The Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb

Program

Igor Ruf: I Like Being Here

MSU Gallery, 14 – 30 / 12 / 2018

Within the corpus of Croatian contemporary sculpture and installation, the work of the formally trained sculptor Igor Ruf has a special place. Since his student works he has been expanding the concept of sculpture and introducing a multimedia approach and innovations. For the exhibition I Like Being Here he has produced new pieces that he was working on for two years. They follow his innovative sculpting and multimedia exploration of object-oriented art and installation. Through space installation and its elements he is dealing with multidimensional and semantically diverse phenomena of space – from physical, real to personal, spiritual and imagined. All of the portrayed spaces have a semantic twist, and the space and the atmosphere engage our senses as well as our thought and imaginative processes. The work of art is not an object of our perception; it is transformed into a subject of being through duration, motion and the introduction of temporality. The exhibition is made up of several fragments that together form a narrative based on personal experience and memory, memory of places and questioning of places and urban legends. These fragments are portrayed through various media such as sculpture, installation, photography and ready made.

The half-man half-worm with an unusual and complicated name Worm Bust / He Has To Look Into Every Hole is the main protagonist of the exhibition. He goes deep into spatial and spiritual fights, he is an imaginary character but also the only representative of mankind (at least with the upper part of his unusual appearance.) He lives in the damp womb of an enclosure called It Is What It Is, which was named after Ikea’s department that sells damaged goods. The model of a worm as a substation, the photograph of the sculptures of sinners burning in hell from a late baroque church in Virovitica, the photograph of a haunted house, the chicken legs; these are all part of the repertoire that rises from the artist’s memory. There is also a carefully modeled portrayal of a room (The Room Is Without a House), which, if it were a painting, could be a part of a metaphysical art exterior. The author interprets it as a signifier of conformism, scarce but necessary to survive. The present is represented in the photographs Small Victories in which the artist documents mildew and fungi that persistently inhabit his studio. The object with the diorama of an imaginary landscape reminiscent of American vast spaces is illuminated by a lamp for indoor

plant growing. The high intensity artificial light lends this scene an unusual sharpness, an illusion of monumentality and scorching air, which makes us makes us realize just how relative the portrayal, and how manipulative the image is. But, as the artist himself says: I Like Being Here!

Igor Ruf is one of the most intriguing artists of the younger generation, with his fresh approach to dealing with the problems of sculpting and artistic phenomena. He received public attention in 2012 when he won two prestigious awards – Grand Prix at the 31st Youth Salon and the Great Prize of the 11th Triennial of Croatian Sculpture. He was awarded the Radoslav Putar Award in 2014. For his multimedia installation Hairdresser For the Hill he was presented with a special award at the 10th HT Award at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb. Igor Ruf was born in 1984 in Virovitica. He received his M.A. degree in Sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in the class of professor Gračan in 2010. He has exhibited his work in Croatia and abroad. Since 2012 he has worked at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, first as a teaching assistant and in 2018 he became an assistant professor. He is a member of the Croatian Association of Artists. He lives and works in Zagreb.

EXHIBITION CURATOR Nataša Ivančević

SUPPORTED BY City of Zagreb, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, City of Virovitica

EXHIBITION SETUP Igor Ruf, Ivan Tudek

DESIGN Petra Milički

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