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Nelly Rudin

Winkel- / Fragmentobjekt XI, 2003

Painted aluminium

Ø 226 cm, 4 parts

© VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2022

Photo: Gerhard Sauer


Nelly Rudin embarked on her creative output relatively late in life. Born in 1928 in Basel, she trained as a visual designer and subsequently worked in various advertising studios in Zurich. She only produced her first artistic works in the mid-1960s, having her first solo show at the age of 40.


It is not always easy or wise to trace an artist’s work back to her biography. And yet many things suggest that Nelly Rudin’s artistic output began at a point which many artists have to strive at for years to attain: the point where one understands what it means to reduce something to the essentials. It is precisely this highly concentrated ability that Rudin has demonstrated right from her early works – irrespective of whether in her paintings or objects, her works in aluminium or acrylic glass, or quite simply in her sketches.


In her Winkel- / Fragmentobjekt XI [Angle / Fragment Object XI], we find aluminium angles whose sides taper outwards from an imaginary centre. The four angles are all of the same shape – with one longer and one shorter side. They are set along the diagonals of an invisible square, and the surfaces facing the diagonals have been lacquered using the primary colours. The effect that Nelly Rudin achieves through this highly reduced constellation of form and colour is immense. The work remains more or less concealed when one views it face on directly at the centre point where the diagonals intersect. Viewed from this vantage point, all that can be seen are the white upper surfaces of the angles and feint chimerical colours where the hues inside the angles are reflected on the white background. But if one moves in any direction from this central point, the colours red, yellow, blue and green become the dominant structuring features, while the white remains merely recognizable as a shadow.


The artistic approach of “less” giving rise to “more” demands exceptional precision in the artist’s visual faculties and thought. Nelly Rudin draws on the rich possibilities of perception in order to transpose them through a host of sketches into a minimal point of departure. Once the piece is realized, she entrusts it once again to the possibilities of perception. And in such a way as if everything had been perfectly simple, right from the outset.



Nelly Rudin

1928 born in Basel

2013 died in Uitikon (CH)