In a consolidated American tradition that has found (since the dawn of photography) in the exploration and documentation of the crossing of the United States a subject through which to carry out both a mapping of the geographical and social reality of the nation, and the means by which to carry out an eschatological and initiatory path to the symbolic discovery / revelation and liberation of oneself, the work of Mark Ruwedel Seventy-Two and One Half Miles Across Los Angeles is inserted, continuing this extraordinary tradition.
The series sees us support the author in a journey completed between 2011 and 2014 which aims to retrace the footsteps of a close friend (Nigel Raab).
Mark Ruwedel’s meticulous journey begins at his home in Westchester and ends at the San Bernardino underground station and sees the author cross as many geographical, political and cultural boundaries as possible. A choice made by the author who betrays the desire to carry out a completed exploration as well as the need for a process that conceptualizes the experience itself that is formed, begins, takes place and ends within a cartographic premise that uses categories or the frames of those conceptual and performative practices of the sixties and seventies.
The views, the attractions, the circumstances, what is detected and what is simply suggested, the images, and everything that happens are something found and observed within a performative framework that led the author to perform or chase himself from a point A to a point B.
Taking place as a solitary exercise, aggravated by the constant perception and description of a desolation that before being visual is social and cultural, Mark Ruwedel’s path is an existential path. A crossing described in the formal arrangements of a raw realism in which to intuit the echo of a vision that matches the tones of other photographic works such as that of Ed Rusha, an author whose photographic books, and in particular the project on Los Angeles , have certainly provided an inspiration for this project.
Mark Ruwedel (b. 1954) is an American landscape photographer and educator. Ruwedel has written: “I am interested in revealing the narratives contained within the landscape, especially those places where the land reveals itself as being both an agent of change and the field of human endeavour.” He has made work depicting evidence of human presence in remote, barren and desert regions of North America, predominantly in black and white.
His books include Westward the Course of Empire, depicting the remains of abandoned railway lines in the landscape of the western United States and Canada; and Message from the Exterior, abandoned and decaying houses in desert communities around Los Angeles.
Ruwedel was Associate Professor at Concordia University, Montreal from 1984 to 2001 and has been Professor of Art at California State University, Long Beach since 2002. He is based in both California and coastal British Columbia.
In 2014 he was awarded both a Guggenheim Fellowship and the Scotiabank Photography Award. In 2018 he was shortlisted for the Deutsche Börse Photography Prize. He has had solo exhibitions at the Chinati Foundation, Presentation House Gallery and Southern Alberta Art Gallery. His work is held in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Photography, National Gallery of Art, National Gallery of Canada, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.