Gerhard Rühm

  • Born 1930 in Vienna, Austria

Gerhard Rühm is noted for his work in acoustic art, including sound poetry, spoken word, and photomontage. He studied at the Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien (University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna) and later took private lessons with the composer Josef Matthias Hauer (1883–1959). In the early 1950s he developed an outstanding body of work, crossing the boundaries between many different mediums. He also experimented in drawing, visual poetry, and photomontage, using such diverse techniques as overpainting (l’essentiel de la grammaire [The Essentials of Grammar], 1962) and collage (Typocollagen [Type Collage], 1955–1963). He was one of Vienna’s first concrete poets and was a co-founder of the Wiener Gruppe (around 1954–1955), which staged the first happenings in Austria in 1958. His interest in language and the ambiguity between meaning and form is manifest in his poetry, music, and both visual and acoustic arts. Along with his investigations into modes of expression through language, he also strove to unveil its potential for social implications. In 1964 Rühm moved to Germany, where he taught at the Hochschule für Bildende Künste (University of Fine Arts), Hamburg, from 1972 to 1995. His work was presented in numerous exhibitions, including Documenta, Kassel (1977; 1987). Rühm has received many important prizes, including the Austrian State Prize for Literature in 1991.

Artworks by Gerhard Rühm in the exhibition