Lucy Raven’s distinct and methodical practice combines an extended and interdisciplinary enquiry into the form, function and apparatus of the moving image – whether animated, digital, mechanical or cinematic – with an ongoing appreciation for the landscapes, labours and myths surrounding the American West. Previous films China Town (2009, actually a photographic stop-motion feature) and Ready Mix (2020, a major installation premiered at Dia Chelsea) reappraise the empty, heroic deserts of Nevada and Idaho as heartlands of industry and technology, focussing on the rhythmic and fluctuating removal of materials and minerals undergoing alchemical processing, for her contemporary takes on the grandiloquent western epic. Raven reveals the art and artifice taking place within and behind the camera’s act of documentation, in works such as Curtains (2014) and The Deccan Trap (2015) focussing on the mechanics of movement between 2D and stereoscopic 3D projection in addition to the painstakingly hand-wrought and hidden nature of Hollywood visual effects. Spectators become participants in Raven’s mises-en-scènes (or even her mises-en-abîmes), whether as objects of surveillance in Casters (2016), under the gaze of gyroscopic robotic arms performing a synchronised, balletic illumination, or while perambulating her coloured light cells for a recent architectural commission, Lichtspielhaus (2019) at the new Bauhaus Museum in Dessau, Germany. Whether through audiovisual collage or phenomenological experience, Raven’s important deep-dives into systems of power, image-making and filmic history are reflected back upon by the viewer as self-generating narratives forged by their means and manner of production.
Lucy Raven (born 1977) is originally from Tucson, Arizona. She lives and works in New York City. She received a BFA in studio art and a BA in art history from the University of Arizona, Tucson, in 2000, and an MFA from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York, in 2008. Her work has been exhibited in solo presentations at Wiels, Brussels, Belgium (2022); Dia Chelsea, New York, USA (2021); Serpentine Galleries, London, UK (2016–17); Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio, USA (2016); VOX centre de l’image contemporaine, Montreal, Canada (2015); Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, USA (2014); Portikus, Frankfurt, Germany (2014); Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA (2012); and Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, USA (2010). Select group shows include those at Los Angeles County Museum of Art, USA (2018–19); Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, USA (2013); Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio State University, Columbus, USA (2010); Mass MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts, USA (2008–09). Her work was featured in the 2022 iteration of the Whitney Biennial, curated by David Breslin and Adrienne Edwards. Raven’s work appears in public collections around the world, including Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; Tate Britain, London; DIA Foundation, New York; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Whitney Museum, New York. Demolition of a Wall (Album 2) was featured in a group exhibition entitled A Divided Landscape curated by Neville Wakefield at The Momentary, Bentonville, Arkansas. Additionally, Raven’s work was included in the 2022 and 2012 Whitney Biennial, New York; 2016 Montreal Biennial; and 2018 Dhaka Art Summit, Bangladesh. With Vic Brooks and Evan Calder Williams, she is a founding member of 13BC, a moving-image research and production collective. Raven teaches at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York.