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The return of the repressed? 'Transformer' restaged in London

— December 2013

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Transformer (re)opens in London on 13 December

Transformer: Aspects of Travesty

Richard Saltoun Gallery

13 December 2013–28 February 2014

On the 40th anniversary of 'Transformer: Aspects of Travesty' – a groundbreaking show curated by Jean-Christophe Ammann in 1974 – Richard Saltoun Gallery announces a re-staging that will reunite in London all the artists involved. This is the first such reunion to commemorate the exhibition, which deals with the aesthetics of desire and sexuality through travesty and drag performance.

‘Transformer’will include works from all the artists featured in the original exhibition: Luciano Castelli, Jürgen Klauke, Urs Lüthi, Pierre Molinier, Tony Morgan, Luigi Ontani, Walter Pfeiffer, Andrew Sherwood, Katharina Sieverding, Werner Alex Meyer (Alias Alex Silber), The Cockettes and Andy Warhol.

‘Transformer’looks back at the '70s contemporary society and art practice, considering the aspects of transvestitism and sexual self-reflection in art. The exhibition takes its title from the seminal 1972 album by Lou Reed, finding its parallel in the worlds of fashion and glam-rock. ‘Transformer’ examines the politics and aesthetics of transgressing identity and at the disruption of male sexuality through incorporating characteristics usually labelled as 'feminine', as Brian Eno reflected with a text written for the original catalogue.

The exhibition opened at the Kunstmuseum Lucerne, Switzerland, and was an extraordinary event: the opening was recorded by Swiss TV and it toured later to Germany and Austria. Whilst the exhibition received no publicity in the UK, it has been influential for art theory and history. It was the first exhibition that sought to theorize transvestism and to explore non-normative sexuality and the production of identity.

References to ‘Transformer’ have recently appeared in ‘Glam! The Performanceof Style’, Tate Liverpool, Kunsthalle Frankfurt and Kunstmuseum Linz (2013) and in ‘A Bigger Splash Painting after Performance’, Tate Modern (2013). The exhibition at Richard Saltoun Gallery will contain works from the original exhibition and include the lesser-known artists who exhibited in Lucerne. A programme of events curated by Giulia Casalini will be held in January and February 2014.

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Richard Saltoun Gallery

111 Great Titchfield Street

London W1W 6RY

Tel 44 (0) 20 7637 1225

Gallery hours:Monday to Friday, 10a.m.–6p.m., or by appointment.

Nearest Tube: Oxford Circus and Great Portland Street

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