We are pleased to present the exhibition Ears to the Ground, our first by the German artist Ralph Schuster.
Schuster often works with media such as crayons on wood or MDF, unpretentious means, in order to create a visual world nourished by the everyday and with a view towards the simultaneous absurdity and normality of the customary. His mostly small-scale paintings move between surreally suggested space, thought experiment, abstract alienation, and hypothetical reality.
Schuster develops his work through the various media of painting, film, and sculpture.
Much like a pathfinder putting their ear to the ground in order to hear what will soon become visible, the exhibition Ears to the Ground opens doors onto a sensitive perception of the polyphony of the world.
There, the soul can linger in a landscape of its choosing and cast a sweeping, unimpeded glance across the forms of its own entanglement with pop-culturally charged everyday objects and figures. Ralph Schuster’s objects and images eventually open up a view onto an experienced yet open reality which is devoted to the possible.
Though certain inclinations towards painting may echo throughout his work, they are often rerouted towards drawing during the process of their development.
Ralph Schuster’s objects and images follow their own logic, an “inner concept,” which feels out forms for the contents and meanings that reside within them. In an atmosphere of billowing colors and through his intelligent repurposing of forms, an autonomous kind of artistic thought unfolds, which allows itself to be questioned without resistance.
Ralph Schuster is aware of how difficult it may be to make sense of his artistic enterprise as a whole. He thus avoids programmatic, strategic, or spontaneous answers when asked about his artistic work. Instead, he’s much more the kind of person who poses questions in an artistic form, and when he engages in a conversation, he often poses counter-questions where possible or answers with an abstraction or image — in order to show, for example, how an artistic work can be opened and closed like a book, not just with respect to its reception, but also in terms of its production.
Marietta Franke, January 2017
Ralph Schuster (b. 1982 in Freiburg) lives and works in Cologne. From 2007 – 2013, he studied with Walter Dahn and Hartmut Neumann at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste in Braunschweig.
Since 2015, Schuster has been working in a studio at the Kölnischer Kunstverein as part of their studio grant program.
His works have recently been exhibited in group and solo presentations at the Kunsthalle Recklinghausen (2016); the Sammlung Philara, Düsseldorf (2014); the Bonner Kunstverein (2010); Sprüth Magers, Berlin (2013); and at MAI 36 Galerie, Zürich (2010).
In April 2017, Schuster will make a solo presentation at the Art Cologne as part of the New Positions program.