To cite Claude Levi-Strauss, the engineer and the amateur constructor represent two completely different ways of behaving. For the engineer, there are only raw materials, which can be employed as desired, and disturbance factors, which are to be excluded. The amateur constructor may use waste material (also on a mental level) and fragments, which as it were bear witness to the history of the individual or to society. The amateur constructor does not begin with nothing, but he might perhaps accomplish a new combination of ready-mades. It is in this area that the artist Valentin Ruhry plays the role of someone legitimising a game, who in doing so endows it with greater scope and a meaningful context. (quot. Günther Holler-Schuster)
Newport Beach is a town on the Californian coast. In January 2010, an incidental snapshot was taken of a sunset over the Pacific. The special atmosphere and chromaticity of the light remind one of Caspar David Friedrich’s Mondaufgang über dem Meer (Moon Rising above the Sea). Since the volume of light also constitutes a sculptural material in the work of Valentin Ruhry, he took this photograph as the starting point for his new work New Port Beach.
New Port Beach is an installation composed of iron sections and fluorescent tubes. The first room presents an undulating light surface, a “frozen wave” covering about 20 sq ms. On the opposite wall is a series of photographs displaying a particular progression of colour, upon closer inspection of which one can see that it is always the same photograph mentioned above that is used, with two shades of colour overlayering it by means of various transparencies.