Gerhard Rühm

26 Mar - 27 Jun 2010

© Gerhard Rühm, „I in the mirror“, 1975, Foto: MUMOK
The Ambivalence of the Concrete
26 March - 27 June 2010

There are many reasons to honour Gerhard Rühm. His eightieth birthday is only one of them – the fact that he presented MUMOK with a generous gift of a number of his works from the 1950s and 1960s is another which is at least as important.

However, the most essential reason remains Rühm’s work which he developed right from the beginning in a multitude of discrete mediums as well as, and above all, as an endeavour that is consistently transmedial.
Starting from music–he is a trained pianist–via poetry to visual art, his oeuvre covers a remarkable spectrum right up to the present day.

The exhibition presents examples from Rühm’s early works which came into being in the context of the 'Wiener Gruppe' and contrasts them with those from later periods. In the process it underlines one aspect in particular that runs through the whole: the concern with the elementary, the concrete, the factual. For instance, in 'ihrer Fixierung auf Aussagen enthoben [relieved of her fixation on statements]' the instrument of language is used as material or the pictures of silhouettes understood as factually accurate. However Rühm operates with these in a way that makes their ambivalences of meaning, as well as the potential ‘tipping over’ of possible readings into the apparently illogical, evident.

Curator: Eva Badura-Triska

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