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Francis Ruyter

Polymorphous Magical Substance
31 July–12 August 2023

Francis Ruyter,Middle of Nowhere, 2011, Acrylic on Canvas, 240 x 350 cm.

Sold out!


Hohensalzburg Fortress

Teaching language

What to bring
Art supplies of students preferred medium


Maximum  number of participants

Nino Svireli

Participation fee
€ 640,– (reduced € 480,–)

Colour moves faster than theory – from natural objects (pigments from the earth) to pure fabrication, back to just the light of the computer screen. Colour is tied to physicality, to material nature, even though it has no material nature of its own. Colour is a challenge to the status quo. There are traces of colour in history, but for the most part, the colour tends to escape, leaving only whatever it had been temporarily tied to. Colour seems to remain potentially trauma-inducing. It is preverbal, which hints at a potential of universality. However, the same use of colour can carry significantly different cultural interpretations. This course is a chance to experiment with your relationship to colour in your work, whether studying colour mixing and theory or a process of unlearning and making way for your intuition.

The title of this colour workshop is a chapter from Michael Taussig’s What Color Is the Sacred? Our days in the course will start with group discussions and sharing experiences and experiments with colour. Afterwards, there will be ample time for collaborative colour experiments, studio work and individual consultations. We occupy the painting room. However, students working in all media are encouraged to apply.

Francis Ruyter was born in Washington DC (US) in 1968. He works with issues of style and recognition behind image-making and connects this activity to social and technological forces driving contemporary experience and historical archiving.

The work he is best known for takes the form of very recognisable painting strategy indexed to photographic sources, using smooth and flat application of unmodulated colour, restrained within a framework drawing consisting of uniformly applied black lines. While it is often described as a ‘signature style,’ he prefers to think of it as a representation of a medium, perhaps somewhere between painting and photography.

In 2008, he began replacing his own photographic source material with the Library of Congress’ FSA/OWI archive of depression-era photographs, conceptually locating ‘the archive’ as subject matter, in place of depicting images sourced from his own lived experience.

Collaborative work with other artists has always been a high priority and an essential part of Ruyter’s artistic practice. He currently lives in Vienna, where he has produced more than 30 exhibitions of other artists’ work since opening Galerie Lisa Ruyter there in 2003.

Solo exhibitions
2020 Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Neuer Kunstverein Wien, Vienna. 2018 Hurricane/Time/Image, FRANZ JOSEFS KAI 3, Vienna. Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Galeria Senda, Barcelona (ES). 2015 Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Eleven Rivington, New York, NY (US). 2012 Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, CONNERSMITH, Washington DC. 2012 Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Alan Cristea Gallery, London

Group exhibitions
2020 God in reverse: When wisdom defies capture, The Richmond Art Galery, Richmond BC, CA (US). Spaces of no control, Austrian Cultural Forum, New York, NY (US). 2018 History in the Making, Alan Cristea Gallery, London. 2017 Publishing as an artistic toolbox, Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna. 2013 Collezione Maramotti, Painting as a Radical Form, Reggio Emilia, Italy

1991–92 Graduate Fine Arts Program, Hunter College, New York, NY (US)
1986–90 School of Visual Arts, New York, NY (US)
1982–86 MCPS Art Center, Maryland (US). Teaching Current Figurative Painting, The Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, guest professor
2014 Visiting artist, Temple University Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA (US)
2011–12 Expanded Pictorial Space, The Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna, guest professor
2002 Advanced Painting, Cooper Union, undergraduate, New York, NY (US)
2001 Painting II, Columbia University, undergraduate, New York, NY (US)
2000 Visiting artist, Temple University Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA (US)
2000 Painting II, Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore, MD (US)
1999 Advanced Painting, Cooper Union, undergraduate, New York, NY (US)
1999 Visiting artist, New York University, graduate, New York, NY (US)
1998 Visiting artist, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA (US)