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Ed Ruscha - Stains

2014

Edward ‘Ed’ Joseph Ruscha (*1937, Omaha, Nebraska) studied Painting, Photography and Graphic Design at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. The artist draws his aesthetic inspiration from the mass media, films and the American living environment of the 1950s and 60s. In stylised form, he depicts the phenomena of mass culture and motifs from everyday life, such as advertising signs, company logos and petrol stations in a photorealist manner. In addition to paintings, self-published artist books in small editions begin to appear more frequently since the 1960s. Ruscha’s central theme is the relationship between word and image, the interdependency between signifier and the signified.
Ed Ruscha is considered one of the most pioneering artists of the last fifty years. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

Ed Ruscha: Stains, 1969, installation view Museum Ludwig, detail view © Edward J. Ruscha IV, Photo: Rheinisches Bildarchiv Cologne, Schlier, Britta, rba_d037446_09

Stains, 1969
The artist book titled Stains from 1969 is comprised of 75 sheets of paper. On 72 of these, Ruscha made stains using various substances, such as fruit and vegetable juices, blood, and gunpowder. The central positioning of the stains corresponds with Ruscha’s deliberately non-artistic approach. In the title of each sheet, the artist painstakingly noted which fluid was used in each case.

His humorous ‘romance with liquids’ is exceptional within Ruscha’s oeuvre and continues to influence him to this day. Since then, instead of oil paint, the artist increasingly uses blood, as well as blackberry and carrot juice, as an artistic medium.

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