Karla Black and Christoph Ruckhaberle

Karla Black and Christoph Ruckhaberle

Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst

Left: Karla Black, Wish List, 2008
Sugar paper, chalk, ribbon, hair gel, nail varnish, plaster powder, paint, petroleum jelly, polythene, rubber glove
Dimensions variable
Installation view: Mary Mary, Glasgow
Courtesy of the artist and Mary Mary, Glasgow

May 11, 2009

Karla Black
Christoph Ruckhäberle

16th May – 16th August 2009

Limmatstrasse 270
8005 Zürich


The migros museum für gegenwartskunst is presenting from 16th May -16th August 2009 two solo exhibitions by Karla Black (born 1972 in Alexandria, lives and works in Glasgow) and Christoph Ruckhäberle (born 1972 in Pfaffenhofen, lives and works in Leipzig). It’s for both artists their first solo exhibition in Switzerland.

Plaster, chalk dust and Vaseline, or substances such as face powder, lipstick and nail varnish make up the raw materials of Scottish artist Karla Black. The ephemeral works – whether transparent cellophane arranged sculpturally to hang from the ceiling, or fragile works of gossamer-fine powder sprinkled onto the floor. Black simultaneously extends the classical notion of sculpture through a process-oriented, performative handling of cultural connotations and untypical materials. Through their colours and materiality, Black’s sculptural works create an extremely subtle effect. The surfaces of some of the objects can be recognised as rough cardboard or sensitively transparent cellophane, other areas are covered by gentle pastel colours. Black’s fragile works are never in a stable condition as they are threatened by persistent decay. The artist seeks to interrupt this natural process in her works, and transform them to obtain a timeless condition as close to perfection as possible. This maintained sovereignty over the art permits the artist to assess the actual condition of the work according to aesthetic criteria and, not unlike a restorer, affect precisely targeted interventions to eliminate the traces of time. Nonetheless, some sculptures have a lifespan only as long as the exhibition itself, after which they are destroyed.

The visual world of the painter Christoph Ruckhäberle is peopled by odd hard-edged figures, standing in front of coloured rhythmic backgrounds. Colourful drawings of faces recall carved masks, composed from a rich and playful vocabulary of forms. These forms, and the wealth of colours in Ruckhäberle’s works, are broken not only by skewed visual angles or perspectival inconsistencies, but also through the use of expressionist and surreal borrowings. For this exhibition, Christoph Ruckhäberle is presenting works from his most recent output. The numerous drawings of over-long, alienated, coloured faces bear witness to the artist’s delight in experimentation. The vivid colours, as well as the chiselled and schematic effect of the facial features, lend the faces a mask-like quality. The pictures evidence a freedom in the play of forms, arrangement and alteration of the proportions of the face. The distribution of sharply separated colour fields over the surface of the picture plane reveals Ruckhäberle’s affinity with the linocut, a medium with which the artist has worked for a long time.

Curator of the exhibitions: Heike Munder

A monograph on Karla Black will be published in November 2009, as a result of the collaboration between the migros museum für gegenwartskunst, Kunstverein Hamburg, Modern Art Oxford, and Inverleith House, Edinburgh.

A artist book by Christoph Ruckhäberle will be published with a text by Heike Munder and an interview with the artist in June 2009.

For visual material and further information please contact:

Sunday 17th and 31st May, 14th and 28th June, 16th August at 3pm and Thursday 4th June and 13th August at 6.30pm.

Tues / Wed / Fri Midday–6pm, Thurs Midday–8pm, Sat / Sun 11am–5pm.
Entrance to the museum is free from 5pm-8pm every Thursday.

The museum will be closed on Whit Monday 1st June. On Thursday 21st May the museum is open from 11am to 5pm.

migros museum für gegenwartskunst
Limmatstrasse 270
8005 Zürich

T. +41 44 277 20 50
F. +41 44 277 62 86


The migros museum für gegenwartskunst is an institution of the Migros Culture Percentage.

migros museum für gegenwartskunst

RSVP for Karla Black and Christoph Ruckhaberle
Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst
May 11, 2009

Thank you for your RSVP.

Migros Museum für Gegenwartskunst will be in touch.

I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.

Feel free to subscribe to additional content from the e-flux platform: