16 September 2023

Artists’ Syllabus: Ruth Höflich

Testing Grounds Emporium, 438 Queen St


Melbourne Art Library is delighted to welcome Ruth Höflich to lead our next Artists' Syllabus.

For this Artists' Syllabus, Ruth will discuss Esther Leslie’s essay: “Fog, Froth and Foam: Insubstantial matters in substantive atmospheres” in relation to some themes in her own filmic works. The informal presentation will also draw on examples of prose and poetry that have informed her ideas.

Artists’ Syllabus invites local artists to select and share a text that has been influential to their practice. By sharing selected passages, the artist will give unique insight into the significance of the text from their perspective. Through this exploration we will seek to discover the direct, tangential or unexpected ways the text has had an impact on the artists’ chosen discipline/s, creative process, and approach to presenting completed works. In group discussion, we will untangle the themes explored in the text and bring attention to those formative passages which sparked an ‘ah-ha moment’ or cemented in the mind. More broadly, we will get together to exchange our ideas (and our reading lists).

We'll be meeting at the Melbourne Art Library at the Testing Grounds Emporium, 438 Queen St, Melbourne from 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm on Saturday, 16 September.

Supported by City of Melbourne Arts Grants.

Image: Ruth Höflich.

Esther Leslie is Professor of Political Aesthetics at Birkbeck, University of London in the UK and this particular essay was published as part of the anthology ‘Electric Brine’ edited by curator Jennifer Teets. The publication is associated with the online study group Matter in Flux of which Ruth is a member.

Ruth Höflich is an artist who works with moving image, photography and peer dialogue. Often starting with the photograph as the daily imprint of energy and information flows, her work combines speculative and experiential elements to animate the sub-visible and interstitial spaces of images and how we relate to them.

Superimposing different sensory and cognitive registers, her work builds on the history of montage techniques in experimental filmmaking where cadence is considered a tool for accessing new contingencies. Unseen images are anticipated through the space of relation or the milieu of the cut. In turn, each project becomes an exercise in form-finding and an attempt at articulating emergent properties, sense or atmospheres within existing architectures of sight and logic.

Her work has been screened and exhibited internationally, including most recently the National Gallery of Victoria (2023); Callies’s, Berlin (2023); Gertrude Contemporary (2022); TCB Inc. (2022); Rotterdam International Film Festival (2021); Images Festival, Toronto (2021); She Makes Noise, Madrid (2021); Pravo Ljudski Film Festival, Sarajevo (2021); Art Gallery of NSW (2021); Art Encounters, Timisoara (2021). She was the recipient of the the George Mora Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria (2019), and the Emerging Artist Award of the City of Munich (2016) and completed residencies at Banff, Canada and Grizedale Arts, UK amongst others. Currently a studio artist at Gertrude Contemporary, she also collaborates as part of Halpert/Höflich and is a member of the study collective Matter in Flux. She teaches into the Honours Program at Monash University as well as the Print and Drawing Department at the Victorian College of the Arts. Ruth holds an MFA from Bard College, NY.


12pm-5pm, Thursday-Sunday

Melbourne Art Library, Naarm
Testing Grounds Emporium,
438 Queen St,
Naarm / Melbourne VIC 3000
We acknowledge the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the traditional owners of the land on which we operate, and respect their enduring connection to country. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land.

Join our mailing list to stay in the loop about upcoming events and updates from the MAL team.
Donate to support independent arts practice.