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Kurt Ryslavy (born in Graz, Austria on March 6, 1961) is an Austrian painter, conceptual artist and poet who lives and works in Brussels. He has invented the ‘bourgeoise travesty’ as an artistic expression[1] . He produces non-fictional juridic documents within different media. His image-findings/creations combined with writings go beyond taboos of art and society. His preferred media are text, video, installation, performance, sculpture, painting and exhibition-concepts.

Life and work[edit]

In 1979 Kurt Ryslavy began his studies at the University of Vienna (philosophy) and at the University for Applied Arts Vienna. Amongst his teachers were Herbert Hrachovec and Oswald Oberhuber. He dropped out of both programs.

In 1981 he moved to Salzburg, where he worked on texts, collages and aquarelles, in combination with photography. That same year he went back to Vienna and met the artist Franz West. There he showed the results of the work done in Salzburg. In 1983 he chose two working places – Boissano (Moratfoundation Liguria, Italy) and Judendorf-Strassengel (Styria, Austria) – where he worked alternatively. In Vienna he founded the ‘Eintagsfliegenorgan’, a working and exhibiting-cooperative with Thomas Angerer.

Between 1981 and 1986 he spent every summer in an abandoned mountain pasture in Dachstein, Austria[1] , which was only accessible by small and dangerous footpaths., where hundreds of drawings, works on paper and texts were created. The Antiquariat Wögenstein, Vienna, Austria showed part of this series. Heike Curtze Gallery Vienna Austria showed work from Liguria, and Dieter Roth turned out to be one of the first collectors purchasing works by Ryslavy.

In 1987 he moved to Brussels, to become a writer. His books were edited in cooperation with editors in Bremen, Berlin (Germany) and Ghent (Belgium). Several stays for production in these towns included: ‘Vierzeiler’ (1986), ‘Yes, Ja-passende Texte’ (1987), ‘Kurze Geschichten von vorne nach hinten’ (1988), ‘Les formes de complexit’ moyenne attirent notre attention’ (1989), ‘One fucking Move’ (1989).

Two years later, in 1989, his work began to transform structurally: a ‘blind tasting’ that was part of a solo exhibition in Ghent turned out a thought-provoking experiment[2] . As a consequence of the acquisition of real estate in 1990 and as a reaction to the Gulf War, Ryslavy founded a ‘respectable living as a wine merchant’ in 1991[3]; without abandoning his work on installations and contextual works concerned with the phenomena of perception. At the end of 1992, a one-man show –introduced by the famous comic actor Gerhard Polt– at the Vienna Secession building (Main room and Ver Sacrum room) showed work from this period. The uniqueness of the concept for a show of its kind attracted a mass audience unknown for the Secession.

In 1993, while teaching at Marmara University in Istanbul (Turkey), he held a series of exhibitions in five towns around Turkey for a public (Islam) beyond occidental perception of contemporary western art. In 1994 he uses a similar exhibition-concept in Alto Adige (zone of three languages in the South Tyrol region), as ‘Clash of cultural Matter-of-factness’ (entrance exclusively reserved for patrons of the Red Cross).

In 1994 he creates the video ‘Sonntagsmaler’ (sunday painter, peintre du dimanche) and the installation with the same title.

In 1995, the first ‘factures décoratives’[1] (decorative bills) appear – wine bills from his work as a professional wine dealer, painted in oil on canvas. Through this work that integrates parts of society beyond the art world, he formulates cynical commentary on the ‘truth of art’. At the same time he began the series ‘le monochrome avec son arrière-plan économique’ (The monochrome and its economical background) – paintings of bills, resulting from actual wine sales to befriended artists such as Markus Oehlen, Georg Herold, Tobias Rehberger, Franz West, Dora García, Pierre Bismuth, Heimo Zobernig, amongst others.

In 1997 he showed the ‘Verkaufswerke’ (1992-2003) within the show ‘Sculpture. Projects Münster 97’ (Münster, Germany). The biggest ‘Verkaufswerk’ in a public space, on the marketplace of Münster; is a contemporary Mercedes van. Inside is a stone sculpture by Georg Herold ‘for sale’. Through the front-window you can see a certificate of authenticity. Other ‘Verkaufswerke’ exposed at the Westfälisches Landesmuseum (Münster, Germany) contain original works by Martin Kippenberger, Franz West, Dieter Roth, Hans Richter, Cora Pongracz, Hermann Nitsch, Al Hansen, etc.

The Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels shows an installation, that is explicitly opened to different publics, such as professionals from the wine world, gastronomy etc. and the conventional art-public; at different times of the day.

In 2000, a show in Ghent is dedicated – in cooperation with famous art-collectors – to the phenomena of ‘artists working for a living in Belgium’ in a slightly provocative and humiliating manner. Another show in the Landesmuseum in Graz calls for ‘Ungehorsam gegen Kuratoren / Désobéissance au Curateurs’ in 2001.

Kurt Ryslavy's oeuvre refers to movements like Dada, Fluxus and Wiener Aktionismus (Viennese Actionism). He continuously fights traditional ways of interpreting art and questions established concepts of art and art history.

By messing with social classes in his own specific way, he has found a genuine artistic expression. His means are provocation and sarcasm in combination with intriguing sensuality. His preferred themes are social values in relation to conditions of free artistic expression. Ryslavy works in sculpture, painting, performance, installation, photography, video, artists' books, posters, catalogues, invitation cards -often representing a subjective activism.

Solo shows[edit]

ets. d’enface Bruxelles (B) « vendre » (Projekt)
Aliceday Bruxelles (B) « Sponsor curated by Luk Lambrecht »
Musée de Mariemont (B) « ceci est l’artiste contemporain ou bazaar & belles lettres»
Le Commissariat Paris (F) « seule dans l’art troublée»
Galerie Konzett Wien (A) « Judendorf-Strassengel » (Projekt)

Villa Mayer-Rieckh/ Haus Frey Graz (A) « Das Ende des Panischen Produzierens »
Museum Admont (A) « Die Schriftruinen-Bilder »
Verschueren Brüssel (B) « mise en machine »
Brasserie Latem Sint Martens-Latem (B) « if you don’t give a shit on art market values, then show your work in a restaurant, but try to convince the waiters to paint in your place »

Le Bonheur, Epicerie Audiovisuelle Bruxelles (B) « material & objective »
Komplot Brüssel (B) « The Inner-Directed Artist » (Publikation)
Eisengraberamt p.p. (A) « I Love the Propertied Classes»
CCNOA Brüssel (B) « Alles was minimal ist » (Publikation)
MAK Geymüllerschlössl Wien (A) « Wiener Aktionismus today – falling asleep at my Brussels office desk  » (Publikation)

MAK Design Wien (A) « Ästhetisch & Pflegeleicht, Auflagenobjekte »

Bureau du Port Bruxelles (B) « The London-Galleries Therapy » (Publikation)

Richard Foncke Gallery Ghent (B) « any plans for sunday ? » (Publikation)

Museum Admont (A) « built-ins » (Publikation)

Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum Graz (A) « Ungehorsam gegen Kuratoren » (Publikation)

Richard Foncke Gallery Ghent (B) « A lucky Man – A lucky Artist » (Video)
Kunst.Halle.Krems (A) « Fucking Homely » (Publikation)

Kunsthalle Lophem Brugge (B) "Tischdecken, bitte!" (Publikation)
Galerie Artelier Graz (A)

1997 Palais des Beaux Arts Bruxelles (B) "Verkaufswerk N° 18"
Off-Programm Skulptur Projekte Münster 97 (D) « Königstrasse 42 – Vino Classico »
Forum Stadtpark Graz (A) steirischer herbst "Rituelle Objekte/ objets rituels"

1996 Kunst+Projekte e.V. Stadtmuseum Sindelfingen (D) "Degustation" (Publikation)
European Parliament Brüssels (B) "expatriate"

1995 Atelier Brüssel (B) « Anamorphosen heimatlicher Landschaften in der Abenddämmerung mancher Arbeitstage im Ausland  »
Richard Foncke Gallery Gent (B) "Een andere kijk" (Publikation)
Galerie des Beaux Arts, Marie-Puck Broodthaers Bruxelles (B) "Invitation"

Lia Mostra d'Ert Urtijei/ Bolzano (I) "Charity (Arte moderna, fe damat, Kunscht)
Weingut Nittnaus Gols (A) "Ryslavy 1986, ein grosser Jahrgang"

Wiener Secession Hauptraum Wien (A) "Akustikbezogene Rauminstallation (Es sprich! Gerhard Polt)" (Publikation)
Wiener Secession Ver-Sacrum-Raum Wien (A) "Angewandte Kunst, Paradebeispiel
Des modernen Verstehens (Es spricht Adolf Krischanitz)" (Publikation)
Wiener Secession Ver-Sacrum-Raum Wien (A) "Ryslavy-Symposion" (Publikation)
Galerie Knoll Wien (A) "Avantgarde verpflichtet"
Marmara Üniversitesi Istanbul (TR) "Su" (Publikation)
Devlet Sanat Galerist Edirne (TR) "Su" (Publikation)
St. Georgs Koleji Istanbul (TR) "Su" (Publikation)
Devlet Güzelsanatlar Galerisi Bursa (TR) "Su" (Publikation)
Devlet Galerisi Balikesir (TR) "Su" (Publikation)

Galerie Stadtpark Krems (A) "Der Postraum" (Publikation)
Richard Foncke Gallery Gent (B) "Deze man stelt tentoon" (Publikation)
Wogenstein Wien (A) "Vorraum" (Publikation)

Herning Kunstmuseum Herning (DK) "Lotlos + Triebtrip" (Publikation)
Galleri Hoegsberg Aarhus (DK) "to fejltagelser og tre konkrete sofastykker"
Galerie Stadtpark Krems (A) "Provokationen der Wahrnehmung" (Vor trag Dr. Pauser)

Ausstellungsraum 1020 Wien (A) "Ryslavy/ Get Lost" (Publikation)
Hanakmuseum Langenzersdorf (A) "Wie zusammenhanglos" (Publikation)

Galerie Christine + Isy Brachot Bruxelles (B) "Des formes de complexite moyenne
attirent notre attention" (Publikation)
Galerie Sophia Ungers Köln (D) "Umsonst, wie so manche 'Wandaktie*.."
Richard Foncke Gallery Gent (B) "Venture+Amok/ 256 Porträts+Peinture" (Publikation) Copyright Gent (B) "denken is modern" (Publikation)

Galerie Kahle-Point Hamburg (D) "Exposition Hambourgeoise/ Bilder" (Publikation)

Galerie Bismarck Bremen (D) "Bilder und Buch" (Publikation)

Galerie Bismarck Bremen (D) "Ausgewählte Arbeiten (Mit Brille)/ Symmetrische Bilder 1985" (Publikation)
Galerie Heike Curtze Wien (A) "Verstudien Ryslavy - zu der Symmetrie" (Publikation)

Peter Bloch Galerie Innbruck (A) "BIETET - TETEIB"
Wogenstein Wien (A) "Verstudien Ryslavy - zu der Symmetrie" (Publikation)
Altes Rathaus Langenzersdorf (A) "Atelierausstellung" (Fortsetzung)

Hanakmuseum Langenzersdorf (A) "Ölgemälde" (Publikation)
Warteraum Bahnhof Langenzersdorf (A) "Promotion-cocktail"

Galerie Heike Curtze Wien (A)
Galerie Schloss Rosenberg Zell am See (A)

Forum Stadtpark Graz (A) "Wer sind wir/ Ruhet sanft/ Erwachsenenbildung"
Wogenstein Wien (A) "Almaquarelle"

Galerie KHG Wien (A) "Mann/ Leib/ Geist/ Strauch/ Wald/ Rand/ Gott/ Vormund/Wurm/ Bosewicht/ Irrtum/ Reichtum" (Publikation)
Shell Austria AG Wien (A)

Galerie Depot 35 Graz (A) "Bilder"


  1. ^ a b c ‘L'œuvre au rouge’, Le Vif Express, 2009
  2. ^ ‘In vino veritas’, L'art même, 2009
  3. ^ ‘Der Artist als Weinhandler’, A la carte, 2009

External links[edit]

Category:Articles created via the Article Wizard Category:Austrian contemporary artists