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4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life Ocula Report 4th Kochi-Muziris Biennale: Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life 15 Feb 2019 : Natalie King for Ocula

'Poems are like sentences that have taken their clothes off.' Marlene Dumas' poetic and sensual refrain accompanies her figurative watercolours on view in Possibilities for a Non-Alienated Life, the fourth edition of the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB) in the southern state of Kerala, India (12 December 2018–29 March 2019).Dumas' new series...

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Ellen Altfest Ocula Conversation Ellen Altfest

The paintings of Ellen Altfest are ethereal in their detail. Fields of minutiae come together as pulsating images; small brushstrokes of oil paint accumulate over a series of months to single out seemingly innocuous subjects, such as a hand resting atop patterned fabric (The Hand, 2011) or a deep green cactus reaching upwards from beneath a bed of...

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Colomboscope 2019: Cross Currents and Dissonance Ocula Report Colomboscope 2019: Cross Currents and Dissonance 8 Feb 2019 : Nada Raza for Ocula

On the rooftop of the former Rio Hotel complex in Colombo, it was hard to ignore the high-rise buildings, still under construction, blocking all but a sliver of what used to be an open view over Slave Island, once an island on Beira Lake that housed slaves in the 19th century, and now a downtown suburb. The hotel was set alight during the...

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Ruth Buchanan

b. 1980, New Zealand

New Zealand artist Ruth Buchanan recognises the exhibition spaces in which she presents her work as powerful systems of social organisation. Firmly rooted in institutional critique, her works interrogate the spatial dynamics of exhibitions through prints, texts, collections of objects, sculptures, films, performances and audio. Her works exist as standalone art objects and also as placeholders or ciphers within extensively researched and codified systems of relationships.

Arising from an interest in the visual language within objects and their particular contexts, Buchanan's works response to the physical or conceptual spaces they occupy. For the work Cast a light across it (2012)—part of her 2012 exhibition Put a curve, an arch right through it at Krome Gallery in Berlin—Buchanan hung a chiffon curtain adjacent to the main window in the gallery space, thus diminishing the natural light source. Another work in the show, Ostensibility (2010) comprised a pair of dark blue coated MDF panels that resembled large tabletops, propped on their sides at an oblique angle. With its durable surface and powder-coated steel legs, the whole piece contained a strong visual reference to institutional furniture. The title seems reflexive, as if Buchanan is challenging or casting doubt on her own methodology. In each of the works, the interplay or gap between what is named and what is seen is emphasised.

Another feature of public exhibition space came under scrutiny in The weather, a building, Buchanan's 2011 project for Tate Modern Live: Push and Pull. For the project, groups of visitors were equipped with iPods loaded with an audio guide narrated by Buchanan herself. The groups' movement around the gallery then became a performative act, making them the focus of attention as their gaze in turn was directed toward specific, normally overlooked, features of the building and to the other visitors. This performative aspect was further signalled by strategic muster points in the exhibition spaces, including balconies looking outside the building, designated chairs on which visitors were to sit, and a platform overlooking the concourse. In various locations, white posters bore texts—'[ Entrance . exposition . characters . ]', or '[ inciting force . rising action . a room . some movements . lights or lighting. ]'—that were specifically related to the guide. The piece acted as a satire of the often prescriptive way that institutions encourage particular responses from the public.

For Never Not a Body, her 2016 exhibition at Hopkinson Mossman in Auckland, Buchanan presented a series of works that derived from the conceptual notion of a 'body'. The artist used Kathy Acker's 1992 essay 'Against Ordinary Language: The Language of the Body' as a starting-point to the investigation. One work in the show, titled Brain Building Body (2015), comprised a set of mind-maps deriving from the three titular words and outlining thought-associations between them, printed on geo-mesh screens suspended like banners across the room. A video in the show, 24Hr Body (2016), featured a looped text in which the word 'body' and measurement values such as minutes and percentages were continually superimposed.

Buchanan graduated with a BFA from Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland, in 2002 and received her MA (Fine Art) at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, in 2007. From 2008-9, she was a researcher in fine art at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht. Recent projects include works co-commissioned in 2015 by the Institute of Modern Art Brisbane and Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe, in co-operation with Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof, Hamburg. She has had solo presentations at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2014); Grazer Kunstverein (2011); Casco Art Institute, Utrecht (2010); and The Showroom, London (2009). Buchanan has realised performances in numerous contexts including Tate Modern, London; Kunsthaus Bregenz; Frascati Theatre, Amsterdam; and the Rietveld Schröder House, Utrecht.

Buchanan currently lives and works in Berlin.

Michael Crooks | Ocula | 2018
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Featured Artworks

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Split, Splits, Splitting by Ruth Buchanan contemporary artwork Ruth BuchananSplit, Splits, Splitting, 2016/2018 aluminium chains, custom hanging device 
installation dimensions variable
Hopkinson Mossman
Staunch by Ruth Buchanan contemporary artwork Ruth BuchananStaunch, 2016 Hand latch-hooked rug, powder coated steel table
60 x 90 x 90 cm
Hopkinson Mossman
Can tame anything, tables, tables, doors, blinds, bodies by Ruth Buchanan contemporary artwork Ruth BuchananCan tame anything, tables, tables, doors, blinds, bodies, 2016 Hand latch-hooked rug, powder coated steel table
90 x 90 x 120 cm
Hopkinson Mossman
24Hr Body by Ruth Buchanan contemporary artwork Ruth Buchanan24Hr Body, 2016 HD 1080p24, 16:9, colour/no sound, 38'41" loop
Hopkinson Mossman
Brain Building Body by Ruth Buchanan contemporary artwork Ruth BuchananBrain Building Body, 2015 Wind resistant geo-mesh, rope, suspension connections, alu-pole, outdoor spray paint coated steel
240 x 339.3 cm
Hopkinson Mossman
Screen: 1, Screen: 2, Screen: 3 by Ruth Buchanan contemporary artwork Ruth BuchananScreen: 1, Screen: 2, Screen: 3, 2014 Powder coated steel, framed watercolours, framed photograph, framed screenprints
Hopkinson Mossman
Normal Desires by Ruth Buchanan contemporary artwork Ruth BuchananNormal Desires, 2007 C-type photographic print on dibond, frame
168 x 118 cm
Hopkinson Mossman

Recent Exhibitions

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Contemporary art exhibition, Anoushka Akel, Ruth Buchanan, Meg Porteous, Tilt at Hopkinson Mossman, Wellington
16 August–15 September 2018 Anoushka Akel, Ruth Buchanan, Meg Porteous Tilt Hopkinson Mossman, Wellington
Contemporary art exhibition, Ruth Buchanan, Never Not a Body at Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland
7 October–5 November 2016 Ruth Buchanan Never Not a Body Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland
Contemporary art exhibition, Ruth Buchanan/ Ayse Erkmen, Ruth Buchanan/ Ayse Erkmen at Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland
5 July–2 August 2014 Ruth Buchanan/ Ayse Erkmen Ruth Buchanan/ Ayse Erkmen Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland

Represented By

In Related Press

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Artist Ruth Buchanan wins 2018 Walters Prize Related Press Artist Ruth Buchanan wins 2018 Walters Prize The New Zealand Herald : 2 November 2018

Ruth Buchanan has won the 2018 Walters Prize for her work BAD VISUAL SYSTEMS.

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Artist Ruth Buchanan's Walters Prize nomination well overdue Related Press Artist Ruth Buchanan's Walters Prize nomination well overdue Metro Magazine : 8 August 2018

The nomination of Ruth Buchanan for this year's Walters Prize — New Zealand's premier art award — was overdue. For the past 15 years, the Berlin-based New Zealander has been making outstanding work in her various homes: New York, Rotterdam (where she studied at the prestigious Piet Zwart Institute), Maastricht and in the German...

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Walters Prize nominees announced Related Press Walters Prize nominees announced The New Zealand Herald : 22 March 2018

When Pati Solomona Tyrell told his parents he was gay, his mother advised him to make a name for himself and show the world he would be a success.This week, Aotea reminded her young artist son of her words when he called his parents to say he'd been nominated for the Walters Prize.

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Gwangju Biennale art festival to open next week Related Press Gwangju Biennale art festival to open next week The Korea Times : 30 August 2016

The opening ceremony of the 2016 Gwangju Biennale, Asia's oldest contemporary art biennale, is set to kick off in the southwest city of Gwangju next week, the festival's foundation said Friday.During the ceremony, set to start at the plaza in front of the Gwangju Biennale Exhibition Halo at 6:40 p.m. Thursday, Park Yang-woo, chief of...

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