230 x 240 cm
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Purchase made possible by Club Fonds Konkret
Target as Frontside
In 2011, the Museum Haus Konstruktiv acquired the work “Target as Frontside” by the artist Kilian Rüthemann (born 1979 in Bütschwil, Switzerland). This artwork consists of neon tubes through which he poured paint before attaching them to the wall in a geometric pattern, after which he knocked off their exposed halves with a hammer.
The result is a delicate relief, whose structure reminds us not only of Robert Ryman’s monochrome white pictures, but also of Robert Rauschenberg’s “White Paintings.” Composer John Cage once remarked that he understood the latter as “landing strips” for light and shadow. The fact that Rauschenberg’s pictures inspired Cage to create his famous piece “4'33''” is interesting in that Kilian Rüthemann’s work also relates to music. Its title refers to a text by the Dutch composer Dick Raaijmakers (1930–2013), known mainly for his electronic music. In his poetic text “Method” (which in turn is a reference to the photographic motion studies of Etienne-Jules Marey), Raaijmakers describes how humans move through the world and interact with it, how they “target” a goal while only being able to see it “as frontside,” because it turns as they turn, like “a lion following the hunter with his head.”
The key issue in Kilian Rüthemann’s work is the space around us (it is the stage on which our movements and interactions take place). He initially trained and worked as a stone mason before studying at the Hochschule für Gestaltung und Kunst in Basel. He usually plans and realizes his works on site, which allows him to react to the specific architectural situation – to the structure of the rooms, windows, walls, and floors, as well as to the spatial tensions and interstices. His sculptural interventions, which are occasionally minimal, transform the space around them into a sculpture and vice versa. The sculpture thus becomes an architectural intervention that acts as a temporal expression set against the permanence of the architectural structure. The sculpture symbolizes transformation and evanescence; it counteracts heaviness with lightness, and it negates the function of individual architectural elements, interpreting the space anew. Rüthemann possesses a keen sense for his materials and a conceptual clarity that does not keep us at arm’s length, but touches us. As a gallery text about the artist once stated, “Target as Frontside” is “an incandescent monument to fragility.”