Six Ways to Sunday, Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen

Kilian Rüthemann + Sitterwerk

The research of Kilian Rüthemann fits into the Post-Minimalist tradition. Trained as a sculptor, Rüthemann investigates the multiple relationships that arise from the inevitable connection between work and space, objects and surfaces. In his work the artist uses mainly industrial materials like concrete, tar and steel, but also foam rubber, neon or salt, creating works that directly address the architectural characteristics of space through site-specific operations. The contexts on which he concentrates reveal their dynamic potential, becoming transitory and permeable terrain, in relation to the complex nature of his compositions. The resources employed lose their conventional usage value and are literally repositioned to trigger unexpected variations. In the project for Peep-Hole Kilian Rüthemann intervenes in the exhibition space with a minimal gesture that establishes a relationship with the architecture in both structural and material terms. Starting with the tripartition of the space, the artist has decided to operate in a specular way on the first and last of the three rooms, with two floor works that in spite of the use of different materials establish a dialectic relationship, revealing a similar pictorial nature.

At the entrance to the show a carpet dragged by a sudden gesture has deposited an enormous brushstroke on the floor, crossing the room and leaving a trail of black tar in its wake. In the last room – at a point diametrically opposite in the space – this sign seems to repeat, this time expanding to cover almost the whole floor. The tar used in Untitled (White Carpet), 2103 is contrasted here by an enormous PVC sheet – of the kind used to make artificial ponds – also in black. In Untitled (Black Cover), 2013 the sheet, of the same size as the floor, does not adhere completely to its surface, but is blocked by the columns at the center of the room, leaving a portion of the floor exposed and taking on the appearance of a sort drape, or a fluid expanse that advances towards the viewer. Halfway between sculpture and installation, both works produce a visual and tactile contrast between the fluidity and glossiness of two materials like PVC and tar, and the solidity and matte finish of the raw concrete floor.

Together with the work of Kilian Rüthemann, the exhibition also features a selection of books and materials from the archives of Sitterwerk, the foundation created by the Kunstgiesserei art foundry of St. Gallen, as a response to the context in which Peep-Hole operates, the historic Fonderia Artistica Battaglia. Sitterwerk can be considered a space of in-depth study of the artistic disciplines, thanks to the immense archive of materials, as well as the library specializing in artists’ books and techniques of artistic production. Its inclusion in the show reflects the desire to ideally connect St. Gallen and Milan, underlining the similarities that exist between the two institutions while bringing out the specificities of Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen.

Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen, directed since 2007 by Giovanni Carmine, is well known as one of the most active and innovative artspaces in Switzerland. Founded in 1984, it has worked with over 400 artists over the years, producing many first institutional exhibitions of Swiss artists who have subsequently become internationally famous, including Roman Signer and Pipilotti Rist. Kunst Halle Sankt Gallen has a program of great variety, working mainly with emerging artists who are invited to produce works or exhibitions in direct dialogue with the architectural, political or cultural context.

Kilian Rüthemann (Bütschwil, St. Gallen, Switzerland, 1979. Lives and works in Basel), studied sculpture at Zuzwil and took a degree at the Academy of Art and Design of Basel. Recent exhibitions include: Room for Milk – Visionary Collection Vol. 20, Museum Haus Konstruktiv, Zurich, 2012; PURITANS, Kilian Rüthemann and Michael Clark, deuxpiece, Basel, 2012; Walking Distance, Künstlerhaus, Bremen, 2010; Attacca, Manor Kunstpreis Basel, Museum fur Gegenwartskunst, Basel, 2010; Double Rich, Swiss Institute in Rome, 2009; Sooner Rather than Later, Kunsthaus, Glarus 2009. Selected group shows: AI WEI WEI IS IN CHINA, Fichtebunker, Berlin, 2011; Displaced Fractures, Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst, Zurich, 2010; When Things Cast No Shadow, 5th Berlin Biennale, Berlin, 2008; Poor Thing, Kunsthalle Basel, 2007.

The exhibition by Kilian Rüthemann is part of Six Ways to Sunday, a multiyear program with which Peep-Hole devotes one event each year to the collaboration of an international contemporary art institution, temporarily becoming its satellite project room. With Six Ways to Sunday Peep-Hole offers a glimpse of the programming of six international art institutions, which present the most interesting contemporary art research. This exhibition is part of the Shrinking World project, with the support of Fondazione Cariplo. With the support of BSI Art Foundation.

01. Kilian Rüthemann, Untitled (White Carpet), 2013
Installation view at Peep-Hole. Courtesy RaebervonStenglin, Zurich

02. Kilian Rüthemann, Untitled (White Carpet), 2013 (detail)
Courtesy RaebervonStenglin, Zurich

03. Exhibition view at Peep-Hole

04. Sitterwerk Archive
Installation view at Peep-Hole

05. Sitterwerk Archive (detail)

06. Sitterwerk Archive (detail)

07. Sitterwerk Archive (detail)

08. Kilian Rüthemann, Untitled (White Carpet), 2013
Installation view at Peep-Hole. Courtesy RaebervonStenglin, Zurich

09. Kilian Rüthemann, Untitled (White Carpet), 2013 (detail)
Courtesy RaebervonStenglin, Zurich

10. Kilian Rüthemann, Untitled (White Carpet), 2013 (detail)
Courtesy RaebervonStenglin, Zurich