Artwork of the month July

Reiner Ruthenbeck, Weisses Dreieck, 1980

Reiner Ruthenbeck

* 1937 in Velbert, † 2016 in Ratingen, Germany

Weisses Dreieck (White Triangle), 1980

Black aluminium rod in white band ring, metal pin

46 x 70 x 4 cm


In the wall object Weisses Dreieck (White Triangle) from 1980, Reiner Ruthenbeck leaves it to gravity to develop the form indicated in the title: a metal pin with a 4-cm-wide strip of fabric draped around it forms the apex of an isosceles triangle, while the weight of an equally wide, 70-cm-long, black aluminium bar inserted in the strip creates the geometric shape.

Clearly revealing the process of its creation, this self-forming object becomes the subject under consideration in terms of how it constitutes opposites (black/white, hard/soft, etc.). Bound to the duration of the exhibition, the result is a self-levelling balance of extension and resistance, stability and changeability: "One of the main themes of my work is polarity, duality or (and) its cancellation in the artwork. I try to achieve a kind of hovering equilibrium in my art and thus in the awareness of the viewer." As such, a dormant force underlies the wall object's clearly visible manifestation.

Ruthenbeck generally uses few materials to create his objects and their reduced form displays a sensitive artistic effect. To this end, the artist prefers such materials as paper, ash or fabric, that all have an inherent soft, malleable quality to them. His work, then, oscillates between minimalist and conceptual form and an attendant sensuality. Unlike the exponents of minimal art, who were particularly interested in the anonymous, equal intrinsic value of form and material and their physical presence in space, while Reiner Ruthenbeck also makes use of a reduced formal idiom, he emphasises the ephemeral, processual character in his sculptural work. The exploration of a changing composition of media and a self-regulating balance of divergence play an important role for the artist in this context: "Polarity is the height of abstraction. The finer the medium, the better it can be used to depict spirituality."

Denise Rigaud

<b>Reiner Ruthenbeck, Weisses Dreieck, 1980</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.