Urs Raussmüller and Robert Ryman (*1930-2019) have enjoyed a particularly long and close association, which manifested itself from the 1970s onwards in many exhibitions and work installations. (The film Robert Ryman: On Painting of 1993 provides a unique impression of it.) With the new presentation of paintings from fifty years of Ryman’s career in the Hallen für Neue Kunst under the title “Advancing the Experience” (2008–2014), this association reached a high point of unsurpassed intensity and beauty.
Ryman has expanded the traditional means of painting to include the interplay of the painted surface with the lighting and surrounding space of the installation setting. His works are more than paintings: they are “instruments” active in multiple dimensions. They do not end at their edges, but marry themselves with the surrounding space through the differentiated manner of their transition to the wall. Each of Ryman’s paintings is an individually designed reflective surface for the incident light – the crucial additional material required to bring out the work’s unique quality. Light is absorbed and re-emitted by the different shades of white making up the calm or animated, flat or impasto paint surface. With the use of technical materials as painting ground and wall mount, Ryman intensifies the subtle interplay of the whole into previously unknown effects.
As an outstanding connoisseur of Ryman’s oeuvre and the characteristics of his works, Raussmüller has assembled a group of paintings of superlative quality. Illustrations of the works and insightful texts can be found in numerous catalogues on Robert Ryman by the Raussmüller Collection.