ZKM | Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie

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Gerhard Rühm as intermedia pioneer

01 Apr - 09 Jul 2017

2017-ZKM-soon just now- Plakat_bessere Auflösung / © ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Layout: Demian Bern
Gerhard Rühm as Intermedia Pioneer
Within the series of »Poetic Expansions«
1 April - 9 July 2017

Curators: Peter Weibel and Erec Gellautz

Gerhard Rühm (born in 1930 in Vienna) is a virtuoso in the development of intermedia thresholds and expanded forms of media expression. His work poetically combines sculptures, music, literature and performance and, in overcoming ‘traditional’ categories, opens up new aesthetic fields of context. At the same time, Rühm’s work provides intellectual enjoyment and encourages expanded perceptions, in which the fixed ways of speaking and thinking are transcended in a conceptual and humorous way.

Initially, Gerhard Rühm studied piano and composition at the University of Music and Performing Arts, Vienna and under Josef Matthias Hauer, the inventor of dodecaphony. In the 1950s, he worked mainly with literature and gained recognition as an experimental poet with his first sound poems. As a co-founder of the legendary »Wiener Gruppe« (together with Friedrich Achleitner, H.C. Artmann, Konrad Bayer and Oswald Wiener), Rühm was involved significantly in the innovative expansion of literary processes into new forms of expression: The »Wiener Gruppe« performed »Happenings«, even before this term had been invented. At the 2nd Literary Cabaret in 1959 in Vienna, Gerhard Rühm and Friedrich Achleitner destroyed a piano – this was notably the first time in art history and before the Fluxus artists used such radical means. However, for Rühm, provocation was just a side effect, which describes less the character of his work than the conservative atmosphere in post-war Austria, in which he (together with the circle of his artistic colleagues) endeavoured to link the merits of the experimental avant-garde of expressionism, Dada, surrealism and futurism. Characteristic for Rühm’s creation is the innovative approach of strict concept but spontaneous expression.

The elaborate exhibition »soon | just | now. gerhard rühm als Intermediapionier« exemplarily presents the poetic, visual and musical creation of the artist. Sculptural work (visual poetry, gestural and conceptual drawings, visual music, photomontages, book objects...), films (script films, cinematographic texts, voice-over co-productions with Hubert Sielecki) and also music (auditory poetry, chansons, tone poems...) are being exhibited.

The show envisions that, from the very beginning, the intermedia alignment forms a comprehensive and style-defining principle in the creation of the artist.

Exhibitions team
Technische Projektleitung: Henrike Mall
Registrar: Henrike Mall

Organization / Institution
ZKM | Center for Art and Media

Tags: Gerhard Rühm, Peter Weibel