Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt

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Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt was born in Wurzen, Saxony in 1932. After the war, she settled in Berlin and worked for the exhibitions department at the Academy of Arts. Despite not having a formal artistic education, she produced paintings, pastels, drawings and most notably what she calls “typewritings”. Works on paper made on a typewriter, the typewritings are intricate studies spanning concrete poetry, linguistics, graphic design and conceptual art – innovative hybrids of language, symbols and visual form. Although in the beginning of her practice Wolf-Rehfeldt explored semiotics and concrete poetry, she began to shift her focus in later years to abstract compositions, moving from linguistic signage to language as form and matter. Many of the typewritings on view emphasize the materiality and density of words and symbols, new meanings derived from experimentation.

Wolf-Rehfeldt was nominated for candidacy for the Association of Fine Artists of the GDR in 1975, and was admitted as a full member in 1978. Due to her special status as a member of the AFA, Wolf-Rehfeldt was allowed to print a limited number of 50 “miniature graphic” works (Kleingrafik) in print shops. Each of her works thus consists of an original – either an individual typed work or a series – and of further reproductions in the form of carbon copies, postcards or prints in formats ranging from A6 to A4. During the period of her artistic production, Wolf-Rehfeldt was simultaneously engaged with a vast network of artists, known as the Mail Art Movement. Wolf-Rehfeldt and her partner Robert Rehfeldt were pioneers within the GDR of a type of artistic exchange that allowed for the uncensored circulation of art and ideas. As works of art prone to accessible distribution, Wolf-Rehfeldt’s typewritings were often included in her correspondences with other artists. 

After the fall of the Berlin wall and the death of her partner, Wolf-Rehfeldt stopped making work altogether. Her newly found geographical freedom had fundamentally altered the function of making and distributing art. Yet in recent years, a newly invigorated interest in her work had begun to emerge. Along with several public exhibitions, ChertLüdde has begun a collaborative process of archiving all of her works and Mail Art archive.

Wolf-Rehfeldt was awarded with the Gerhard-Altenbourg Prize of the Lindenau-Museums 2021.

Her work has been exhibited in venues such as MAMCO, Geneva; Kunstverein Reutlingen; Galerie Weisser Elefant; National Gallery of Arts, Tirana; Albertinum, SKD, Dresden (with David Horvitz); Goethe, Minneapolis; Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin; Malmö Konsthall, Malmö; documenta 14, Kassel; Halle 14, Leipzig; Museum für konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt; Museum Barberini, Potsdam; Kunstsaele Berlin; Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo; Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin; Schloss Plüschow Museum, Plüschow; Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen; The Weserburg Study Centre / Museum of Modern Art Bremen. 

On the occasion of her 90th birthday in autumn 2022, DAS MINSK in Potsdam will host a retrospective of her work.

Collections: Sammlung zeitgenössischer Kunst der Bundesrepublik Deutschland; Collezione del premio Rotary Club Milano Brera per l’arte contemporanea e i giovani artisti; Kunstfonds, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden; Nouveau Musée National de Monaco.

Grants – Prizes:
2021
Gerhard-Altenbourg-Preis 2021 of the Altenburger Lindenau-Museums
2018
Sardi per l’Arte, Back to the Future Prize
2017
Rotary Club Milano Brera Prize

Selected Solo Exhibitions
2022
Anti-Social Art: Experimental Practices in Late East Germany, curated by Sara Blaylock and Sarah James, Tweed Museum of Art, University of Minnesota Duluth
Solo Exhibition, Das Minsk, Potsdam 
2021
Solo Exhibition, curated by Benjamin Rux, Lindenau Museum, Altenburg
2020
Zeichen der Zeit / Zeit der Zeichen, with Hanne Darboven, Sprüth Magers, London
2019
Kein Witz, No Joke, with Sophie Reinhold, curated by Imke Kannegießer, Kunstverein Reutlingen, Reutlingen
Introverse Arrangements, with Michail Pirgelis, BRAUNSFELDER, Cologne
2018
Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt: Collages and Editions, curated by Sven Spieker, National Gallery of Arts, Tirana
Signs of Signs, ChertLüdde, Berlin
Für Ruth, der Himmel in Los Angeles, with David Horvitz, curated by Kathleen Reinhardt, Albertinum, SKD, Dresden
2017
Solo presentation at Miart with ChertLüdde, Generation Sector, Milan
2016
Signs Fiction, solo presentation at Art Basel Feature with Chert, Berlin
2015
Signs Fiction, solo presentation, abc – Art Berlin Contemporary, with Chert, Berlin
Veronika Radulovic / Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, Insel Galerie, Berlin
Signs Fiction, Chert, Berlin
2012
Ruth Wolf- Rehfeldt – Original Graphic Works 1972-1989, Weserburg Study Centre / Museum of Modern Art Bremen
1989
Galerie Fliesenwerke, Boizenburg
1975
Galerie am Prater, Berlin
Teatru Studio, Warschau

Selected Group Exhibitions
2021
Calculation Control: (Netz)Kunst und Kybernetik, curated by Anneliese Ostertag, Haus der Statistik, Berlin
“Mira a ver si… Poesía experimental y Mail Art (Let’s see if…Experimental Poetry and Mail Art in Mallorca), curated by Jaume Pinya, Esbaluard Museu, Palma
Inventaire, Organized by Paul Bernard, Lionel Bovier, Sophie Costes, Julien Fronsacq, and Françoise Ninghetto, MAMCO, Geneva
2020
Rock Me Baby, Centre d’art contemporain, Yverdon-les-Bains (CACY)
Borrowed Space and Regular Features, ProjecteSD, Barcelona
Hidden Labour across (inter∞note01), Curated and conceived by Doreen Mende, KV – Verein für zeitgenössische Kunst Leipzig e.V.
2019
Zwischen Ausgängen, curated by Julia Heunemann, Galerie Weisser Elefant, Berlin
Bild & Schrift – Die Revolution in Hennef kann warten, Susanne Neuerburg, Hennef
ARCOmadrid, with ChertLüdde, Dialogues Section with Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt
Jahresausgaben or ne travaillez assez, ne comptez jamais, Lothringer13 Halle, Munich
2018
Collusion, Collision, Illusion, Goethe Pop Up,  Minneapolis
Pissing in a River. Again!, Kunstraum Kreuzberg, Bethanien, Berlin
A l’heure du dessin, 6e temps, Tracé, curated by Josée Gensollen and Martine Robin, Château de Servières, Marseille
Hello World. Revising the Collection, Hamburger Bahnhof – Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin
The Hired Grievers, Curated by Jason Dodge, Madragoa, Lisbon
2017
You’ve got 1243 unread messages, Latvian Centre for Contemporary Art, Riga
Behind the Mask: Artists in the GDR, Museum Barberini, Potsdam
PRESSURE │ IMPRINT – Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, Charlotte Johannesson, Ester Fleckner, Curated by Mats Stjernstedt, Malmö Konsthall, Malmö
documenta 14, Kassel
WIN/WIN –Die Ankäufe der Kulturstiftung des Freistaates Sachsen 2017, Halle 14, Leipzig
Out of Office. Büro-Kunst oder das Büro im Museum, Museum für konkrete Kunst, Ingolstadt
2016
Klappe eins, Affe tot…, Kunstsaele Berlin
The Seeable and the Sayable, curated by Helga Marie Nordbly and Ida Kierulf, Kunstnernes Hus, Oslo
Gegenstimmen. Kunst in der DDR 1976-1989, curated by Eugen Blume und Christoph Tannert
Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin,
Group presentation at ART-O-RAMA, Marseille
2015
Bild und Wort, Schloss Plüschow Museum, Plüschow
Group presentation at Art Cologne, with Chert, Berlin
Wort – Zeichen – Bild, Insel Galerie, Berlin
Perhaps when I am over the hump with my present work I shall be able to write a critical essay, curated by Mathias Kryger and Arendse Krabbe, Kunstbiblioteket, Kunsthal Charlottenborg, Copenhagen
2013
Arte Postale, Academy of Arts, Berlin
2009
Obenauf und ungebrochen – Künstlerpublikationen aus der DDR, Weserburg Study Centre / Museum of Modern Art Bremen
1997
… keine Kunst? Mail Art-Projekte, Museum fur Post und Kommunikation Berlin
1996
Mail Art Osteuropa – im internationalen Netzwerk, Staatliches Museum Schwerin

Collections
Sammlung zeitgenössischer Kunst der Bundesrepublik Deutschland; Collezione del premio Rotary Club Milano Brera per l’arte contemporanea e i giovani artisti; Kunstfonds, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden; Nouveau Musée National de Monaco.

Selected Bibliography
2021
Catalogue: “Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt Gerhard-Altenbourg-Preis 2021” by Elke Erb, Benjamin Rux, et.Al., ed. by Lindenau Museum Altenburg and Roland Krischke, Sandstein Verlag, Dresden, 2021, ISBN 978-3-95498-619-4
Catalogue: “For Ruth: The sky in Los Angeles” ed. by Kathleen Reinhardt, Yvon Lambert, ChertLüdde, Staatliche Kunstsammlung Dresden, Wende Museum, Spector Books, Leipzig, 2021. ISBN: 978-3-95905-405-8
“Berlin hat ein neues Kunst-Festival” by Marcus Woeller, Die Welt, 19.08.2021.
“aber nun sehe ich dich bald wirklich wirklich wirklich wirklich”, by Christina Hansen and Miryam Schellbach, Edit N°83, Leipzig, Spring 2021, pp. 100-109, ISSN 0943-8645
2020
“Hanne Darboven and Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt” by Emily LaBarge on Artforum, issue October/November 2020, pp.220-221
Catalogue: “La Xarxa al Bosc”, publication for the exhibition “The net and the forest: Joan Brossa and experimental poetry 1946 – 1980″, curated by Eduard Escoffet for Fundació Joan Brossa. Published by Fundació Joan Brossa and Ajuntament de Barcelona, ISBN: 978-84-9156-265-8
Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, Introverse Arrangements, Unbidden Tongues #1, 2020, edited by Isabelle Sully, published by Publication Studio Rotterdam, ISBN: 9789492308832
2019
Catalogue: “Introverse Arrangements” by Michail Pirgelis and Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, Braunsfelder, ISBN: 978-3-947839-06-3
Catalogue: “Regular Features” by Marc Natzaam, Roma Publication 356, ISBN: 9789492811448
“Concrete Poetry: Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt” on Carcy, Spring/Summer 2019
“Ruth, Robert, René – eine Künstlerfamilie in Ostberlin” by Ulrike Bajohr on Deutschlandfunk Kultur, 31.05.2019, online
2018
“Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, bajo vigilancia” by Javier Hontoria on El Cultural, 26 October 2018, pages 34-35
“Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt “Signs of Signs” at ChertLüdde, Berlin” on Mousse, 9 November 2018
“Zeichen setzen, Zeichen lesen” by Beate Scheder on taz plan, October 2018
“Pressure/Imprint at Malmö Konsthall” by Kristian Vistrup Madsen on Art Review Asia, January 2018
2017
“Die leise Kraft” by Lena Schneider on Potsdamer Tagesspiegel, December 2017
“Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and Robert Rehfeldt” by Yann Chateigné on frieze, 1 December 2017
Catalogue: “Out of Office. Büro-Kunst oder das Büro im Museum”, on occasion of the exhibition at Museum für Konkrete Kunst – Ingolstadt, published by Surface, ISBN: 9783939855514
Catalogue: “The documenta 14 Reader”, Kassel, published by Prestel, ISBN: 9783791356570
2016
“Die Stasi verstand nichts”, Gesine Borcherdt, Welt, 27/08/2016
“Zeichen und Wunder” by Donna Schons, Monopol,  issue 09/2016
“Writer’s Block”, Lowdown Magazine, Fall/Winter issue
“Bilder aus Zeichen” on Weltkunst magazine by Matthias Ehlert
“Art of Typewriting” on Surface Magazine
“Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt – Schrift Stücke”, Verlag Lutz Wohlrab, Berlin
2015
“Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt” on Inferno magazine by Gauthier Lesturgie
“Am Anfang war die Erika” on Tip Berlin by Phillip Koch
Catalogue: “Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt – Mühsam, waschsen, werdende Strukturen”, Verlag Lutz Wohlrab, Berlin
“Signs Fiction” on Art Forum by Astrid Mania, issue 53
Review of the concurrent exhibition “Signs Fiction” by Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt and “Home Archives” by Paolo Bruscky and Robert Rehfeldt at Chert, Berlin on artmargins.it by Sara Blaylock
Review of Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt’s solo exhibition “Signs Fiction” at Chert, Berlin, on art-agenda by Doreen Mende
2014
Catalogue: “TYPEWRITER ART”, A Modern Anthology”, Barrie Tullett, Laurence King Publishing, ISBN-13: 978-1780673479
2013
“Robert Rehfeldt and Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, Their GDR-Based International Network” on Setup4 by Anne Thurmann-Jajes, n. 1 – set up 4 artists’ publications
2012
Review of Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt on the on-line magazine Glucke
2011
“Poetry goes Art & vice versa”, in Punkt. Kunst im Nordwesten, Summer 2011, number 2
Catalogue: “SUBVERSIVE”, “Praktiken / Practices. Art under Conditions of Political Repression: 60s-80s / South America / Europe”, Hatje Cantz publications
2009
Catalogue: “Type Bound. Books as Sculpture from Florida Collections, Typewriter Poems from the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry” held from 27/1 until 4/3/2009 at the UCF Art Gallery, curated by Craig Saper and Theo Lotz
Catalogue: “Obenauf und ungebrochen, Künstlerpublikationen aus der DDR”. WESERBURG, Studienzentrum Künstlerpublikationen. Universität Bremen,  ISBN 978-928761-75-8
Catalogue: “Studienzentrum für Künstlerpublikationen”, WESERBURG, Studienzentrum Künstlerpublikationen, Universität Bremen
2005
Catalogue: “Schrift, Zeichen, Geste: Carlfriedrich Claus im Kontext von Klee bis Pollock. Gestische und skripturale Kunst im 20. Jahrhundert”, Ingrid Mössinger and Städtische Kunstsammlungen Chemnitz and Brigitta Milde, Weinand, ISBN: 978-3879098675
2004
Catalogue: “Art a la Carle. Internationale Künstlerpostkarten seit den 60er Jahren”, Otto C. Dahms (editors: Otto C. Dahms, Tania Müller, Neues Museum Weserburg Bremen), Neues Museum Weserburg, ISBN: 3-928761-63-3
1997
Exhibition catalogue: “Neue Poesie: 20 Jahre Bielefelder Colloquium. Ausstellung, Kunsthalle Bielefeld, 10/4 bis 4/5/1997: Katalog”
1996
Catalogue: “Mail Art: Osteuropa im Internationalen Netzwerk”, Kornelia Röder and Staatliches Museum Schwerin (contributor: Kornelia von Berswordt-Wallrabe), Staatliches Museum Schwerin, 1996
Exhibition catalogue: “Kolekcja Jürgena Weichardta. Dar Dla Chelmskeij Kolekcji” held from August until September 1996 at the Galeria Rzezby, curated by Bozena Kowalska, Warszawa
1993
Exhibition catalogue of the show held from 30/1 until 28/3/1993 at the Museen der Stadt Salzwedel, conceived by Johanna Bartl
1990
Catalogue: “Am Kap der Guten Hoffnung. Literatur und Provokation”, Gerhard Stebner, Verlag Die Blaue Eule, Essen, ISBN: 3-89206-295-1
1989
Exhibition catalogue of the show held 15th January – 12th February 1989 at Trondhjems Kunstforening, Trondheim, Norway
1988
Artists publication: “artestudio”, “MAIL ART project”, Theme 1988
Artists publication: “S.A.P.”, Wendysstomack, April 1
1987
Catalogue: “100 Ausgewählte Grafiken: Ausstellung, Galerie Unter den Linden – Berlin, Oktober/November 1987″, Art-Union Öffentlichkeitsarbeit
Artists publication: “A Margem, Inform- Ação Cultural”, issue n.3, Natal, Brazil
1986
Artists publication: “A Margem, Inform- Ação Cultural”, issue n.2, Natal, Brazil
1984
Exhibition catalogue: “Am Anfang war das Wort” held from 21/9 until 21/10/1984 at the Städtische Galerie Lüdenscheid
1983
“About VILE, mail art news & photos from the eternal network”, Banana Productions and Canada Council, Canada
Catalogue: “World x Art x Post”, ed. Galántai György / Galántai Julia, Artpool, Budapest
Catalogue: “Retrospektive 1973-1983. Malerei, Grafik, Platik. 100 Ausstellung 27/10 – 26/11/1983. Galerie Am Prater”, Joachim Pohl, Galerie am Prater, Berlin
Artists publication: “ARTISTS INTERNAT’L NEWSPAPER”, Winter 1983. Volume 1, Issue 1. “Correspondence Life”
1981
“Nuove Cartoline – Cartoline postali di ieri e di oggi in un’ottica d’avanguardia” , Enrico Sturani e Chrisitan Rigal, Savelli – Editori, Roma
Artists publication: “LIBELLOUS”, June 9th 1981, Publisher: International Cultureel Centrum – Antwerp, Editor: Guy Schraenen
Antwerp International Mail Art Festival, 25 SEPT – 1 NOV. 1981
1980
Artists publication: “The Badge Show”, ARTE POSTALE! Special ‘Badge show’. Supplement To N.13 – October 1980 – 400 Copies
1980s
“Concrete”, Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt. Publication as Little Xerox Book Number One by EDITION BRAIN LANE, London, Edition of 500
Newspaper article: “SALERNO, Poesia Visuale in Germania”, by Giancarlo Cavallo
Artists Newspaper: “El Djarida”, Kunst Musik Litteratur
1976
Catalogue: “Historische. Anthologie Visuele Poezie”, Samengesteld Door G. J. de Rook, Rijkscentrum Hoger Kunstonderwijs, Brussels
Catalogue: “Typewriter”, A Bird in the Bush Publications
1975
“Type Texts”, Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt, Writers Forum, The Printshop, Consortium of London Presses, National Poetry Center, 21 Earls Cout Square London
1973
“1973. Plener w Sierpcu. Malarstwo i Grafika”, photographs by Stefan Deptuszewski compiled by Piotr Komincz, Poland