Gideon Rubin: Looking Away

Gideon Rubin in his studio, London 2020. Photo: Richard Ivey
02.09.22 - 12.11.22

Galerie Karsten Greve Cologne

Tuesday - Friday 10 am - 6.30 pm

Saturday 10 am - 6 pm

Opening on Friday, September 2, 2022, 5 - 7:30 pm

The artist is present.

As part of DC Open Galleries, extended hours apply:

Saturday, September 3, 2022, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Sunday, September 4, 2022, 1 - 5 p.m

To open the 2022 autumn season, Galerie Karsten Greve is delighted to launch Looking Away, a solo exhibition featuring new work by Gideon Rubin. This is Gideon's eighth one-man show with Galerie Karsten Greve, which has represented and presented the artist for more than the past ten years. Twenty-five works in oil on natural linen will be on display, coming directly from Gideon’s London studio, and giving an insight into the artist's current creative phase.

There is a focus on two series of paintings with a total of ten works, each showing the same motif: the back view of a young woman in a purple dress (Purple Dress, 2022), and of a young man in a blue shirt (Blue Shirt, 2022). The isolated figures face away from the viewer, and are shown in undefined places. It is the romantic Rückenfigur, or figure seen from behind, that seems to be revived in Gideon Rubin’s new work. The Rückenfigur with his or her typical gaze into an indefinite distance serves to convey the depth of space on the two-dimensional picture surface so as to allow the viewer to identify with the figure looking into the picture space.

Looking Away, the title of the exhibition, describes situations in which people ostentatiously look the other way. Showing protagonists from the back is ambiguous: on the one hand, it illustrates strong emotions such as contempt, sadness, fear, disgust, and thoughtfulness. On the other hand, in early photography as well as in fashion photography, a figure, or nude, seen from the back is an artistic exploration of the dialectic of revealing and hiding. The two series, Purple Dress and Blue Shirt, evoke both photography's ability to reproduce and the process of remembering. Looked at from a distance, the images of the two series appear similar, however, their differences become clear when viewed up close. This process corresponds to an imitation of memory, which is slightly altered each time one returns to an item in one's memory. In his most recent work, Gideon more frequently works in series; he repeats the same motif over and over again, creating the same image at different scales as if it were a photograph in different formats. Gideon Rubin describes this procedure as "exercises in seeing."

His paintings are inspired by photographs from old family albums found at flea markets, in daily newspapers, or illustrated magazines. The complexity of historical hairstyle trends, pictures of celebrities, pornography as well as portrait and history painting become visual subjects moved to the center of artistic interest. Gideon sketches his subjects with a few brushstrokes which he applies with confidence and using tonal colors – mostly sandy hues; to emphasize details he also uses a clear bright red. As a result of the blurring of identifying details and the erasure of physiognomic features, onlookers associate the protagonists in the picture with their own memories and perceptions, especially since the restrained gestures, postures, and positions of the characters aim at a déjà-vu effect, encouraging those who see them to complete the picture in their own way.

Gideon Rubin was born in Tel Aviv in 1973. He studied at the School of Visual Arts in New York, USA, and at the Slade School of Fine Art in London, UK, where he completed his studies in 2002, graduating with a Master of Fine Art (MFA) degree. In 2013, he was a scholarship student in the Outset residency program in Tel Aviv; in 2014, he received the Shifting Foundation grant. In 2016, Gideon Rubin took part in an exchange program for artists from China and Israel sponsored by Galerie Karsten Greve and Outset, resulting in the "Places of Conflict" project. On a regular basis, Gideon Rubin's works have been shown in international solo and group exhibitions, and feature in many renowned private and public collections worldwide, including Museum Voorlinden, Wassenaar (NL), the Herzliya Museum of Contemporary Art in Herzliya (Israel), the McEvoy Foundation for the Arts, San Francisco, the Rubin Museum, Tel Aviv, the Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, the Collezione Fondazione San Patrignano, Rimini, the Maison Ruinart in Reims, and the Fondation Francès, Senlis. The artist lives and works in London, UK.

Press release


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