Christoph Rütimann

Christoph Rütimann proves once again that you know what you see, but you don’t necessarily see what you know. As in his other installations and performances, in Villa Kraftstrasse 35, Eine Installation, (Villa Kraftstrasse 35, an installation, 1992) absurdity resided in the relationship of the individual elements to one another. If the continuous loop created in this exhibition were to lie on a table as a stereometric model, it would be unremarkable. One would probably only trace the line that it makes in three-quarter circles to define the six sides of an imaginary cube which simultaneously define a sphere.

The size of the first variant of this stereometric form, Die endlose Linie (The endless line, 1989), which Rütimann installed in the Shedhalle in Zurich, was based on the ceiling height there, and at 4.67 meters (ca. 15.4 feet) approximated the chaos constant of 4.669 postulated by Mitchell Feigenbaum. The diameter of the loop used in his recent installation was eight meters (ca. 26 feet) and was based on a previous installation at the Museum Schwab in Biel. That this piece fit so easily into the space in Zurich seems to call into question the universal applicability of the chaos constant.

In going through the villa that was rented for this project, again and again one came upon steel tubing that seemed to trail with great precision through the staircase, the fireplace, the green-tiled bathroom, the parquet floors, and the decorative plaster of the ceiling. In the attic it was marked by an igloolike end that was also the highest point of the imaginary cube. The pipes appeared and disappeared into holes in the wall, but one wasn’t able to follow their path. Going from floor to floor, one forgot the trail of pipe from the previous story, which could only be recaptured in memory—memory was really the only unifying power of the installation: the synthesis between the objectively measurable time-place continuum and the subjective act of perception was an intellectual act. The sensual, emotional aspects of the work required intellectual processing.

Rütimann’s work recalled Gordon Matta-Clark’s minus its sociological power. The proportions of the villa seemed relevant only in as much as they offered human proportions and reflected the time of their creation. Perhaps the home is the most elementary parameter of temporal and spatial perception. Rütimann inferred an abstract form from this found situation, thereby transforming visible reality into a chaotic microstructure that groups itself around the visible model of a macromolecule. The crystallization did not run along a straight line, but rather along the curving pipe that led the viewer back again to the starting point, implying a Kafkaesque fatality of circularity. But following this path allowed the viewer to experience perceptual transformations as the context changed.

Claudia Jolles

Translated from the German by Charles V. Miller.