'Diego's Compact', Andreas Rüthi

Painting showing a small photo of a young child and a compact on a white sidetable against a white wall

Oil on MDF, 36 x 50cm, 2004

Artist's statement

These still life paintings in oil form a developing series. Usually containing a postcard of a work of art, their repetitive form builds into a kind of diary. Changing groupings of objects, mementoes and images - and their cast shadows - make a sequence which is always open to the possibility of change, through the surprises inherent in each individual painterly encounter. The paintings are made from observation, the objects usually lit by fluorescent or halogen light, set against a white background. Their references and associations show a wry humour, a dialogue with art history as with the nature of reproduction and repetition; but the logic of the procedure suggests a kinship with forms of abstraction and with conceptual art in its classic concern with time.

In 'Diego’s Compact' a postcard of the Velázquez portrait of the 'Infante Felipe Próspero' faces a compact. When I saw that painting for the first time, I thought that the child wearing a dress was a girl. That is partly the reason why I chose a compact, an ambiguous object not necessarily associated with a boy. The circle shape in the background of the painting and the golden circles of the compact create a dialogue of perspective.


Andreas Rüthi was born in Zürich in 1956. He studied at Universität Zürich 1977-79, Watford College of Art and Design 1986-87 and Rietveld Academy Amsterdam 1987-90. Solo shows include Galerie Brigitte Weiss Zürich 1998, 2000, 2002, Galerie Hammelehle & Ahrens (Stuttgart) 1996, 1998-99 (Cologne) 2003-04 and forthcoming in Melbourne, Cologne, Zürich 2007. He was in New Contemporaries ICA London (touring) 1990, Drawing Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery New York 2001, Still Life With Kate MacGarry Gallery London 2005, The Wonderful Fund Collection Musée de Marrakech Morocco 2005 and Pallant House Gallery Chichester 2006, and a two-person show at Bay Art Cardiff 2006.