Texts - Sebastian Rug
Strict form in a jungle of tiny signs

Strict form in a jungle of tiny signs

Sebastian Rug conveys the fine art of precise line management at Galerie Werner Klein

Seen from a distance, an exhibition of works by Sebastian Rug looks like a series of grey A4 sheets. Only when you turn your attention to these marvels of draughtsman ship can you see their structure. Why is what we see here - and above all what we cannot see - so strange?

Because the pencil traces of dots and lines are so microscopic that you can't help wondering whether the 49-year-old artist, who lives in Potsdam, is working with a magnifying glass. "No," assures Werner Klein, in whose gallery Sebastian Rug's "New Drawings" are presented, all the works are made with the naked eye.

These pictures want to be explored with patience. Their lines intersect as tightly as the threads of the finest fabrics. Time is condensed into matter here. The eye can only follow the signs in places and then shears off, as the multitude of traces on the paper does not allow the eye to follow them for a longer period of time. This is not an optical gimmick, but an accumulation of substance. In fact, one never comes to an end when viewing these images. Rug leads his audience to the limits of perception. For him, however, the drawing of boundaries also poses a challenge. For the drawings always contain a white border on the sheet. Like grey panels, they seem to be inserted into the white background. The web of lines and dots, however, has to begin and end again and again to form a rectangle. In this effort to tackle something and let it go again at the right moment, a theme of life is touched upon.

In their non-objectivity, these flat fabrics refer to the gesture of their making. The will to leave a trace does not express itself in the grand gesture but maintains its presence in the continuity.

And this gains its emphasis in the great formal rigour with which Sebastian Rug tames the apparent jungle of signs. With the concentration it takes to approach these pictures, they create a silence that has a metaphysical dimension.

Thomas Linden
in: Kölnische Rundschau, 10 October 2023