I AM NOT FREE BECAUSE I CAN BE EXPLODED ANYTIME
April 8–May 28, 2011
Sprüth Magers Berlin is pleased to present a new installation, I AM NOT FREE BECAUSE I CAN BE EXPLODED ANYTIME, by Los Angeles-based artist Sterling Ruby. The exhibition features a large number of works including the artist’s paintings, collages, metal, bronze, ceramic, fiber, urethane and formica sculptures. A paranoid fantasy of an exhibition, it manifests itself in a series of works that incorporate the letters RWB not only within their titles, but also as a color scheme of red, white, and blue—the instantly recognizable colors that represent the flag of the United States of America. In using this acronym, the artist creates a powerful dissociative reverie: USA becomes RWB.
The exhibition’s title takes its name from a collaborative painting made in 1983 by Jenny Holzer and the graffiti artist Lady Pink. Fascinated by this work for years, Ruby recently found that its self-referential slogan could be contextualized within current political discourse regarding terrorism, a reference to America’s obsession with freedom and whether it is hated for it. Ruby believes that the original work expresses a very real feeling of being caught in a universal war zone, but as with all of Holzer’s cryptic texts, it contains an ambiguity and can also be seen as expressing a kind of paranoid delusion.