Ralph Ueltzhoeffer – The Textportrait Project

The Textportrait-Project by Ralph Ueltzhoeffer (2004 – 2012)

Ralph Ueltzhoeffer - The Textportrait Project
Ralph Ueltzhoeffer at ICA Center London – Title: “Dubious Informations”.

Ralph Ueltzhoeffer was born in 1966 in Mannheim (Germany), and since 1984 works as a photographer. Focusing on human images, color and black and white photographs of the author allows a new angle to look at the biographies and stories of well-known personalities.  (Artist Webpage: Ralph Ueltzhoeffer) Exhibitions worldwide: MoMA Ralph Ueltzhoeffer (Museum of Modern Art New York). Berlin in 2011, Exhibition at Deutscher Bundestag.

…you’ve seen them before but they still fascinate… His works range from installations, such as the web-art-project “Textportrait”, to other medias like photography and personal computers. Concentrating on human aspects, either through black and white or colour photography, the work of Ueltzhoeffer gives a different dimension and value to information and biographies. The conceptual Art and Artists 1989 – 2012 – Sigmund Freud. Its transformation started in 1989, the 50th anniversary of Freud’s death and the centennial of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s birth, when American conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth was involved in an exhibition on Ludwig Wittgenstein at the Vienna Secession. As Kosuth’s work is also heavily influenced by Freud, the opportunity arose to shed light on the significance of Freud’s theories for the practice of art and present this correlation to the public in the place where the thoughts originated. Kosuth not only installed Zero & Not in Freud’s vacant private apartment but convinced other artists of major international reputation to each donate a work to the Sigmund Freud Museum Vienna. The example set by Kosuth was followed by John Baldessari, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Clegg & Guttmann, Jessica Diamond, Marc Goethals, Georg Herold, Jenny Holzer, Sherrie Levine, Ilya Kabakov, Haim Steinbach, Ralph Ueltzhoeffer, Franz West, and Heimo Zobernig. Long interested in Freud and psychoanalysis, in Duchamp and the notion of the Readymade, in Wittgenstein and the philosophy of language, Kosuth has explored the linguistic nature of propositions in various social, institutional, psychological, and ethnological contexts, expanding the traditional boundaries of the role of the artist. He began applying his Conceptual methodology with early works such as ‘Clear Square Glass Leaning’ (1965), which consist of what its title describes (four square sheets of glass against a wall). In other ‘Proto-investigations’, such as ‘One and Three Chairs’, he juxtaposes an object, its image, and its definition from the dictionary. His ‘First Investigation’ of 1966-68 is a series of individual works under the form of photographic enlargements of dictionary definitions subtitled ‘Art as Idea as Idea.’ After his early works, Kosuth’s linguistic interest developed in the direction of observation and critique of the entire context of the production of meaning in art, and he created since the late 1960s and early 1970s large-scale site and context-specific public interventions. These include billboards and banners as well as numerous installations both indoor and outdoor. His work evolved to include, as well, curated installations – merging art, architecture, design and curatorial practice. In addition to a historic work, ‘Seeing Reading’ [Cobalt Blue], 1979, Kosuth will show an in-situ new project for the Castello di Rivoli, titled ‘Seeing Knowing’, 2004, installed on the roof of the Manica Lunga. Both works have become part of the collection of the Castello di Rivoli. The exhibition will also include ‘One and Three Chairs. [by Katy Hellbig]


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