The Pervert

October 28 - December 17 2011

It is a great pleasure for Galleri Nicolai Wallner to present The Pervert an exhibition with new paintings and drawings by Christoph Ruckhäberle.

As suggested by the exhibition title Ruckhäberle works with a visuality that moves beyond the orthodox. The figures of his paintings are trapped in a disharmonious space with otherwise independent territories of background, middle and front compressed to a single claustrophobic plane.

Ruckhäberle depicts his subjects like film stills quite comically suspended in motion. They appear weary eyed, melancholic except a few who grin at us with manic smiles.

The vivid colours, as well as the chiselled and schematic effect of their features, lend them a mask-like quality. Similarly their dress is more akin to the costumes of depersonalised actors with men in traditional business attire and women in short length skirts than any people seen on the street.

It is obvious that the artist enjoys freedom in the play of forms, arrangement and alteration of human proportions. As such it seems that the elaborate configurations do not aim to depict a narrative, but rather offer pleasure in the idiosyncrasy of their construction. Through the rhythm of visual components that might seem askew or perspectival inconsistent the paintings develop their own sensuality. The work represents a compositional jigsaw puzzle, each element an individually delineated shape filling a gap in the whole.

Ruckhäberle approaches painting as construction rather than mimicking real life. It is a view heavily influenced by the joint forces of abstraction and painterly surface though at the same time marked by its own particular beauty.

Born in Pfaffenhofen (1972), Bavaria (DE), Ruckhäberle studied art between 1991 and 1992 at the California Institute of Arts Valencia, and graduated in his Master studies in Leipzig under Prof. Arno Rink. Manifesta 7 in Trentino, Italy (2008), the Life After Death exhibition at the Frye Art Museum, Seattle (2007), Triumph of Painting in the Saatchi Gallery, London (2006), and Mass MoCA, Massachusetts (2005) are some of the numerous venues at which his work has been shown. In 2009 Ruckhäberle had a solo exhibition at the Migros Museum, Zürich.

carrie emberlyn