The female lament in Ancient Greece was so disruptive, according to Anne Carson in her fascinating essay ‘The Gender of Sound’ (1992), that women were discouraged from ‘pour[ing] forth unregular cries […] within the earshot of men’. Ruth Novaczek’s emotive, fragmentary films – currently the subject of a retrospective at Kunstverein Gartenhaus, Vienna – are equally unruly, giving a platform to myriad female and non-binary friends to noisily expound their thoughts on love and life. In doing so, the London-based artist and poet raises a plethora of questions: what does the female gaze look like? When is an artwork a self-portrait? And when is a film a text?

 

2021 Francecsca Gavin, "Ruth Novaczek Twists the Trope of the ‘Broken’ Women" Read full text

In one of her films someone says ​“she didn’t have an ending then.” And Ruth’s own work starts with an ending. What’s punk about her work is it’s entirely post. It’s post Ruth Novaczek. She told her story and now she’s constructing a teeming fabric of lost female others.

 

2021 Eileen Myles, "Deliberately Lost", Read full text

"Absence, as many a Frenchman has theorized, is fundamentally linked to desire: It is the idée fixe of “all amorous sentiment” (Roland Barthes) as well as the force that propels desire forward (Jacques Lacan, per Freud). The legacy of this psychoanalytic sentimental education serves as a kind of mental background for Ruth Novaczek and Monica Majoli’s recent exhibition here, which ties together several conceptual strands in their respective bodies of work: love, loss, memory, and artifice. At the exhibition’s fluttering, fickle heart is a disquieting question: To what extent is desire rooted in fiction?

 

2018 Tausif Noor, Artforum, 'Critic's Choice'. Read full text

"Her oeuvre is never lacking in brashness, intelligence perversity and wit. It is always dour and comic, a kind of diasporic standup that gets ventriloquized through bridges and animals and cigarettes and women’s faces and out the window of moving cars. Her palette is unpredictable. Her film can be sepia, black and white or almost neon."

 

2014, Eileen Myles

"Short and dirty, by turns wrenching and sweet, Ruth Novaczek’s films are unlike anything else produced under the dispiriting banner of ‘experimental filmmaking.’ They’re more like imagist poems, or perhaps – sharing the rigorous internal logic of a Jason Roades installation and the seductive incongruity of one of Joseph Cornell’s magic boxes – they’re more like sculpture. Novaczek’s films move a little too fast to be entirely grasped by conscious perception and yet you don’t want them to end. They’re as disturbing and pleasurable as a series of semi-consensual acts of intense and conflicted sex. You want to remember each fleeting fragment of footage, each audio grab, the staccato click of the dial on a rotary phone, the soft snap of a cigarette lighter (Radio 2011), the clacking of typewriter keys (Phoneo 2008), the frightening vertical lift of an industrial elevator (Alibi 2010) but later you find you can’t pull them apart. Which part was pain, which was pleasure?"

 

2011, Chris Kraus Read full text

More reviews

2021 Frieze, Top Five Shows to See in Europe this Autumn

2021 Francecsca Gavin, Ruth Novaczek Twists the Trope of the ‘Broken’ Women, Freize

2021 Eileen Myles, "Deliveratly Lost", Kunstverein Gartenhaus

2018 Tausif Noor, Artforum Critics' Pick, 'Monica Majoli and Ruth Novaczek at Queer Thoughts'

2018 Ruth Novaczek, Review of 'Lazzaro Felice' by Alice Rohrwacher, Another Gaze journal

2018 Sam Lipp, Queer Thoughts, Exhibition Program, Monica Majoli and Ruth Novaczek

2017 Madeleine Bernstorff, Jalta, Positionen zur Judischen Gegenwart. ‘Des-Integration’

2017 KIOSK magazine #95, with Maya Schweizer

2016 Ruth Novaczek, “Drifting Towards Cosmopolis”, European Review of History Vol 23

2016 Oberon Magazine, Interview with Chris Kraus

2015 Ruth Novaczek, ‘New Vernaculars and Feminine Ecriture: 21st Century Avant-Garde Film’, PHD, CREAM, University of Westminster

2015 Chris Kraus, 'Akademie X: Lessons in Art and Life', Phaidon Press London

2014 Ruth Novaczek, ‘The New World’ DVD

2011 Ruth Novaczek, ‘Radio’ DVD with text by Chris Kraus

2008 Alisa Lebow, ‘First Person Jewish’, University of Minnesota Press

2008 Lisa E. Bloom in ‘Jews and Sex’ (Ed. Nathan Abrams) Five Leaves

2006 Ruth Novaczek, ‘Selected Works 1990-2005’  DVD (Lux) 2006

2006 Rachel Garfield ‘On The Articulation of Cultural Identity’, Third Text

2005 Rosie Thomas, ‘Growing Up In Americana’, Next Level Magazine

2004 Jackie Hatfield, Stephen Littman (Eds) 'Experiments In Moving Image' Westminster University

1986 Cordelia Swann and Tina Keane 'A Camera Of One’s Own' Film and Video Umbrella