By Jessica Martino
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Whenever I get the chance to cut some time for myself I think about the effect that beauty and art have on our lives. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world made of differences and conflicts, but I don’t see just that. I see that modern technologies such as internet and social networks are giving us many chances: distances are shortened, everything is close to everything. Nothing is far the way it used to be. The discovery is no longer something tiring: mountains to climb, ship trips on stormy nights, miles to go. The chance to discover something new is right behind the corner depending on your fingertips, the time of a click. The new discovery is right on the otherside of the screen.
So one day, I found myself scrolling through instagram photos and run into a hypnotic canvas: one wave over the other made of brush strokes on brush strokes, color on color.
A canvas, a static support; painting, a technique that creates a fixed image… Yet those waves moved.
One click and I dropped into the virtual exhibition of the Austriac artist Christian Ruckerbauer, his works, his world.
If that one canvas had hypnotized me, his gallery literally dragged me into a vortex. Sea, waves, still and always waves, stroke on strokes, contrast of colors, blended together, like so many dancers who interpreted a single choreography: neatly and accurately, the colors dance to interpret the ballad of perfect chaos.
Not only waves, subjects that seem to be so close to his heart, but also abstract paintings, in which his trait is always recognizable. At first glance one might think that his trademark is precisely the waves, and instead it is not. His distinctive feature is the technique of laying out the color, that perfect overlap.
I asked him for an interview, because I wanted to know more about him, about his art, and then share it with you. Because certain discoveries should not be kept hidden and secret: art is beauty and beauty must be spread throughout the world.
Interview with Christian Ruckerbauer:
«First of all, Christian, tell me about yourself.
When did you realize you had a special inclination for art, in this case painting… In short, do you rememberwhen you took a brush in your hand for the first time and the “magic” happend?
Tell me about you.»
«It all started at the age of 7, in primary school, when my teacher told me how to paint a bird in a tree and I knew she was wrong, trying to force me to follow a stereotype she had learned somewhere. I had a very conductive enviroment in my parents house, surrounded by artbooks and a father who was a teacher and an amateur painter who tried to improve his talent by taking correspondence courses in drawing at a Paris art school, which was very unusual for an Austrian teacher in a small secondary school, in the middle of nowhere. He mostly did copies of paintings by Van Gogh and Derain, but I remember that my siblings and I had to sit still as his models for drawing from nature.
I started painting in oils at 13, when my father gave me his brushes and oil colors and later on I always had some friends and art teachers in school who encouraged my talent.»
«Why exactly the WAVES, subjects that you seem to love very much since they are the most recurrent on your canvases?»
«During my studies of Visuelle Gestaltung at todays Kunstuniversität Linz and my years as an assistant and curator in an art gallery in Linz and Cologne, I met some of the most interesting and inspiring contemporary Austrian Artists. After that time, I retourned to the beautiful Upperaustrian Mühlviertel and started making a living as a teacher of arts in a higher-level vocational school. Painting with Acrylic Colors and drawing were always good companions since then. I loved the sea since i catched a glimpse of it, staring at the tiny square of most fascinating blue between two hotels when arriving at Lignano as a small child for the first time on holyday with my family! Since I am adult, I tried to go to the sea at least once a year if possible! Waves are very fascinating for me, they are rising from the ocean, moving around playfully and individually and falling back after a while into their source. A powerful metaphor for our personal life as humans. I love to swim in the warm lively water, being moved around and caressed by the waves, feeling one with nature. I also know and I am facinated by the more powerful and even dangerous sides of water, surviving some serious accidents (at the age of 13, I was nearly drowning when I got stuck in a floodgate of a river and was reanimated after I was already clinically dead). I started painting waves, when my wifes sister wanted me to paint a blue painting for her. After I finished it, it looked a little like waves. After that, I tried to do a painting looking even more like waves. So it started very naturally in 2015 with a present. I never did studies of waves, it all comes from inside. I feel like a wave and my brushes flow like waves over the canvas. That is all what it is about. Expressing what is inside me.»
«Oh, Lignano, in Italy! What a great news discover that your passion with the sea was born in Italy! Tell me about your technique. I saw a video of a few seconds, a precious moment: you, who with a twist of the arm, a gesture that lasts a moment, create with a perfect brush stroke, the perfect wave.»
«Just taking the colors I love, very creamy, and move like my feelings guide me. Putting the painting aside if it is not finished and taking it again after some time (days, weeks, moths). I always paint on some paintings at a time in my studio.»
«Do you have any current exhibition? If yes, is there a way through which people can be constantly updated on your events without missing them?»
«There will be an Exhibition with two other Austrian artists in Passau next year. A Website is coming soon. My instagram account http://www.instagram.com/rucksi is at the moment all I can offer.»
«Who is your favorite painter? You can say just one name (I know it’s difficult).»
«Pierre Bonnard (among many many others).»
«Do you prefer to paint en plein air, maybe on the beach in front of the sea or in the studio?»
«In the studio (and in the appartement near the beach).»
«Another question, or is it perhaps more a speech that I want face up to with you.
I discovered you through instagram. Being a millennial, I know the importance of social networks and how their birth has changed the world of work, creating new figures, new jobs. But not only. Social media, if used well, can be like the window of your shop, not confined to a street, but in the infinite ether that is the internet and this means that your works will not be admired by a dozen of people passing by, but by a big audience. You have a huge number of followers. 45k is a really important number.
The question I want to ask you is: as contemporary artist, how important is it to
exhibit your work on social networks? In your personal experience, have you benefited?»
«Instagram… My students told me about instagram in 2015. Since then, I use it and I love some aspects of it. Most I love to discover artists I like, there are so many exiting artists and art! And it helped me a lot to get some audience, because I did not care much about that before. An exhibition here and there, not much and only very local. Now I can show and sell my paintings worldwide! I do not like to be that much dependent on the algorithms and marketing interests of facebook. I also dislike that they are against nipples… What a ridiculous attitude! All art is full of beauty, including bodies, skin…
I love to see art in its big variety, not only what curators think is en vouge at the time…
Curators, there is a lot to discover out there!»
«I totally agree about the algorithms and on the censorship that instagram applies to artistic nudes (especially nipples)… To continue the speech about social network and the young generation: what is your target audience?»
«Everyone who enjoys my art. I would love to meet someone who would care about the marketing. I see a big potential, but I do not want to take to much time for that.»
«What do you think about the young generations and their approach to art? Thanks to your personal career as teacher and artist, do you think young people are interested in art? In my positive approach to new technologies I think that internet and social networks have made artists and art more approachable and closer to that “discovery” I was talking about at the beginning of the article. I want to think that this has increased their interest in art.
But you are the artist, so only you can tell me how the relationship between art and young generetions is.»
«Art and life. When art has to do with their lifes, with their emotions… When something responds from inside them to the art… then it works. And I feel a strong desire of the young generations to use their hands and hearts and minds to create, to express, to build a meaningful and fair society, where everyone is able to live to the full capacity…»
«These are certainly excellent news. Well… We have reached the end. Thank you for giving me your time, Christian, for allowing me and the readers of Oui Magazine to get to know the artist you are and for this small but interesting analysis on art, social networks and young
«Thanks for the opportunity… And for now, stay healthy, Christian.»