“The surface that is in front of the painter is not necessarily empty. It has its own presence and its own structure which can have a certain beauty, if the surface can be seen as a form itself. And in a realistic approach to painting it is a form itself. This is why, in my painting, the process does not begin with the application of paint on a surface, but rather with the material of the surface and the construction of the surface itself.”
(Robert Ryman in conversation with Urs Raussmüller)
In his Versions, Robert Ryman – according to that principle – used all parts of the painting to create something whole that directly approaches the viewers. All elements of the painting are consciously joined to one aesthetic impression: The structured support made of very thin fiberglass, slightly primed by Ryman; the overlayed grid of fine pencil lines, the remarkably lively but still open application of oil paint, the dating or signature; even the mostly white painted nails fixing the painting to the wall are not hammered in fully in order to leave a dark shadow on the painting surface as another compositorial element.
On the top edge Ryman attaches a strip of wax paper, coming out under the fiberglass and casually stapled to the wall. The soft reflections of the wax paper extend even more the wide range of light absorption and reflection on the painting surface and gives the works a movement towards the spectator.
The 16 works that form the Versions, made between 1991 and 1992, exist independently as individual works and have been exhibited for the first time in 1992 in the Hallen für Neue Kunst Schaffhausen, followed by an exhibition at the Pace Gallery in New York. The corresponding catalogue with a text by Christel Raussmüller and a conversation with Robert Ryman and Urs Raussmüller as well as illustrations of the Versions can be found in our Bookshop.
We bemoan the passing of a great artist. Urs and Christel Raussmüller have known Jannis Kounellis since the 1970s. As early as 1978 Urs Raussmüller ran an exhibition with works by Kounellis at InK in Zurich. From 1984 to 2014 Raussmüllers presented important works by the artist in their Hallen für Neue Kunst in Schaffhausen (Kounellis’ “Metamorfosi”). The latest cooperation with the artist took place in 2015: Urs Raussmüller showed key works by Kounellis from the Raussmüller Collection in an installation at Spazio Christian Stein in Milan. Find more information as well as a video of the exhibition here. The insights gained from dealing with the works have lead to three publications that offer a deepened understanding of the art of Jannis Kounellis.
Jannis Kounellis died at the age of 80 on Thursday evening in Rome.
“Paintings, like paths in a maze, move not necessarily forward but furnish space for you to follow out thoughts and thoughts suggested by thoughts, sometimes leading to dead ends, other times opening out, and again at other times doubling back, bringing you again into familiar territory. Intervening time, however, has changed things, and the experience becomes something new.” (Robert Mangold, Studio Notes)
Robert Mangold’s outstanding painting Light Ellipse / Grey Frame from 1989 is the embodiment of this creative stand and continues to fascinate and inspire. In his works, the artist combines all elements of painting like outline shapes and internal forms, surfaces and lines, colour tones and structures, to one holistic work of unique quality. Thus driven from new experiences, we will continue to walk off the beaten track in the coming year. We hope you too, could set the course for a good future and look forward to a productive and inspiring new year!
The Studio Notes by Robert Mangold together with more stunning illustrations of his paintings are published in our Mangold catalogue. For more illustrations and information on Light Ellipse / Grey Frame consider ordering our monograph Three Works by Robert Mangold.
The Raussmüller Collection exhibits “Flour Arrangements” (1966) by Bruce Nauman at Schirn Kunsthalle in Frankfurt. The work, that recently has been exhibited at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris as ground-breaking innovation in artistic use of photographic techniques, will enter into dialogue with works by Alberto Giacometti. The exhibition Giacometti-Nauman in Frankfurt sets out to highlight common ground in the work of these two outstanding artists of the 20th century.
Find out more about “Flour Arrangements” and its history in our Highlights
Since the 1960ies Jannis Kounellis has created artworks that stand out for their strong physical and emotional force. They consist of materials of everyday life and even incorporate life itself: fragments of the real world, like animals, plants, coal or hair are included into “scenic” situations of unmatched poetry and vibrancy. By overcoming the gap between art and reality, Kounellis has had a lasting influence on the development of art – much beyond the concept of Arte Povera.
Three major works in this development are now the subject of distinctive monographs of Raussmüller Collection. With enlightening texts by Christel Sauer and informative large-scale images the booklets give access to a leading artist of our time and his groundbreaking three-dimensional “images”.
Find out more about the new publications in our bookshop.