Robert Ladislas Derr


23.10.2018   - 03.11.2018

A participant in SomoS’ current group exhibition Un_Becoming, US artist and educator Robert Ladislas Derr places his body squarely in the center of his pieces, using it as material in his photography, video, and performances that combine the existential with the absurd.

The exploration of themes of geography and psychogeography have been
a constant in his work, from his 2011 project Discovering Columbus, in which he explores the ten towns in the United States named after Christopher Columbus using experimental geographic methods, to Chance (2005-ongoing) a series of performances, videos, and photography, in which he conducts walk performances with the cameras through cities and capitals worldwide.

In his project Play (2007-ongoing), consisting of performances, videos, and photography, Derr plays ping-pong with artists and writers in front of the cameras. Participants include Vito Acconci, Vicki Goldberg, Erwin Wurm, Peter Garfield, Martha Buskirk, Gary Metz, Terry Barrett, Cal Kowal, William Anastasi, Patty Chang, Dennis Oppenheim, Dan Graham, Michael Snow, Marcy B Freedman, Kate Gilmore, Thomas Zummer, and Navjotika Kumar.

Derr received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, BFA from the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and attended the Photography Institute National Graduate Seminar at New York University.

He has exhibited and performed worldwide at venues including the Black Mountain College Museum + Arts Center (US), Canberra Contemporary Art Space (Australia), Mendel Art Gallery (Canada), Schirn Kunsthalle (Germany), Wexner Center for the Arts (US), and Irish Film Institute (Ireland), to name a few.

The artist’s works have been funded by such organizations as the Urbana Public Arts Commission, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, and Ohio Arts Council.

Some of the permanent collections holding his work include Loyola University Museum of Art, Miami-Dade Public Library, and Indiana University Art Museum.

From 2004 to 2016, he taught at The Ohio State University. In 2016, he left OSU to found the School of Art, Art History & Design at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he is presently a Professor.

Publications featuring his work include Water, Water Everywhere: Paean to a Vanishing Resource, Baksun Books; Beneath a Petroliferous Moon, The Mendel Gallery; 100×100=900, Magmart Festival; Playing the City: Interviews, Schirn Kunsthalle, Sternberg Press.

Derr‘s video Safe Space, is presented as part of the Un_Becoming exhibition at SomoS. It the video, he performs a contextualization of safe space, contemplating safety, temporality, and the cultural and political implications of viewing the male nude.