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  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
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Christoph Ruckhäberle

SELECTED WORKS BY Christoph Ruckhäberle

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Christoph Ruckhäberle
Lake at Sunset

2004

2004, Oil on canvas

279 x 381cm
Christoph Ruckhaberle’s leisurely scenes operate like dysfunctional stage plays. Cribbed from all the best bits of art history, he imbues his scenes with a contemporary newness of vivid patterns and design colours. His elaborate sets are backdrops of static energy against which his cast nonchalantly mingles: placid and bored, unaware of their own interaction with an expectant audience. This sense of waiting is the delight in Christoph Ruckhaberle’s work. Charmed by the pure casualness of it all, his paintings offer the possibility of getting lost in a moment, a luxuriating pause where visual harmony is appreciated as inert ideal.
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Christoph Ruckhäberle
Untitled

2004

Oil on canvas

190 x 280cm
The tea party in Christoph Ruckhaberle’s Untitled plays an optical illusion; this pleasant image deconstructs itself into a myriad of coloured components, oscillating between narrative scene and formalist abstraction. Christoph Ruckhaberle approaches this painting as a compositional jigsaw puzzle, each element an individually delineated shape filling a gap in the whole: L-shaped knees disjointedly connect to rectangular skirts and socks, geometric furnishings float without a sense of grounded order. Through subtle repetition of form, Ruckhaberle creates a systemic visual harmony; a contrived soothing comfort through which a surreal suspense passes almost unnoticed.
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Christoph Ruckhäberle
Untitled

2004

Oil on canvas

190 x 280cm
In Untitled, Christoph Ruckhaberle’s figures languish with models’ detached poise; his sybaritic group is neutrally depersonalised as compositional study. Christoph Ruckhaberle renders his characters as emotionally self-contained objects of fetish, their interaction limited to physical positioning: tangled masses of pink forms and dark shadows, right angle patterns of arms and legs, all melodically punctuated by colour co-ordinated accessories. Approaching his painting as a harmonised rhythm of visual components, Christoph Ruckharberle develops an aura of earthy sensuality through the qualities of abstraction and painterly surface rather than narrative characterisation. The central figure reflected in the mirror gives false promise of psychological depth: her self-contemplation reveals only a further complexity of formalist intrigue, and a teasing acknowledgement of historical lineage.
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Christoph Ruckhäberle
Plakatwand

2005

Oil on canvas

250 x 340cm
Christoph Ruckhaberle conceives Plakatwand with an intentional staginess. Rendered with the rigid artifice of theatrical backdrops, Ruckhaberle’s billboard-scale canvas approaches painting as a vaudevillian construction: a clichéd scene consciously exposing its own formulaic aspirations. Mixing techniques between naïve stylisation and impassioned gesture, Plakatwand is tinged with both humour and pathos. Ruckhaberle pictures the artist/vagabond as a comitragic figure, an idealistic bohemian crippled beneath the proliferation of mass-produced imagery and commercial message. Christoph Ruckhaberle approaches this canvas as several paintings in one: independent territories of brick, sky, wall, figure, become compressed to a single claustrophobic plane. From this referential abstraction, Ruckhaberle poses his painting as a romantically fatalist yet classically spectacular production.
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Christoph Ruckhäberle
China

2005

2005, Oil on canvas

250 x 380cm
Christoph Ruckhaberle’s China executes the power of will over logic. Using painting as a tool of invention, Ruckhaberle’s scene defies reason in exchange for paradoxical intrigue. Furniture and tableware fly in violent chaos while retaining an effect of controlled calmness, their psychic energy resonating from the concentrated central figure. Ruckhaberle renders this image with unsettling impartiality; psychological torment becomes a problem of geometric design. Motion is frozen in compositional elegance, fragmented into oscillating squares and orbs. Neutralising his subject matter, Ruckhaberle creates a sense of magic through the complexity of construction, making the impossible accessible through discipline and volition of imagination.

ARTICLES

Text written by Patricia Ellis

Christoph Ruckhaberle’s leisurely scenes operate like dysfunctional stage plays. Cribbed from all the best bits of art history, he imbues his paintings with a contemporary newness of vivid patterns and design colours. His elaborate sets are backdrops of static energy against which his cast nonchalantly mingles: placid and bored, unaware of their own interaction with an expectant audience. This sense of waiting is the delight in Christoph Ruckhaberle’s work. Charmed by the pure casualness of it all, his paintings offer the possibility of getting lost in a moment, a luxuriating pause where visual harmony is appreciated as inert ideal.

Christoph Ruckhaberle approaches figurative painting from a purely formalist standpoint. His elaborate configurations don’t strive to depict narrative, but rather offer perverse pleasure in the idiosyncrasy of their construction. Christoph Ruckhaberle approaches painting as a compositional jigsaw puzzle, each element an individually delineated shape filling a gap in the whole: L-shaped elbows and knees disjointedly connect to rectangular dresses and socks, geometric furnishings float without a sense of grounded order. Christoph Ruckhaberle’s avant gardist compositions break down into absurd abstractions: contorted bodies, silhouetted trees, tea pots and parasols become intriguing excuses to render complex systems of repetitive circles, squares and interlinking patterns. Christoph Ruckhaberle’s folksy style gives a casual air to his balanced formal tension, consciously understating his wry visual humour, and clever citation of Matisse and Beckmann.

Christoph Ruckhaberle’s work instils a sense of isolation and detachment: his figures are frozen in self-contained realms of thought, their painterly existence derived solely for the pleasure of creating visual suspense. Through this precarious balance of psychological intimacy, and cool, stylised aesthetics, Christoph Ruckhaberle contrives a soothing comfort through which an underlying anxiety passes almost unnoticed.


Art in Review: Christoph Ruckhäberle
April 2006, by Roberta Smith, The New York Times

Since his 2004 New York debut at this gallery, the young German painter Christoph Ruckhäberle has become really good at taking charge of a canvas rectangle. His new paintings of young bohemians relaxing in vibrant, stage-set interiors have a formal force that extends emphatically to the corners. It is generated by unexpected perspectives, bright colors and insistent patterns -- floors, rugs, wallpaper, tabletops, upholstery and clothing that are variously grained, checked or striped to the hilt. His compositional precision is enlivened by rough surfaces, drips and even pale, brackish pours; the pours add shadows and a subtle visual nastiness consistent with the vague undercurrent of kinkiness.
Most of Mr. Ruckhäberle's stylized, loose-limbed subjects drink beer or take tea, loll about or nod off -- to most dazzling effect in the overhead view of four women in ''Blue Vase.''
Less usual is an image of a dandyish man leading a horse ridden by a small boy across a drip-fringed stage backed by radiating blue, and a seated semi-nude woman painted in shades of celadon, whose symmetrical form and staring face recall's Giacometti's early sculpture ''Hands Holding the Void (Invisible Object)'' of 1934.
Mr. Ruckhäberle is one of the less fussed-over of the Leipzig painters. His precedents include Balthus, Jean Helion, Ludwig Kirchner and Oceanic art (as evidenced by paintings of bright, grimacing masks). The figurative paintings of Leland Bell and Louisa Matthiasdottir and Japanese screens also come to mind; the liberties taken by the Neo-Expressionists can't be discounted. Mr. Ruckhäberle seems to approach painting as an open book, of which any page can be ripped out, as long as it is used in, and not simply pasted to, the present.

Read the entire article here

Source: nytimes.com