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Leipzig's Christoph Ruckhaberle breathes life into abstract painting

By Park Yuna

Published : Dec. 15, 2023 - 23:05

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"Untitled" by Christoph Ruckhaberle (Courtesy of Galerie Kleindienst)

German artist Christoph Ruckhaberle attempts to bring out the subjects of his paintings as if declaring art should not be something conceptual, but rather something to enjoy. The exhibition “Waking up the pictures: Christoph Ruckhaberle” invites people to mix and mingle with his art.

The artist’s first-ever solo exhibition in Seoul shows some 160 paintings from 2007 to 2023, including those especially created for this exhibition. Based in Leipzig, Ruckhaberle is one of the leading artists of the New Leipzig School, consisting of ex-students of the former East German city's Art Academy in the early 1990s after reunification.

His paintings feature the experimental placement, juxtaposition, superimposition and repetition of diverse elements that freely traverse dimensions and boundaries. One will encounter sculptures of patterns created from the geometric fragments of deconstructed images as though they were traveling away from the original images.

An installation view of the exhibition An installation view of the exhibition "Waking Up the Pictures: Christoph Ruckhaberle" at Seouliteum in Seongdong-gu, Seoul (Park Yuna/The Korea Herald)

“I like how people think in completely different directions. What people see is different, and the more contradictions arise, the better,” the artist once said. His art encompasses oil paintings, sculptures, enamel or gouache works and woodcut prints.

His works appear to be witty, some of them provoking laughter for the way their subjects are depicted. They are a mix of deconstructed portraits, geometry and ordinary people. However, some visitors may find the images somehow hollow, as, hidden behind the delightful-looking paintings are people’s expressionless faces. His works indeed involve an element of black comedy.

Visitors should not miss the last part of the exhibition, where they can play with an artificial intelligence tool named “Christoph AI," developed by One Day One Communication Co., Ltd. Submit an image of yourself and the tool will create a portrait based on paintings by Ruckhaberle.

The exhibition, which opened on Nov. 29, will run through March 3 at Seouliteum in Seongdong-gu, Seoul.