Vito Schnabel Gallery is pleased to present MIX PIZ, an exhibition of new work by Sterling Ruby. The title brings together two aspects of the show: “mix,” representing the mixture of mediums Ruby assembled for the space—bronze, mobile, collage, painting, and ceramic—and “Piz,” which means “peak” in Romansh, one of the official languages of Switzerland spoken in the Engadin region. “Piz” is a common prefix to the names of many Swiss mountains in the area.
Friedrich Nietzsche first developed his idea of the eternal return while on long meandering hikes in the Engadin. While installing his STOVES exhibition last year in St. Moritz, Ruby began reflecting on the intellectual history and the landscape of this region, and it became a catalyst in the creation of his own idyllic vernacular and symbolism. A free association connects hiking in the region to the motions of the planets to the eternal recurrence, across distinct bodies of work in a wide range of materials - from collage to ceramics.
The large bronze Modern Hiker and the jagged stalagmites that line the edges of the DRFTRS collages echo the Engadin’s mountain peaks. MOONRISE/MOONSET, with its silvery nitrate patina, is comprised of two circular moonlike shapes, stacked one on top of the other. The bright yellow round ceramics suggest the sun. A visceral red painting conjures to mind a blood moon. Its title, HALF TETRAD, refers to the astronomical phenomenon of a tetrad-- a set of four total lunar eclipses within two years which have been associated with prophecies of the apocalypse.
This exhibition is the second solo show of Ruby’s work presented by Vito Schnabel Gallery. The first, STOVES, was an installation of two of Ruby’s large-scale functioning wood-burning stoves, each measuring 14 to 17 feet in height, set in a garden across from the gallery at the Kulm Hotel from December 2015 – March 2016. Ruby’s work was also recently included in the group exhibition at Vito Schnabel Gallery curated by Bob Colacello, titled The Age of Ambiguity: Abstract Figuration / Figurative Abstraction.
Sterling Ruby is known for his use of a wide range of aesthetic and material strategies, from sculptures made of saturated, glossy, poured polyurethane, bronze and steel, to drawings, collages, richly glazed ceramics, spray-paint paintings, photography and video, as well as textile works that include quilts, tapestries and large stuffed soft sculptures.
Ruby has exhibited at institutions including the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Drawing Center, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature, Paris, France; FRAC Champagne-Ardenne, Reims, France, Centre d’Art Contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland; and Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden and Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome, Italy; Garage Centre for Contemporary Culture, Moscow and MACRO, Rome. In 2014, Ruby exhibited at the Taipei Biennial, the Gwangju Biennial, and the Whitney Biennial. His work was included in the biennial MADE IN L.A. 2016 at the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, and he was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Winterpalais, Belvedere Museum, Vienna, Austria in 2016. The Geffen Contemporary at MOCA will present the recently acquired SOFT WORK installation in April 2017.