“For Ruth, the Sky in Los Angeles” is an aquarelle that consists only of this sentence, which David Horvitz sent to Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt in 2016 from the United States. Today, it sits on her desk in Berlin-Buchholz and has entered her comprehensive archive of Mail Art from around the world.
The exhibition “For Ruth, the Sky in Los Angeles,” on view at the Albertinum from 8 September 2018 until 6 January 2019, is a living homage to a hitherto overlooked position of Mail Art and visual poetry. Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt (*1932 in Wurzen, Sachsen) was active as an artist from the beginning of the 1970s until 1990. Using an Erika Typewriter, she developed complex graphic compositions juxtaposing text and image. 62 of her timeless “typewritings” – diagrams, patterns, abstract poetry, and collages – form the core of this small presentation. Additionally typewriter graphics purchased last year through the Cultural Foundation of the Free State Saxony for the Art Fund of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) will be shown in the exhibition, too.
Although Wolf-Rehfeldt worked in East Berlin and therefore was subject to travel restrictions and strongly surveilled communication, she was an active member of the international Mail Art movement and corresponded with artists in Europe, the United States, South America, and Asia. Her work can therefore be found today in many archives of international Mail Art artists. The exhibition traces the broad dissemination of Mail Art with a selection from the extensive collection of Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and Robert Rehfeldt.
At the same time the presentation at the Albertinum is an experimental format in which David Horvitz (*1982 in Los Angeles, USA) enters into a dialog with Wolf-Rehfeldt’s work. The young contemporary artist developed an exchange with the documenta 14 artist based on the principle of a living archive. Like Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, he deals with processes of circulation and interconnectedness, exploring how thoughts and feelings become sign and actions. Whether with Mail Art, artist books, infiltrations on the internet, apps or documented travels and collected artifacts – the questioning of the rules of time and space, knowledge and ownership mark his artistic approach.
In the exhibition at the Albertinum, Horvitz will show existing works on paper and glass sculptures alongside a new video work and invites visitors to try Mail Art for themselves through a participatory artwork. A performance and a work in the urban space of Dresden complete the show.
Both positions are divided by generations and worlds – their wit, their conception of art and its inherent poetry is nonetheless very similar. The personal admiration and bond that David Horvitz has with Wolf-Rehfeldt has inspired the first solo exhibition of the artist’s work in Dresden, which is anchored in the now through their dialogical exchange.
The exhibition is curated by Kathleen Reinhardt.
Installation views © Ausstellungsansicht Albertinum, SKD. Photos: Klemens Renner.