Artist: Sterling Ruby
Title: Vampire 101 Year: 2013
Medium: Fabric and fiber fill
Dimensions: 213.4 x 114.3 x 10.2 cm
Sterling Ruby, a multidisciplinary artist who makes urethane and bronze sculptures, hallucinatory color-field canvases, and handmade ceramics, addresses the conflict between individual desire and social structure, and the influence of institutional architecture, both literal and figurative, on human behavior and psychology. In 2011 Ruby presented “Vampire,” an exhibition that explored the vampire as an archetypal seductive predator, standing in for the uncontrollable and insatiable drives that inform the darker aspects of human behavior, particularly that of Americans.
American, b. 1972, Bitburg, German, based in Los Angeles, California
The rise of Chinese contemporary art has been realized through the movements of culture and society. Art’s function has been sought, considered, and reconsidered from within the oppression of social structures. In China, art as narrative has become a major approach for many artists.
Against this backdrop, America’s stellar young artist, Sterling Ruby, brings his ideas and creations of extreme, society-concerned art to our field of vision; his pure-form art provides us with a fresh perspective on art that is socially conscious. We live in a society, in a world, of fast-paced development. In the spread of greed and the resulting chaos, conflicts, and anxieties we’ve all encountered, there is an unprecedented opportunity for both the East and West to foster communication and together create a new artistic world. Sterling Ruby reveals this to us in Vampire.
Los Angeles-based artist Sterling Ruby’s interdisciplinary practice channels the conflicts between individual impulses and mechanisms of social control, American domination and decline, an engagement with irrationality and dysfunctional psychology, and its end result in upheaval. Ruby’s works act as formally charged markers and allegories for the burdens that plague contemporary existence. Entitled ‘EXHM’, the artist’s abbreviation for ‘exhumation’, Ruby’s debut exhibition with Hauser & Wirth presents an installation of new ceramics, collages, fabric and urethane sculptures.
The works in ‘EXHM’ are acts of autobiographical, art historical and social archaeology. Ruby has turned inward, treating his studio as an excavation site where discarded, buried and collected artworks and materials are dug up and reanimated. These new series highlight Ruby’s continued subversion of both material and content. They reveal a therapeutic process that embodies a site between creative utility and futility through the recycling of studio ephemera and misfired ceramic works.
Ruby’s soft sculptural works will hang from the ceiling of the North Gallery, falling down into a pile on the floor. Ruby’s gaping vampire mouths line the walls; single pillowy droplets of blood cling to each fanged tooth. Ruby’s soft works take objects of comfort, such as blankets and quilts, and mould them into threatening forms, which are at once aggressive and playfully cartoonish.