Sunday, August 23, 2015

Reiner Ruthenbeck - Nicely conceptual

The Rotterdam second-hand book market keeps surprising me. Yesterday I bought a thin booklet from 1972 for one euro. It's catalogue nr. 530 of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam for an exhibition of the German artist Reiner Ruthenbeck. Two artworks caught my attention. One is conceptual the other is psychogeographical.

Wohnungsobjekt II - (Living space object, 1974) A block of frozen black ink that has to be kept in the freezer. 
I find this a delightful idea. It is so horrendously impractical and economically unsustainable that it forces you to re-think your normal use of living spaces, household appliances, artworks and the art market. Imagine having to sell this object. Imagine it melting during a power outage.

Dachskulpturen - (Rooftop sculptures, 1972) Photographs of air-raid sirens atop rooftops, accompanied by a 45-rpm vinyl recording of a test air-raid alarm.


Again a delightful idea, that is impossible to replicate nowadays. All these small local sirens have disappeared and have been replaced by big centralized sirens. I can imagine how the artist read them as installations, as sculptural interventions in public space.


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