A pivotal figure of the Californian Conceptual art scene, Allen Ruppersberg (born in 1944 in Cleveland) has, since the end of the 1960s, been pursuing an atypical practice, which favors no medium in particular. The corpus of his works, which the artist describes as “scenes,” thus includes installations, performances, multiples, paintings, sculptures, drawings, books, photographs, videos, but also, as of 1969, a café and a hotel, which prefigure in part the relational aesthetic of the early 1990s.
This heterogeneity provides a glimpse of a working method, based around three main operations: the compulsive collection of popular cultural and “debased” forms (including postcards, calendars, books, comics, educational films, records, etc.); the appropriation of these forms and their displacement into art registers; and finally, from one work to another, a partial and fragmentary recycling, as in a permanent work in progress. The result is a series of combinatory plays between texts and images, in which narrative fragments, intertextuality, and reminiscence draw up a panorama of the different myths that mold a culture. Ruppersberg insists on the way in which individuals interiorize such tales, saying, “we all remain, as social beings, collections.”
Photo credit : Augusta Wood