Urs Lüthi

The eight photographs from Urs Lüthi’s Tell Me Who Stole Your Smile portfolio were taken in the early nineteen-seventies, when the artist staged various acts of self-dramatization for the camera; among other things, the photographs served as poster fodder for Lüthi’s This Is About You performance (Rome, 1973), and as an ingredient in his visual narratives. In the portfolio’s constellation, the photographs make up a stock of androgynous figures, emotional states, and fluid sexual identities. They run the gamut,from playing with the feminine connotations of makeup and a feather boa to a demonstration of masculinity involving chest hair and a baldpate, eyes painted and tongue sticking out. In the nineteen-seventies, cross-dressing was a major theme in contemporary art and pop culture. Lüthi’s works from that time display considerable candor and maintain a playful character— not least because of the formal quality of his self-portrayals, be it in the pronounced chiaroscuro of the black and white photography or in the laconic wit of the colour pieces.