Los Angeles

Allen Ruppersberg

Butler Gallery

Eugenia Butler has re-established herself in her own gallery and has opened with the first one-man exhibition of Allen Ruppersberg. Ruppersberg reorders natural forms by reducing and rearranging them. The sparsely installed exhibition consisted of six pieces exhibited in the gallery, and Location Piece, a large construction built and exhibited in a tacky Sunset Boulevard office building several miles from the gallery.

In the gallery, the most arresting work, Floor Piece, consists of four low muslin-covered boxes about two feet square and eight inches high on which are arrayed a single round grey stone about the size of a human head, a small pile of dried sycamore leaves, four smaller, brownish stones arranged in a square and a small pile of grey beach pebbles. Ruppersberg’s use of such material placed on the rectilinear boxes is neither a satire on Minimal art, nor found objects used for Duchampian purposes. These four small groups seem rather like a limited catalog of natural shapes, isolated and preserved, but left untampered with or unimproved upon.

Location Piece, a U-shaped construction twelve feet square and covered with spotless muslin, nearly fills the shabby office in which it was built. It is an hieratic structure, a combination of two orders, natural and geometric, yet the simple organic objects, a few leaves, several stones and a severed deer’s head, dominate their container, which serves as an environment organized to align one’s approach to the objects and to heighten the experience of those objects. The deer head centrally positioned within the chamber becomes a cult object, and ex-voto to the forces of nature, an experience intensified by its being placed behind a sheet of glass, a gesture which both adds to its preciousness and heightens its obscurity.

Ruppersberg is more romantic than conceptual. His passionate feelings for natural objects of the most-simple sort dominate the modernist minimal esthetic into which he invites them.

Thomas H. Garver