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Category: Portrait 21. October 2015

Whenever we think of moving pictures, our mind-body immediately generates images, as it does with everything we think, remember or imagine. Besides this inexhaustible source of mental images our gaze is an insatiable window, a captor of images of the outer world. When we think of these words, connections form in our imaginary and involuntarily we start our mental editing.

At the Shedhalle St. Pölten Zeit Kunst Niederösterreich shows the first retrospective of the artist and filmmaker Constanze Ruhm until January 24th 2016. In her work the she focuses on architecture, real and virtual spaces, staging, power relations, and the methods of film, theatre and the fine arts. The exhibition was curated by Alexandra Schantl, presenting works from 1998 until 2015.

The architecture of the exhibition was inspired by the work coming attraction, while the spatial concept was developed in cooperation with the architect Golmar-Mina Kempinger-Khatibi. Film as a medium is combined with digital technologies by an associative and intuitive approach.

Other more complex relations are based on this approach: Film, video, and the individual and collective surrounding memories, as well as the emotional relationship we entertain with them, hold the risk to forget that our body -the producer and recipient of these images- is always present. Spaces where simultaneous images are projected that can be perceived from different angles refer to the continuity and the stream of images, but also to the obsolescence of the viewer’s standpoint. In this format, the work is activated by the spectator, who has to move to grasp a reality that, as an image, becomes an illusion of movement.

The various forms of installation in the exhibition display different methods in their practice. The structures of aesthetic universes are recontextualized, redefined and deconstructed. Heterogeneity, discontinuity, fragmentation, simultaneity, differentiation, simulation, pastiche, bricolage and the aleatory become more and more accentuated in Constanze Ruhm’s aesthetic production. Every correlation has its own language between the scriptural and the visual. The works revolve around the medium itself, around psychology, at times they become more emotional or humour is employed in order to question power structures.

Constanze Ruhm’s works are never completed or finished, but always unending. All art-ificial images are modified, obtaining their value by being processed and transformed. In this way questions regarding the auratic, personal and original of the work are brought to daylight.


The poetry of the virtual images and their non-narrative and dream-like possibilities are –beyond sense and meaning- dedicated to the duration and intensity of the experience.

The fact that the videos, even if recorded beforehand, are projected live on several screens introduces simultaneity into the field of experience. Questions like the relation between the screen and the surrounding architecture, or the interactivity between observer and image become visualized when the image is decontextualized from the usual location of viewing.

Even if the contemporary overflow of images and the simultaneity of their circulation can lead to a kind of numbness, the projections of Constanze Ruhm invite us to a more active and less contemplative approach, as if to confirm that a mediatic image is nothing static and that the reception of the work is not only a visual but also corporal phenomenon.

Constanze Ruhm, (Vienna 1965), studied visual media design with Peter Weibel, besides her artistic work she is a professor at the academy of fine arts in Vienna. (written by Cem Angeli)

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