23.3 x 5 x 5 cm
Collection Museum Haus Konstruktiv
Donated by the artist
Special edition Haus Konstruktiv, 2011
After completing training as a graphic designer at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Basel, Nelly Rudin (born 1928 in Basel, Switzerland, died 2013 in Uitikon, Switzerland) first worked as a successful graphic designer for more than a decade. Then, in 1964, she quit her job to devote herself completely to a career in visual art. Staying true to the principle of “less is more,” which she had learned when she was a graphic designer, she primarily explored the basic figures of squares, triangles, and circles, and their fractions. In 1974, she used the latter to develop her so-called “assembled canvases,” which are vertically intersecting, diagonal constructions with a white, “empty” area in the middle. Two years later, she radically redefined this focal point and abandoned the two-dimensional plane in her “aluminum frame objects.” According to the artist, the square framing formations that are raised off the wall like a relief frame the empty wall like a picture: “Where a picture normally ‘happens’ there is emptiness, and where the frame is is the picture.” In 1977, Nelly Rudin began to explore this theme in painting, placing her main focus on the painting’s margins: either the sides of the picture (“Nr. 320” and “Nr. 373”), or its edges (“Nr. 489”). She combined this with thicker stretcher frames, meant to lend the paintings more volume, sometimes working with different thicknesses within one work to challenge our viewing habits. In 1981, she began applying this theme to objects made of acrylic glass (“Nr. 19” and “Nr. 22”), letting their transparency generate new perceptual effects. According to Rudin, “Paint applied on the edges can migrate through the glass and appear unexpectedly on edges that are not painted.” This “migration” – in the sense of a gradual expansion – is characteristic of Rudin’s oeuvre as a whole. By constantly modifying her essential themes, she was always able to exploit this alternation between painting and sculpture to create new facets. Her emphasis on marginal zones also ultimately added a significant new theme to the vocabulary of Concrete Art.
Since her death, the artist’s works and papers have been held by the nelly rudin foundation, which is housed in her former residence and studio in the town of Uitikon near Zurich.