Walter Seidl was born in Graz, Austria, in 1973, and is based in Vienna. He works as an artist, writer and curator. Seidl earned a PhD in contemporary cultural history after having studied at Graz University, Seattle University (photography), CUNY and Sorbonne Nouvelle. His artistic and curatorial work focuses on photography and lens-based media, dealing with the transformation of image politics and the identity constellations inherent therein. Seidl is board member of the magazine and exhibition venue Camera Austria in Graz, the 100th issue of which he co-edited in 2007. He has realized numerous exhibition projects throughout Europe, North America and Japan.
Photo Credit: Dustin Dis
Francis Ruyter engages tropes of style and recognition behind image-making, and connects this activity to social and technological forces. Born in 1968 in Washington, DC, he moved to NYC in 1986 to study at the School of Visual Arts. Ruyter began showing in 1993, and has had more than 30 solo gallery exhibitions worldwide. Work is included in MoMA, SFMOMA, Le Consortium, Dijon and many other public collections. Ruyter currently lives in Vienna where he has produced more than 30 exhibitions of other artists’ work since opening Galerie Lisa Ruyter there in 2003. He was a founder of Team Gallery in 1995/96. Collaborative work with other artists remains a high priority. Since 2017, he has been a member of the board of the Vienna Secession.
The joint artwork by Francis Ruyter and Walter Seidl with sound by Stefan Geissler resonates current forms of crisis via excavating archives, thereby conjuring up fleeting moments of perception in their historical significance. Ruyter reiterates captions used for his abstracted drawings and paintings, which are based on images culled from the photographic archive of the Farm Security Administration. Seidl digitized analog b/w slide photographs of places from his own archive starting in the 1990s that hint at notions of absence, emptiness and void. The ghostly nature of the project questions the cultural heritage of the USA with takes on the recent past. Geissler’s sound takes up influences of the 1930s by referencing the field recordings of American ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax. Hence, the ubiquity of formulating and referring to fluctuating moments of catastrophe is tackled in order to question possible forms of the present and their relevance for the future.
Photo and text selection: Francis Ruyter
Photos: Walter Seidl
Sound: Stefan Geissler