Ed Ruscha

Metro Mattress #4

, 2008
  • Material
  • Production Method
    Signed, numbered, dated on a separate Label
  • Edition Size
  • Measurement
    7.16 x 11.18 in
    (18,2 x 28,4 cm)
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About the Edition

Ed Ruscha’s career-long exploration of horizontality has included compendia of the buildings of urban Los Angeles, word paintings, photo books, and prints running the full gamut of his readymade subjects, all of which highlight his admitted fascination with the language of landscape. The mattress is a particular kind of landscape, though; a decidedly horizontal object and one that supports both physically and psychically, engendering the production of those imaginary landscapes called dreams. In his series "Metro Mattresses", Ruscha has produced an intimate portrait of a certain kind of dream, now encountered as a discarded object tossed out onto the street, which Ruscha photographed and then translated to the flat two-dimensional plane. What type of landscape is this mattress set? A clue is given by the reversal of the usual order of things – box spring on top of mattress, bloody smears moving against the laws of gravity. Beneath the transparent fabric cover of the box spring, we see what looks like a picture frame, or a cross – both sights of imaginary projection. In Ruscha’s exacting image, who could blame us for believing that maybe there really is no difference between the two?

About the Artist

Ed Ruscha is a pioneer of American conceptual art who influenced artists like Bruce Nauman all the way to Lawrence Wiener. Born in 1937 in Omaha, Nebraska, Ruscha began his career as a graphic artist. Today, he is celebrated for his paintings, print designs, photography, films and artist’s books. In 1963, Ruscha released “Twentysix Gasoline Stations”, the first of 16 artist’s books. Adhering to a strict documentary style, Ruscha photographed American landscapes in black and white. The motif of the petrol station along Route 66 from Los Angeles to Oklahoma City is a continuous thread throughout Ruscha’s photobook, combining pop art with conceptual art. His early paintings are also attributed to the pop art movement. Ruscha lives and works in Los Angeles; since 1993, he has been represented by the renowned Gagosian Gallery in New York. In 2005, Ruscha represented the USA at the 51st Venice Biennale with an installation composed of 10 different paintings.

Latest Exhibitions (Selection)

2018, Ed Ruscha: Double Americanisms, Secession, Vienna
2018, Ed Ruscha: Gumbo of Gravel. Lora Reynolds Gallery, Austin / Texas
2018, Ed Ruscha: Archaeology and Romance. Harry Ransom Center, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin.
2018, Ed Ruscha – VERY. KODE Art Museums and Composer Homes, Bergen, Norwegen, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Humlebæk, Denmark
2018, Word/Play: Prints, Photographs, and Paintings by Ed Ruscha. Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha
2018, Ed Ruscha: Course of Empire, The National Gallery of Art, London.

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