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Francis Ruyter

Painting Pictures
1–13 August 2022

Francis Ruyter, Walker Evans
Walker Evans: Sharecropper Bud Fields and his family at home. Hale County, Alabama, 2010,
acrylic on canvas, 150x180cm. Photo: courtesy Bildrecht

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Hohensalzburg Fortress

Teaching language

What to bring
Art supplies of students preferred medium


Maximum number of participants

Teaching assistant
Oliver Riedel

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

What does it mean to embrace painting in the context of the global acceleration of image production? Can we do something to join, mediate, or even transform this collective gaze into something more productive than it often feels, or do we need to hold on to and treasure the private sphere of immediate experiences?

Painting Pictures refers simultaneously to the practice of using photographic source material, the painting of recognizable subject matter, and the point where the painting becomes a picture outside of its materiality.

Through object description, the student can learn how a work functions as a communication vehicle and how perception can become a world-building tool. We will look closely at the meanings behind basic, yet rich and complex painting concepts of figuration and representation. Rather than following a lecture format, the classes will be conversational. There will be ample time for studio work and individual consultations.
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). Spaces of no control, Austrian Cultural Forum, New York, NY. 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.
1986–90 School of Visual Arts, New York, NY.
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.
2001 Painting II, Columbia University, undergraduate, New York, NY.
2000 Visiting artist, Temple University Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia, PA (US).
2000 Painting II, Maryland Institute, College of Art, Baltimore (US).
1999 Advanced Painting, Cooper Union, undergraduate, New York, NY.
1999 Visiting artist, New York University, graduate, New York, NY.
1998 Visiting artist, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA (US).

Francis Ruyter
Photo: Mira Turba