On occasion of ARCOmadrid 2020, ChertLüdde presented Rodrigo Hernández (b. 1983, Mexico City) and Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt (b. 1932, Wurzen), in conversation for ARCO Dialogues. The presentation included five new, freestanding sculptures by Hernández alongside original typewritings by Wolf-Rehfeldt. Additionally, Hernández has created a wallpaper installation specifically in response to the work of Wolf-Rehfeldt, using the same typewriter graphics in a reinvented manner. O mundo real não alça voo (The real world does not take flight) (2019) takes its name from a solo exhibition of Hernández at Pivo, Sao Paolo in 2018. As in Pivo, Hernández creates an immersive environment where geometric patterns on the walls relate to the shapes of sculptures hanging on it, so that the painted forms and tridimensional reliefs correspond to each other.
The patterns in O mundo real não alça voo (The real world does not take flight) (2019) take their inspiration from the Scott Paper Company Dress, which was invented in 1966 by American tissue product manufacturer Scott Paper Company, who created a wearable, printed paper dress that could be bought for one dollar. Originally a quirky marketing concept, the paper dress sold exponentially and was extremely popular for a short period of time. Speaking the visual language of sixties and seventies fashion and Op Art, the backdrop is also a nod to Wolf-Rehfeldt’s early interests in womenswear, seen in works such as Concrete Shoe (1970s).
In his practice, Rodrigo Hernández deconstructs and merges ancient iconography, art history and everyday imagery to develop a unique formal vocabulary. This new series of sculptures expands upon his first exhibition at the gallery, titled “J’aime Eva”. Using cardboard and papier-mâché as the simple basis to build irregular, often undeterminable structures, each piece takes off in a different direction approaching or distancing itself from any particular enclosed territory, and pushing against the boundaries between painting, collage and sculpture, or between abstraction and figuration.
Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt produced works from within the GDR from the early 1970s to 1989, until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Alongside her artistic production, Wolf Rehfeldt was a key figure of the Mail Art Movement with her husband, Robert Rehfeldt. The artist became best known for her “typewritings”, works on paper made on her Erika typewriter, which could be seen as intricate studies of concrete poetry, linguistics and architecture–innovative combinations of language, symbols and visual forms.
Although in the beginning of her practice Wolf-Rehfeldt experimented with the possibilities of expression within concrete poetics, she began to shift her focus in later years to abstract compositions, moving from linguistic signage to language as simply form and matter. In these later works, Wolf-Rehfeldt strips language of its function, and creates instead images of playfulness, beauty and innovation.
Photos by Sebastiano Pellion