cultural Fund UK. This programme is part of a Projections tour and will also screen at BFI Southbank and Pavilion, Leeds.

Thursday 12 March 2020
Tyneside Cinema (Gallery)
Book tickets
£6 / £4

About the artist

Klaus Lutz(b. St. Gallen, 1940 – d. New York City, 2009) was a teacher by profession. He grew up in St. Gallen but lived for many years in Zurich, and for a while in Genoa. Lutz was active as an artist working with the moving image since the mid-1980s. In 1992, he was awarded the city of Zurich’s studio scholarship in 1992, and relocated to New York, where he lived and worked in a small studio in the East Village until his death. His studio, painted black for his film productions and recordings, was devoted entirely to his work, and his life fitted around it. In 2009, two days after his death, his space odyssey Titan was performed at the Toronto International Film Festival. Having exhibited in solo and group shows in Zurich, New York, Berlin, Vienna, Amsterdam and elsewhere during his lifetime, a retrospective exhibition of Lutz’s work, In The Universe, took place at Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich in 2012.


Image from the film Frank Matter, 'The Beauty of My Island – Shooting Klaus Lutz'

The Beauty of My Island – Shooting Klaus Lutz

Frank Matter

Video, colour, sound
Image of Klaus Lutz, 'Titan', 2008. Courtesy The Estate of Klaus Lutz.


Klaus Lutz

16mm, B&W, silent


Klaus Lutz

16mm, colour, silent

Further resources

Image of Klaus Lutz, 'Arabia', 1991. Courtesy The Estate of Klaus Lutz

The Magnanimal World of Klaus Lutz

'For films so strange, so stultifying, seductive and sneaky, I feel like I’m limited even despite my considerable grasp of the English language in finding the right verbiage to relate them. ' —Herb Shellenberger on Klaus Lutz Read more...