September 8, 2018 - Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden - Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and David Horvitz: For Ruth, the Sky in Los Angeles
September 8, 2018

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden

[1] David Horvitz, For Ruth the sky in los angeles, 2016. © Mail Art Archiv Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt. [2] Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, o.T., 1980-1984. © Kunstfonds, SKD. [3] David Horvitz, The Distance of a Day, 2013. © David Horvitz und ChertLüdde, Berlin.

Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and David Horvitz
For Ruth, the Sky in Los Angeles
September 8, 2018–January 6, 2019

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Residenzschloss Dresden
Taschenberg 2
01067 Dresden
Hours: Monday–Sunday 10am–6pm

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The small format aquarelle, For Ruth, the sky in los angeles consists solely of this sentence and, in the tradition of Mail Art, was sent in 2016 by David Horvitz from the United States via post to Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt in Berlin. In the 1970s and 80s, Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt (*1932) participated in the international Mail Art movement, which employed postal services to visualize networks and processes of dissemination. Mail Art’s rhizomatic global network linked individual artists with shared sensibilities who were otherwise separated by different political, cultural and spatial contexts.

This legacy is taken up and extended by LA-based artist David Horvitz (*1982), whose experimental exchange with Wolf-Rehfeldt provided the impetus for this two-person exhibition at the Albertinum. At once a dedication and perhaps even a promise, with "For Ruth, the sky in los angeles" Horvitz sends Wolf-Rehfeldt his own small corner of the very same sky that they both live beneath.

The exhibition of the same name is conceptualized as a living homage to the work of Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, who was active as an artist from the 1960s to 1989, when the peaceful revolution brought an end to the German Democratic Republic. Working from East Berlin and using an Erika typewriter, Wolf-Rehfeldt developed intricate graphic compositions juxtaposing image and text. These delicate “typewritings”—diagrams, patterns, woven lines of poetry, and abstract fluxes—form the conceptual core of the show, alongside selections from the letter “B” of the extensive Mail Art archive of the artist and her late husband, artist Robert Rehfeldt, which was organized non-hierarchically by alphabet.

For Dresden, David Horvitz deconstructs his Proposals for Clocks, which proffers alternative means to measure time through capricious dimensions like the wind, the shadows cast by cats, and the human heart beat. Stamps were made from fragments of these proposals that visitors can use to create their own poetry to mail to anonymous recipients from the museum’s mailing list. Untitled (Dresden-Los Angeles) melds together shards found on the banks of the Elbe and on a California beach into two fragile glass vessels, while Horvitz’ new video work shows the artist wandering the grounds of the Trump National Golf Club in Los Angeles at dusk while seeding it with Washingtonia robusta, a palm tree native to California and Mexico, performing a gesture that links personal reflection with quiet political protest. This transgressive act of nocturnal guerilla gardening resonates with the Albertinum’s world-renowned collection of Romantic painting, positing a contemporary twist on the romantics’ conflation of deeply personal experience, sublime nature, imagination and rebellion against social convention in their quest for a new place in a time that is increasingly out of joint.  

Both David Horvitz and Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt are divided by generations and worlds—yet their wit, their conception of art, and their poetry nonetheless occupy the same horizon.

A book on the exhibition will be published in 2019 with texts by Zanna Gilbert, Jesi Khadivi, Sven Spieker, Kathleen Reinhardt and Hilke Wagner.

The Albertinum is the museum of modern and contemporary art of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden and holds one of the largest collections of paintings and sculptures from the early nineteenth century to the present in Germany.

The exhibition was curated by Kathleen Reinhardt.

Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
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For Ruth, the Sky in Los Angeles
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