Ruth Buchanan’s work interrogates systems that appear repeatedly in the production of culture. Whteher archival, historical or fictional, formats of display (for example a book or vitrine), structures for grouping material (for example a private collection or library), or spaces where the processing of material takes place (such as a studio or gallery) recur in her work both conceptually and materially. Buchanan considers the design of these systems of organization in its most expanded form; design as a form of devising and implementing power structures, of rationalising information, or of strategically staging the parameters of engagement. Buchanan works across a variety of media including sculpture, photography, text, video, performance, sound and graphics, to stage encounters where the subjective body and the ‘objective’ system confront one another.
Ruth Buchanan was born in 1980 in New Plymouth (Te Ati Awa/Taranaki) and now lives and works in Berlin. She gained her BFA from the Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland, in 2002 and her MA (Fine Art) from the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, in 2007. From 2008-2009 she was a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Maastricht. Buchanan’s work has been exhibited extensively in Europe and in New Zealand. Recent projects include: Never Not a Body, Hopkinson Mossman, Auckland (2016); Or, a camera, Or, a building, Or, a screen, Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof, Hamburg (2015); Or a building, Badischer Kunstverein, Karlsruhe (2015), and in 2014 Buchanan made a solo presentation at Hamburger Bahnhof Museum für Gegenwart, Berlin, as part of A-Z. The Marzona Collection. In 2016, Buchanan staged two major exhibitions at New Zealand institutions: BAD VISUAL SYSTEMS, with Judith Hopf and Marianne Wex, Adam Art Gallery, Wellington; and The actual and its document, Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth, as well as participating in The 8th Climate, 11th Gwangju Biennale. Buchanan intiates and contributes to various forms of publishing, most recently releasing an artist’s record, Or, a camera Or, a building Or, a screen, published by Apparent Extent and Kunstverein Harburger Bahnhof.