MODERN ICONS / Chairs: Are you sitting comfortably? Iain Gale on the artist Reiner Ruthenbeck
Tuesday 05 July 1994
To understand, the viewer must merely look: 'The work refers only to itself, its state of staying put . . . The defining factor in Ruthenbeck's work is antithesis: the tension and resolution between opposites . . . The work explores the dichotomy between the orthodox uses of furniture in our society and its capability to be subverted and 'overturned', revealing our more vulnerable relationship to objects.' In a rare statement from 1986, Ruthenbeck himself offered the following additional advice for the perplexed: 'In my work . . . I have reduced formal structures as far as possible. The result seems to offer relatively little nourishment to the intellect. I would like thereby to bring the viewer to a contemplative, holistic acceptance of my art.' As the catalogue puts it: 'Noisy enthusiasm is inappropriate; gentle irony may be extracted from the work itself.'
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