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Performative Philosophy with Chris Kraus


14 October 2011

Chris Kraus, I Love Dick publicity shot, 1997. Courtesy the artist.
Chris Kraus, I Love Dick publicity shot, 1997. Courtesy the artist.

Bringing together the work of celebrated film-maker, writer and editor Chris Kraus, Monash University Museum of Art’s (MUMA) upcoming exhibition promises to engage and enthral audiences.

Performative Philosophy: The films and writings of Chris Kraus and Semiotext(e) draws together a rich collection of documents from the artist including films, video, scripts, books, posters, prints and production notes as well as a collection of works from American publisher Semiotext(e), where the artist holds an editorial role. 

The exhibition aims to encompass the poetic force of Kraus’ filmmaking and her unique and inventive voice, which moves through art, fiction, feminism, politics and the many spheres of cultural production.

Guest curator Liv Barrett highlighted the importance of the exhibition.

“Chris is an important artist, not only because of her own work as a writer, but because through Semiotext(e) she is continually committed to new language and ideas.

“There is an attempt in this exhibition to communicate some of the scope of her work, through her books and films and then the works of others whom she works with and works for,” Ms Barrett said.

Kraus’ career has spanned three decades and includes an experimental film career, culminating with the feature-length Gravity and Grace in 1995; an ongoing editorial role at Semiotext(e) and her introduction of the ‘Native Agents’ fiction series;  three novels, with a fourth titled the Summer of Hate to be released in 2012; Video Green, a seminal book of essays about Los Angeles’ Art Schools.

Kraus is also a Professor of Writing at the European Graduate School, as well as a contributor to Art in America.  

Kraus’ work has attracted a large international audience and constant critical acclaim. Her novel I Love Dick was cited by Frieze magazine as one of the most important books of the past two decades.

Kraus combines both fiction and autobiography into her writing. The fictitious world of her novel Torpor also tempts a biographical reading as her cast of characters includes Nan Goldin, Georges Perec and Felix Guattari, all of whom Kraus has had some kind of personal proximity to.

Through Semiotext(e), Kraus has displayed a fierce dedication to the publication of both renowned and nearly-forgotten writers. Semiotext(e)’s abundant catalogue of titles offers a synthesis of cultural and structural politics.

Additional to Kraus’ work, Performative Philosophy will also present a selection of films from authors published by Semiotext(e), including Guy Debord, David Wojnarowicz and David Rattray. The exhibition locates Kraus as the thread between these artists, writers and philosophers, who she has plaited together to give an account of a prolific history of ideas, images and language.

Chris Kraus will also present a keynote lecture at the State Library of Victoria on 14 October.

Performative Philosophy: The films and writings of Chris Kraus and Semiotext(e) is on display from 13 October - 17 December 2011

For further information visit MUMA Events.

For bookings and enquiries contact or phone 03 9905 4217.