Press Release, April 2019
Danish contemporary artist Ruth Campau was born on the Isle of Mors in 1955. Today she lives and works in Copenhagen. The artist examines the fields of painting. By combining paintings on transparent or reflecting surfaces to site specific room installations, Ruth Campau creates highly immersive works of art. Colour, surface and light merge into vibrating and fascinating compositions.
The art works of Ruth Campau shine, they reflect, they cover up and they hide, while at the same time they create immersive spaciality. Sometimes intensely coloured, sometimes soft and redeemed in their pallet, they tend to ask questions: What are we actually seeing here? Why is it lying on the floor? What has it all to do with Caspar David Friedrich? You may call the artist a scientist in the field of painting.
Within her often large scaled pieces of art, she is keen to experimenting and exploring. As an example, she probes how a specific surface responds to the surrounding light. Does it absorb the light? Does it reflect it? Is it even permeable to light? Also she fathoms the possibilities of applying paint. She applies one single shade of a colour in long, parallel strokes onto the screen. What may look like an industrial product on first sight, is the outcome of an almost genius technique: Ruth Campau paints with a broom! The broom allows her to evenly fill large spaces with colour while creating the significant structure of her work. At the same time, using the broom as her painting tool, she encodes the scale of the human body into the pieces of art. The single brush- or to be more precisely broomstroke ends where Ruth Campau can’t reach out to.
Subsequent to this unusual painting process the artist splits her paintings into several panels. She then rearranges these panels in situ and thereby creates works which include the genius loci of their specific surrounding as part of the art work. Therefore her works of art are not always placed upon a wall in a tamely framed manner, but occasionally lying on the floor, crawling up a wall or hanging down from the ceiling. Some of them are (partially) walkable, others invite the beholder to immerse him- or herself in contemplation. Behind the only seemingly simplicity of the paintings, there often lies a sophisticated complexity. Just as there often lies much more behind the composed paintings of landscapes by Caspar David Friedrich than a true-to-life depiction of the landscape that surrounded the artist.
“FIELDING” is not only the name of the exhibition, it is also the name of the huge installation, which is installed in the main exhibition room of Caspar-David-Friedrich-Centre in Greifswald, Germany. Ruth Campau has covered the total floor with 19 pieces of dark mylar lanes. Each mylar lane is painted with long, rhythmically and very precise brushstrokes. A brushstroke that has been the characteristic for Campaus artistic agenda for many years. She puts the plate (in this case a soft mylar) on the floor and takes long strokes with a broom. The mylar lanes in this installation has different length, but all of them is painted with thick, impasto, black paint. The mylar is transparent and you can slightly see the brown floor underneath. The paintings and the floor melts together and reminds you of a plowed field. The viewer is not allowed to walk on the floor but only view it from a small platform by the door.
Ruth Campau says about the installation: “The CDF-Zentrum is the house where Caspar David Friedrich was born, and my solo show “FIELDING” is a contribution to Caspar David Friedrich and his romantic landscape. I will show two installations that focus on painting installed as landscapes. A site specific landscape where the viewer becomes a part of the motive. CDF often paint a person standing in a huge magnificent landscape, turning his back to the viewer. In the installation “FIELDING” I do the same – just in a contemporary and concrete way. I grew up on the isle of Mors in the northwest Denmark, and I can easily relate to the romantic landscape – I know it by heart and I can smell it. When a field is plowed it is beautiful with the stringent lines. The dark soil and the birds screaming symbolizes a new fresh beginning. The psychic state of mind you get into viewing a landscape like this is also the drive to a more sensual and spiritual connection to the world and to life in general. I hope to bring this forth in my installation “FIELDING”.” Except from the big installation Campau also shows a smaller installation and paintings.
The exhibition is being realized in association with Galerie Hartwich, Sellin, Rügen, Germany.
Opening: Saturday the 27th of April, from 18.
Exhibition period: 27th of April - 7th of July 2019.
Opening hours: June-October: Tues-sun: 11-17. November-May: Tues-sat: 11-17.