The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Thursday, July 18, 2019

The Ambivalence of the Concrete by Gerhard Rühm at MUMOK
Gerhard Rühm, Ohne Titel, 1988. Collage auf weißem Karton (Scherenschnitt), 30 x 40, cm. Courtesy Christine König Galerie, Wien © Gerhard Rühm.

VIENNA.- Gerhard Rühm (b. 1930 in Vienna) has throughout his career developed his work in numerous different media, venturing out into many different fields and dimensions. Beginning with music — he was educated to be a pianist — passing through poetry to visual arts and performative works, his oeuvre has grown to encompass an exceptionally broad spectrum.

To celebrate the 80th birthday of this multifaceted artist, the MUMOK presents a selection of his works spanning his entire career up to his most recent works. Pieces from the 1950s and the 1960s are shown along side with the Scherenschnitte [paper-cuttings] from the 1980s and the Reizwortzeichnungen [literally: ‘stimulus’ or ‘inflammatory word drawings’] that he has been working on since the beginning of 2010. More than half of the works are from the permanent collection of the MUMOK, which has grown with the purchase of a set of works in 2007 along with a generous donation made by the artist.

In the context of the Wiener Gruppe
During the 1950s and early 1960s, Rühm belonged to the Wiener Gruppe, an informal group of friends who were writers that included H.C. Artmann, Friedrich Achleitner, Konrad Bayer and Oswald Wiener. They all shared a common fundamentally experimental approach that rejected classical descriptive literature and understood language as a kind of material with which one operated, exploring its potential as such. This approach led them through language and literature into a broad range of different media, combining and linking them together, leading to such performative works as the legendary “literary Cabarets”. They thought that language was not an adequate instrument to describe reality or even to make valid statements about it. Language is rather a medium that is used to produce realities, and in this regard, it can and is often used as a repressive instrument of power. With this in consideration, the language material was used outside of its traditional function of making a proposition or statement. Released from their lexical, syntactic and semantic contexts, sounds, letters, words and text passages become materials that the artist operates with for the sake of their visual and acoustic qualities.

Between the Constructive and the Spontaneous
Gerhard Rühm’s use of language — and in the same vein his visual works — are shaped by strict constructive-conceptual methods and by an openness to the potential of spontaneous expression. In his sound poetry, number poems, typewriter ideograms, type collages and constellations, letters, punctuation marks, numbers, words and text passages are arranged according to mathematic-constructive principles such as logical-serial or permutated composition methods — but also according to subjective-formal criteria.

Other visual elements such as lines, colors and found material from newspapers and magazines enter into the color poems and text pictures, with his photo-montages devoted exclusively to the latter. His text drawings fuse the handwritten calligraphical figure with gestural drawing. And in addition to this, Rühm also works with language elements in three dimensional, sculptural form.

Rühm’s made his Scherenschnitte during the 1980s. This technique that originally came from China, and became popular in Europe during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, was interesting for Rühm in part because of the ‘visual puzzle’ effects of inversion that it made possible. While the Scherenschnitte were used in the 19th century to make precise representations of people, animals and plants — they were understood as coming closest to the actual shape because they were taken directly from nature -, Rühm however would not limit the shapes to figurative
representation, but rather also make abstract, both geometrical and subjective, free forms. And with this undefined way of reading the work, the spectrum of possible interpretations is further expanded.

With this series of collage-drawings that have been made since the beginning of this year, Rühm has again returned to using words, sentences and images taken from newspapers and magazines. In response to these “stimulus words” he offers answers that function explicitly with the basic means of drawing: lines straight or bent, short or long, solitary or together, gently or vehemently drawn points, empty or densely packed surfaces, etc. These pages provide further points for complex interpretation and, as is often the case in Rühm’s work, are also full of explicitly erotic insinuations.

MUMOK | Gerhard Rühm | The Ambivalence of the Concrete |

Today's News

March 29, 2010

Japanese Architects Kazuyo Sejima and Ryue Nishizawa Win 2010 Pritzker Architecture Prize

Andy Warhol Photo Exhibition Explores His Public and Private Lives

Imagining Home: Selections from the Heinz Architectural Center

Christie's to Offer an Important Private Collection of Rhinoceros Horn Carvings

The Ambivalence of the Concrete by Gerhard Rühm at MUMOK

Works of Art from the Estate of Nancy M. Daly Highlight Auction

Thomas Heatherwick's Spun Chair at Haunch of Venison in London

The Beautiful Time in Lubumbashi: Photography by Sammy Baloji

Canon and Getty Images Gallery Celebrate 100 Years of Hollywood

Centre national de l'audiovisuel Explores the Subject of Tourism

Tamy Ben-Tor & Miki Carmi's Disembodied Archetypes at Zach Feuer Gallery

Three Key Projects by Susan Meiselas to be Featured at the Hood Museum

L.A. Art Collector Caps Two Year Pursuit of Artist with Exhibition of New Work

Artbygeneve the New Platform for Contemporary and Modern Art

New Series of Paintings by Melanie Daniel at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art

Jakob Kolding's Stakes is High Opens at Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam

45-Carat Art Nouveau Dazzler the Centerpiece of Austin Auction's Sale

An Exhibition in Beijing at Hadrien de Montferrand Gallery for the Winner of the Prize FID 2010

Firmament Watched at Huasteca Archaeological Site

Mary Colman St. John Appointed CFO at Aperture Foundation

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Original 'Star Wars' creators lift lid on special effects challenges

2.- Lost '$170 million Caravaggio' snapped up before French auction

3.- Mansell's 'Red Five' on pole for Bonhams sale

4.- Impressionism's 'forgotten woman' shines in new Paris show

5.- Sotheby's to auction the best-surviving NASA videotape recordings of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

6.- Exhibition explores Dutch and Spanish painting of the 16th and 17th centuries

7.- Cyprus discovers 'first undisturbed Roman shipwreck'

8.- Sotheby's unveils 'Treasures from Chatsworth' with Leonardo Da Vinci drawing, Lucian Freud portraits, and more

9.- Infamous botched art restoration in Spain gets makeover

10.- 1958 Gibson Flying V Korina played by Dave Davies to grab center stage in Heritage Auctions' sale

Related Stories

Light and Language by Brigitte Kowanz in Retrospective Opening at MUMOK in Vienna

Discursive Painting from Albers to Zobernig at MUMOK

MUMOK Exhibition Explores Art and Television 1963-1987

Walk-Into Sculptures by Collective Atelier Van Lieshout at MUMOK

First Major Survey of the Work of American Artist Zoe Leonard at MUMOK

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
Editor & Publisher:Jose Villarreal - Consultant: Ignacio Villarreal Jr.
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful