Robert Luzar is an artist, writer, researcher and educator. He is Senior Lecturer in Fine Art, Module Coordinator for the MA Fine Art, and PhD director of studies and supervisor.
He was born in the former Yugoslavia, now Slovenia; as a child he immigrated to Canada, raised by a single mother. Luzar has lived in England for over a decade. His practice has been shaped by experiences of immigration but also, by coming from a low-income background, dispossession, trauma, and forms of ideological change.
He is interested in critical practices where ‘thinking’ takes place as an event, trace and multiplicity. These concepts resonate with claims that ‘ideas matter’ and are ‘deeply lived’ – rather than mentally preconceived. This poses challenges to worldviews, or more specifically ideologies, that complicate any event of ‘real change’ politically, socially, economically, and metaphysically.
Luzar uses drawing critically, openly and unconventionally. Under a model of ‘point’, he ‘traces’ absences and erasures that echo trauma. By tracing blank pages and legal documents, staining walls, clearing floor spaces, and pixelating skies, his works give visibility and gravity to the body. With a focus on the body––beyond one’s own, with others (human and non-human)––the trace is used to rethink ideologies that privilege ‘mark’ and ‘marking-making’. From this change of coordinates, he uses live-art, performance, situations, installations, video, projection and the Web.
His current artist projects are in two forms. The first project is a set of drawings that reflect socio-economic abstractions that implicate bodies and spaces. These drawings re-present 'blank pages' that reflect information and compositions found in documents, paperwork and political constitutions. The second project is on paradoxical performances and videos that resonate with un-working, as in the French Désouvrements, also translated as inoperativity. Both projects rethink aesthetic qualities of a liberal-economic ideology that is experienced through labour, creative economy, race and identity, political demonstrations, and truth. The projects are evidenced by the following works: Demonstrations (2015-2020), Traced Papers & Drawing Bureau (2019-2020), and Screened Pages of Magna Carta & The Constitution of The United States (in progress).
Luzar continues to exhibit internationally in live-art events, galleries, residencies, museums, and Web based projects. Previous venues include Palazzo Loredan Venice (IT), Torrance Art Museum (USA), Talbot Rice Gallery (UK), DRAWinternational (FR), Katzman Contemporary (CA), Künstlerhaus Dortmund (DE), and CUMT Institute (China). His writings on art, culture and philosophy are published in books and journals such as Nancy and Visual Culture (Edinburgh University Press 2016), Differences in Identity in Philosophy & Religion (Bloomsbury 2020), Theatre and Performance Design (Routledge 2017), and Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice (Intellect 2019).
He studied fine art and modern philosophy at York University (Canada), and, in 2005, moved to London to complete a Master of Arts degree from the Chelsea College of Art and Design. Between 2009 and 2013 he conducted doctoral research and was subsequently awarded a Doctor of Philosophy from Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.
His doctoral thesis, Drawing Upon Multiplicity: Mark, Body, and A Trace of Thought (2013), is a substantial practice-led investigation into the question of thinking in so-called performative drawing practices.
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London (UK)
- Master of Arts (MA), Chelsea College of Art and Design, University of the Arts London (UK)
- Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA), York University (CA)
- Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice (a peer-review journal, Intellect press), member of Editorial Board, 2015 - present.
- Contemporary art practice (cross-disciplinary, especially drawing, performance, video, web/technoloy
- Theory and philosophy (aesthetics, phenomenology, post-structuralism, comparative studies)
Other external roles
- PhD external examiner (Goldsmiths, 2019)
Areas of expertise
- Art practice, critical theory, philosophy
- Drawing, performance, video, projection
CBC Radio Canada (2010), Lithuanian state television and national newspaper (2011), BBC Radio (2015), Ujima Radio Bristol (2019), Latvian state television (2019).
Research and academic outputs
Luzar, R (2018) 'Points performatifs: dessiner le désir = Performative points: drawing desire.' In: de Mévius, I, ed. Ed Pien. Les Éditions de Mévius, Montreal, pp. 44-89. ISBN 9782981665720
Luzar, R (2016) 'Turning around the written mark, opening from a weight of thought.' In: Giunta, C and Janus, A, eds. Nancy and visual culture. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, pp. 181-198. ISBN 9781474407496
Luzar, R (2020) 'The Drawing Bureau: an overview with notes toward an event.' Black Book: Drawing and Sketching, 1 (2). pp. 28-35.
Luzar, R (2020) 'Performative problems.' Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice, 5 (1). pp. 29-41. ISSN 2057-0384
Luzar, R (2019) 'The multiplicity of (un-)thought: Badiou, Deleuze, event.' Comparative and Continental Philosophy, 11 (3). pp. 251-264. ISSN 1757-0638
Drawing the Dao: reflections on the application of Daoist theory of action in contemporary drawing practice
Flavel, S and Luzar, R (2019) 'Drawing the Dao: reflections on the application of Daoist theory of action in contemporary drawing practice.' Drawing: Research, Theory, Practice, 4 (1). pp. 11-27. ISSN 2057-0384
Luzar, R (2017) 'Rethinking the graphic trace in performative drawing.' Theatre and Performance Design, 3 (1-2). pp. 50-67. ISSN 2332-2578
Luzar, R (2014) 'Multiple signatures of subtraction.' Mnemoscape Magazine, 1 (Sep). pp. 144-159.
Luzar, R (2012) 'A trace from a point... (without reference).' Desearch: Postgraduate Journal of Art & Contemporary Culture, 2.
Luzar, R (2016) Objectless faith through inaesthetics. In: Knowledge, Reality, Transcendence: A Dialogue Between East & West, 31 October - 6 November 2016, Constanta, Sinaia, Vatra Dornei, Romania.
Luzar, R (2016) How am I? Thinking ‘being’ through excess, exscription and saturated phenomena. In: Inter-Religious and Inter-Cultural Dialogue in a Pluralistic World: Philosophical and Theological Perspectives, 1 - 2 June 2016, Oviidius University, Constanta, Romania.
Luzar, R (2016) Facing/Faceless. In: About Face Symposium, 21 January 2016, Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Bruton, UK.
Luzar, R and Giunta, C (2012) Keynote address. In: A Breath for Nothing… Approaching the Limit, 26 June 2012, Central Saint Martins College of Art & Design, University of the Arts, London.
Luzar, R and Collins, L (2009) Pause records. In: Making Sense: For an Effective Aesthetics, 25 September 2009, Little Hall, University of Cambridge, UK.
Luzar, R (2013) Drawing upon multiplicity: mark, body and a trace of thought. PhD thesis, University of the Arts London.
Luzar, R (2021) Demonstrations (2016-2020) [REF2021 collection].
Luzar, R (2021) Sanded steps, standing over stones (2017, 2018) [REF2021 collection].
Luzar, R (2017) 'Untitled' & 'A-lighting Steps, Balls and Chords'. In: Gesture, Trace, Performance, Herbert Read Gallery, London, UK, 18 November - 15 December 2017.
Luzar, R (2016) Demonstrations. Skelf SITE, 1 October - 3 November 2016.
Luzar, R (2016) Screened page. In: Line, Point, Plane: Minimalism in Architectural Space, Nunnery Gallery, London, UK, 20 – 25 September 2016.
Luzar, R (2016) Screened page / screened window. In: Drawing Upon Experience, Basement Gallery, Bath Spa University, Corsham, UK, 16 May - 23 July 2016.
Luzar, R (2016) Re-tracing post, stance, paper. In: Draw to Perform 3, OCAD University, Toronto, Canada, 10 February 2016.
Luzar, R and Kube, T (2014) Friendship / Mit gelassenheit. Künstlerhaus Dortmund, Germany, 13 August 2014.
Luzar, R (2013) Outside: selected artworks [solo exhibition]. Kingsgate Gallery, London, UK, 29 March – 13 April 2013.
Luzar, R (2012) Level [group exhibition]. Talbot Rice Gallery, University of Edinburgh, UK, 12 - 18 May 2012.
Luzar, R (2011) London international [group exhibition]. Klaipeda Culture Communications Centre (KCCC), Lithuania, June 2011.
Luzar, R (2011) Polemically small [group exhibition]. Torrance Arts Museum, California, USA, 29 May - 25 June 2011.
Luzar, R (2018) Sanded Steps, Standing Over Stones. In: Resting, Walking, Place-Making, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, 24 March 2018.
Luzar, R (2016) Four Steps for Lighting Balls and Chords. In: Draw to Perform 3, Crows Nest Gallery, London, UK, 30 - 31 July 2016.
Luzar, R and Gagliardi, F (2016) Two Seen, One Un-Seeing. In: Duration and Dialogue: Performance Art Festival/Symposium, Katzman Contemporary, Toronto, Canada, 29 - 31 January 2016.
Luzar, R and Gagliardi, F (2015) Legs, too. Artscape Sandbox, Toronto, Canada, 3 October 2015.