Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien shows Gerhard Rühm

Exhibition on show from 4 October 2017 to 28 January 2018 in the exhibition building on Freyung in Vienna.

Gerhard Rühm © IMAGNO/Ullstein

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Simultaneously composer, performer, writer and visual artist, for six decades now Gerhard Rühm (born in 1930) has been balancing as a crossover artist between the artistic disciplines. In the intermediate space between word and image, speech and music, writing and drawing, he seeks a continual broadening of modes of expression in the media, which break through perceptive habits and open up new horizons of meaning. Rühm’s trans-genre, performance-oriented approach took shape in the early 1950s and in many ways anticipates what eventually predominated in 1960s art as an international tendency towards the “Verfransung” (“erosion“) of the media (T. W. Adorno) and was manifested in movements like Fluxus, Happenings and Conceptual Art.

The retrospective pays tribute to Rühm’s trendsetting work in all its diversity and casts light on his international significance as an intermedia pioneer, but from today’s perspective, in which the figure of the “artist-poet” is once more gaining in topicality. The show includes Rühm’s “visual poetry” – typewriter ideograms, “typo collages”, “script drawings” and “photo montages”, which oscillate between writing and image – and their musical counterpart, “visual music”, with graphically adapted notations; also on show are automatic, gestural and conceptional drawings and script-films, and to be heard are his “auditive poetry”, piano pieces, chansons and melodramas at the threshold of language and music.

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