Christoph Ruckhäberle

Works on Paper


Christoph Ruckhäberle
by Christoph Tannert (in: Vitamin P2 - New Persectives in Painting, Phaidon 2011)

Christoph Ruckhäberle is the most conspicuous outsider of the new Leipzig school, which has a reputation for melancholy. There is nothing wrong with melancholy in itself - after all, this quality is often associated with greatness. But a whole group of artists painting sad pictures? ln fact, Ruckhäberle's pre-2006 pictures also appear rather gloomy, but he managed to put this characteristic behind him earlier than most of his contemporaries by exploring tendencies already present in his work, most notably bright colour, humour and his affinity with precisely patterned surfaces and ornament. The awkward gestures and oddly twisted limbs of the figures in his pictures make them look like marionettes in a puppet play. Particularly in his earlier works, they seem wooden, as if carved, frozen in time and in mid-movement, isolated and bored. The minimal interaction between the figures and a palpable distancing from the viewer in his skillfully painted compositions have a considerable allure that has propelled him onto the international stage.

Ruckhäberle's coloured lithographs, which began to appear at the end of 2006, demonstrate a more stylized version of his formal vocabulary that has fed back into his paintings. At around this time, Ruckhäberle and graphic artist Thomas Siemon founded the Leipzig LUBOK Verlag publishing house, which came to attention through its 'Bilderbücher': graphic books printed on a 1950s rapid press using the original printing blocks. Lubok is a Russian word that refers to satirical folk picture books that were popular in the seventeenth century. Ruckhäberle’s printed graphics and oil paintings on paper and canvas owe much to this research. They show individual figures standing, lying, gesticulating and dancing - almost always seen full-frontal and facing the viewer. The single-colour posterlike backgrounds and the suggestion of cloud formations in some of the pictures are clear borrowings from Expressionism and Surrealism.

Sharing a certain sentiment with Tilo Baumgärtel, Ruckhäberle puts masked companies on parade, permeated by the spirit of New Folk - a kind of post-hippie hippie movement that exalts closeness to nature and is interested in folk art and an early European earthy contemplativeness. These children of freedom are searching for new adventures and find them in a return to private mythologies and in cult-like groups. Ruckhäberle's paintings of masks combine horror, humour and superstition, intensified to wild and absurd excesses. He spreads colour around in an endeavour to share sensual and earthly joie de vivre and to reconcile it with spiritual ideals. This sounds rather like the output of the band Gogol Bordello; one could imagine that Ruckhäberle's peasant women, circus figures, free wanderers and twisted marionettes are dancing to the band's distinctive brand of folk punk. The resulting aesthetic of these pictures is unmistakable. Ruckhäberle's paintings are curiously accessible - but despite their simplicity, they do not shrink from being confrontational, engaging and challenging.

  • 1972 born in Pfaffenhofen (Germany)
    1991-1993 Animation studies, California Institute of Arts Valencia, California (USA)
    1993 Grant of the Walt Disney Character Animation Funds (USA)
    1995-1999 Studies of painting at the Academy of Visual Arts Leipzig in the class of Prof. Arno Rink
    2000-2002 Master Studies with Prof. Arno Rink
    2007 Foundation of the LUBOK publishing house
    2016-2022 Professorship for painting and graphics at the Academy of Visual Arts, Leipzig
    lives and works in Leipzig

Solo shows

  • 2024 Liebende Frauen, Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen
    Sorry we're closed, Brussels (upcoming)
    Waking up the picture 2, Goyang Aram Art Museum, Goyang (South Korea)
  • 2023 Der Schlüssel, Lundgren Gallery, Palma de Mallorca
    Waking up the pictures, The Seouliteum, Seoul
    Malelei, WESTSIDE, Leipzig
  • 2022 Das Gläserne Eck, Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    Spiel mit dem Feuer, AKI Gallery, Taipei (Taiwan)
    Art-Book: Pictoriality in Print, Musashino Art University Museum and Library, Tokyo
    Crippled Symmetry, Museum der bildenden Künste, Leipzig
    IMAGE, Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    César - Christoph Ruckhäberle, Sorry we're closed, Brussels
    Noa Noa, Thaler Originalgrafik, Leipzig
    Print Selections, ZieherSmith Gallery, New York
    Paradise Lost, Ampersand Gallery, Portland (USA)
    Volkskunst Fabrik, Städtische Galerie Delmenhorst (Germany)
    Malerei/Grafik, Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    New Paintings, ZieherSmith, New York
    Christoph Ruckhäberle, Ampersand Gallery, Portland (USA)
    Disparates, Bühlers, Fürth
    2015 Kalif Storch, Thaler Originalgrafik, Leipzig
    Netsuke, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Kopenhagen
    Behind the Green Door, Ampersand Gallery, Portland (USA)
    2014 Tanz (Dance), Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    Christoph Ruckhäberle - Polka, Galerie der Stadt Wels (Austria)
    A Moveable Feast - PART VIII, Campoli Presti, Paris
    2013 Dekoration (Decoration), Galerie Christian Ehrentraut, Berlin
    Frau im Mond (Woman in the Moon), Sammlung Philara, Düsseldorf
    Frühstück im Freien (Breakfast Outdoors), ZieherSmith Gallery, New York
    Spazio Punch, Guidecca, Vienna
    2012 Frau im Mond (Woman in the Moon), Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    Die Stadt, Campoli Presti, London
    2011 The Pervert, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen
    2010 Christoph Ruckhäberle, Trapped in White Tiger Sanctum, Hospitalhof, Stuttgart
    2009 Bäckerei (Bakery), Sutton Lane, Brussels
    Parade, Sorry We Are Closed, Brussels
    Emmerdeur Futuriste, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen
    Christoph Ruckhäberle, Migros Museum, Zurich
    Dessins, Sutton Lane, Paris
    Portraits, Christian Ehrentraut, Berlin
    2008 Lady in the Lake, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv
    General Angst, Gallery Kleindienst, Leipzig
    2007 l´homme et l´œuvre, Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    Incorrect Configuration, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen
    Christoph Ruckhäberle, Ulrich Museum of Art, Whichita State University, Wichita (USA)
    Academy, Sutton Lane, London
    Christoph Ruckhäberle: Residency, Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs, New York
    2006 Sutton Lane, Paris
    LFL Gallery, New York
    Zach Feuer Gallery, New York
    Hobbyshop, Munich
    Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen
    2005 Of Painting, Christian Ehrentraut, Berlin
    Nye Eventyr, Galleri Nicolai Wallner
    The Party Fright, Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    2004 Sutton Lane Gallery, London
    Zirkus, LFL Gallery, New York
    Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen
    2003 Frog with the mask, Gallery LIGA, Berlin
    2002 Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    Gallery LIGA, Berlin
    2001 Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig

Group shows

  • 2024 Hunger nach Bildern, Museum No Hero, Delden (Netherlands)
    Überdruck, Kaisertrutz Görlitz, Kaisertrutz
    You, Wetsside Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
  • 2022 Bilderkosmos Leipzig. 1905-2022, Museum of Fine Arts, Leipzig
    Barlach und die jungen Wilden, Ernst Barlach Museen, Güstrow
    German Painting Now, Telegraph, Olomouc (Czech Republic)   
    NEW, Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    Chow Chow, Werkschauhalle Spinnerei, Leipzig
    Gestern, heute, übermorgen, Brandenburgisches Landesmuseum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt/Oder
    We are open, Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    NEW 2, Westside, Leipzig
  • 2019 Gratwanderung, August Macke Haus, Bonn (Germany)
  • Nähe und Distans, Landtag Brandenburg, Potsdam (Germany)
  • Heads, Galerie der Stadt Wels, Wels (Austria)
  • The Leipzig Connection, Croatian Association of Artists (HDLU), Zagreb (Croatia)
  • 2018 Painting from Leipzig, Antonio Colombo, Milan
  • Gaudiopolis, Galerie für Zeitgenössische Kunst, Leipzig
  • Dritte, Neuer Pfaffenhofener Kunstverein, Pfaffenhofen (Germany)
  • Eros and Thanatos. SØR Rusche Collection Oelde/Berlin, Museum Abtei Liesborn, Liesborn
  • MdbK meets G2. Painting from Leipzig since 2000, Museum of Visual Arts, Leipzig
  • Zeigen und Sagen, Deutsche Bundesbank Geldmuseum, Frankfurt/Main
  • 2017 doing identity. Collection Reydan Weiss, Kunstmuseum Bochum (Germany)
  • Ladder to Heaven, Neuer Pfaffenhofener Kunstverein, Pfaffenhofen (Germany)
  • Jetzt Druck machen, Angerlehner Museum, Thalheim (Austria)
  • Pentomino #4, Thaler Originalgrafik, Leipzig
  • Monday is a Day between Sunday and Tuesday, Tanja Leighton, Berlin
  • Our teenage dreams so hard to beat, Kunstraum Ortloff, Leipzig
  • Printjam II, Thaler Originalgrafik, Leipzig
  • 2016 Storyteller. Contemporary Art from Leipzig, Nationale Art Museum & Goethe Institut Hanoi (Vietnam)
  • Pink Powder - de la Cruz Collection, Cotilla Gallery, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, Florida (USA)
    LUBOK - prints and artist books, Oberpfälzer Künstlerhaus, Schwandorf
    Always and Forever. 23th Leipziger Jahresausstellung, Westwerk, Leipzig
    Made in Germany: Contemporary Art from the Rubell Family Collection, McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, Texas (USA)
    2015 Statement 2: New Painting from Germany, Goethe Institute, Hong Kong
    2.5.0. Object is Meditation and Poetry, Grassi Museum, Leipzig
    Love. The first of the seven virtues, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art, Peekskill, New York (USA)
    German Promises, Ornis A. Gallery, Amsterdam
    Bittersweet TImes. Baroque and Present in the SØR Rusche Collection Oelde/Berlin, Arthouse Apolda Avangarde, Apolda (Germany)
    Leipzig 2015. Hildebrand Collection, G2 Kunsthalle, Leipzig
    Spinnerei Artists Show, Werkschauhalle, Leipzig
    MASH UP 2, Hardenbergstraße, Leipzig
    Familiar Society, Thaler Originalgrafik, Leipzig
    Camera Obscura, Kunstverein Pfaffenhofen, Pfaffenhofen (Germany)
    Good Art? Want! SØR Rusche Collection Oelde/Berlin, Auf AEG, Nürnberg
    VOLTA 11, Markthalle, Basel
  • 2014 bb, Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    Bittersweet Times, Baroque und Present in SØR Rusche Collection Oelde/Berlin, Kunsthaus Stade (Germany)
    Amorphophallus, Galeri Ehrentraut, Berlin
    Print Jam, Archiv Massiv, Leipzig
    Where is here? #1: Painting and Present, Kunstverein Reutlingen (Germany)
    2013 Affinities. Modern Painting and drawing from the Collection Frieder Burda, Museum Franz Gertsch, Burgdorf (Switzerland)
    LUBOK in Mexico, Museo de la Estampa del Instituto Mexiquense de Cultura, Toluca (Mexico)
    Jahre Zukunft, Galerie Notwehr, Sonneberg (Germany)
    ZWEITE, Kulturhalle, Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm (Germany)
    LUBOK in Mexico, Centro Cultural Clavijero, Morelia (Mexico)
    Purchased - New Acquisitions of the Graphic Collection 2003 - 2013, Museum of Visual Arts, Leipzig
    LUBOK. Grafica contemporanea y libros de artistas de Leipzig, Galería de Arte Contemporáneo del Teatro Isauro Martínez Torreón, Coahuila (Mexico)
    Cliche Verre, Spinnerei archiv massiv, Leipzig
    Berlin Klondyke, Hipphalle, Gmunden (Austria)
    2012 Berlin-Klondyke, Neuer Pfaffenhofener Kunstverein, Pfaffenhofen (Germany)
    german now - from Leipzig, Seongnam Art Center, Seoul (South Korea)
    Lubok, Grafica contemporánea y libros de artistas de Leipzig, Museo Nacional de la Estampa, Mexico City
    Lubok. Graphic and Artist Books from Leipzig,Kulturbahnhof Eller, Düsseldorf
    2011 Convoy Leipzig, Biksady Gallery, Budapest
    Parcours, Auf AEG, Nürnberg
    Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Gallery Reinhard Hauff, Stuttgart
    After The Goldrush, Art association, Speyer (Germany)
    Saxonia Paper, Art hall of Sparkasse, Leipzig
    2009 60/40/20. Art in Leipzig since 1949, Museum of Visual Arts, Leipzig
    People Pictures 1620/2009. Contemporary Images meet old Dutch portaits, Museum Abtei Liesborn, Wadersloh (Germany)
    2008 The Leipzig Phenomenon, Art hall, Budapest
    Manifesta7, European Biennial of Contemporary Art, Trentino (Italy)
    Drawcula, Gallery Kleindienst, Leipzig
    New Leipzig School, Cobra Museum, Amstelveen (Netherlands)
    as always, association of etching, Munich
    2007 Since Leipzig, art hall Wittenhagen (Germany)
    Life After Death: New Leipzig Paintings from the Rubell Family Collection, Frye Art Museum, Seattle / Salt Lake Art Center, Salt Lake City / Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City (USA)
    Poets on Painters, Ulrich Museum of Art, Wichita State University, Wichita (USA)
    Made in Leipzig - Pictures of a city, Essl Collection, Royal Palace Hartenfels, Torgau (Germany)
    2006 Triumph of Painting, Saatchi Gallery, London
    Kantor/Feuer Gallery Los Angeles
    Artists from Leipzig, Arario Gallery, Cheonan (South Korea)
    Back to the image, Hypo art hall, Munich
    Summer exhibition, Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    Ballkünstler, Museum of Visual Arts Leipzig
    Made in Leipzig – Pictures of a City, Essl Collection, Klosterneuburg/Vienna
    2005 Cold Hearts: Artists from Leipzig, Arario Gallery, Korea
    Sutton Lane in Paris, Sutton Lane c/o Ghislaine Hussenot, Paris
    Reflection Part II, Sutton Lane, London
    From Leipzig. Works from the Ovitz Family Collection, Museum of Art, Cleveland
    The Dresden and Leipzig Schools, 2. Prague Biennial, Prague
    Leipzig in Dessau, Meisterhäuser Bauhaus, Dessau
    Collection Olbricht, New Museum Weserburg, Bremen
    Life after Death, MassMoCA, North Adams
    Quartet, Sommer Contemporary Art, Tel-Aviv
    Baby Shower, Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen
    Neo-Con, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise at the Passerby, New York
    2004 The New Leipzig School of Painting, Contemporay Museum, Baltimore
    East International, curated by Neo Rauch, Norwich School of Art and Design (Norge)
    Clara Park – MarianneBoesky Gallery, New York
    Annual exhibition, Leipzig
    2003 Grassland, Gallery Wassermann, Munich
    Lazarus Effect, Biennial Prague
    Seven Times Painting, Museum of Visual Arts Leipzig
    Max Pechstein Award, Museum Zwickau
    LIGA - Young art from Leipzig, art association Neustadt
    Seven Times Painting, Museum of Visual Arts Leipzig
    Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen
    2002 Desired images, Museum of Visual Arts Leipzig
    Convoi, Metallgalerie, IG Metal, Frankfurt/Main
    Two-dimensional, art hall of the Sparkassen Leipzig
    Leipsig larks. Young painters at Kulturhof Flachsgasse, Speyer
    5 x 5 Young art from Saxony, New Sächsische Galerie Chemnitz
    Young art from Leipzig, art association Sulzfeld
    5 from 11, Gallery LIGA, Berlin
    Welcome to Leipzig, exhibition room of the Liga Frankfurt/Main
    Convoi, Kulturspeicher Oldenburg
    2001 Painting, Gallery Kleindienst, Leipzig
    Young Painting, Gallery Binz and Krämer, Cologne
    Arte Saxonia, Kuppelhalle of the Dresdner Bank, Leipzig
    Leipzig painters, art association Gallery Markt Brucksmühl
    2000 Young art 5, Gallery Kleindienst, Leipzig
    LIGA, Steibs Hof, Leipzig


  • 2015 Tasos Gaintatzis / Marina Legaki: How artist Christoph Ruckhäberle seamlessly fuses art, cinema & print, The Hundreds, 26.01.2015
    Christoph Ruckhäberle - Pattern No. 1 (artist book), Ampersand Editions, Portland (USA)
    Sabine Reithmaier: Der Tanz geht weiter, Süddeutsche Zeitung, 28.09.2015
    2014 Christoph Ruckhäberle - Polka (artist book), LUBOK, Leipzig
    Jens Kassner: Tanz aus der Reihe, Leipziger Volkszeitung (LVZ), 26.06.2014
    2013 Karen Rosenberg: Christoph Ruckhäberle: Frühstück im Freien, New York Times, 25.10.2013
    Helena Nilsson Strängberg: Christoph Ruckhäberle. False Figuration, Apartamento, 12/2013
    Karin Derstroff: Künstler, Verleger, Kinobesitzer, Pfaffenhofener Kurier, 20.04.2013
    2011 Christoph Tannert: Tilo Baumgärtel, Vitamin P2. New Perspectives in Painting, Phaidon, London/New York
    Sara Suzuki: What Is a Print? Selections from the Museum of Modern Art, MoMa, New York
    Roberta Smith: It’s Not Dry Yet, New York Times, 28.03.2011
    Ungt Paralleller: Samtidsmaleri fra Norge / Leipzig (catalog), Kistefos Museum, Jevnaker (Norway)
    Susanne Altmann: Jetzt Druck machen, ART Magazine, December 2011
    2010 Sara Veglahn: Sara Veglahn on Christoph Ruckhäberle, Poets on Painters
    2009 Christoph Ruckhäberle: L Emmerdeur Futuriste (catalog), Galleri Nicolai Wallner / Space Poetry, Kopenhagen
    Urs Steiner: Schminke und Masken. Karla Black und Christoph Ruckhäberle im Migros-Museum für Gegenwartskunst Zürich, Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ), 23.05.2009
    Ingeborg Ruthe: Die Luboks sind zurück, Berliner Zeitung, 15.01.2009
    Susanne Altmann: Druckgrafik. Siemon & Ruckhäberle, ART Magazine, 26.05.2009
    2008 Kunstwerkstatt - Christoph Ruckhäberle (catalog), Prestel, München/Berlin
    2006 Raul Zamudio: Christoph Ruckhäberle, Flash Art, Juli 2006
    Roberta Smith: Art in Review: Christoph Ruckhäberle, The New York Times, 07.04.2006
    2005 Christoph Ruckhäberle - Die Flasche Bakbuk (catalog), Zach Feuer Gallery, New York / Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig / Sutton Lane, London / Galleri Nicolai Wallner, Copenhagen
    Gregory Volk: Figuring the New Germany, Art in America, June 2005
    2004 Christoph Ruckhäberle - Zirkus (catalog), LFL Gallery, New York
    Joao Ribas: Debut. Discovering emerging artists - Christoph Ruckhäberle, ArtReview, September 2004
    Ken Johnson: Christoph Ruckhäberle, The New York Times, 16.07.2004
    2002 Christoph Ruckhäberle (catalog), Galerie Kleindienst, Leipzig
    Gregor Hohenberg: Neue School, The New York Times