Ruth Erdt

Family Affair

Stauffacher2 Vera Leonac Erdt


My largest workseries, comprising about a thousand analogue films, is currently being processed and professionally archived. Several publications have already emerged from this cycle of works, including THE GANG 2001 and NICHT ZITTERN 2018, both Lars Müller Verlag, LIAR LÜGNER 2019, kodoji press. Converted, that is an estimated 37'000 individual images created over 40 years.

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Pablo, Ruth, Eva, Agosto 2021 Genova

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While going through the archive, a new selection is compiled under the title FAMILY AFFAIRS and published on my website. This work is processual, it starts with research and ends with a new series of works, both from the archive and in combination with new images.

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Based on research of various sources in art and media as well as visits to places where art is shown, I take up the theme of artist / mother / communities of life and destiny. The publication BEYOND THE FAMILY by Meike Kröncke in Wilhelm Fink Verlag 2012 is one of the starting points. I am interested in the narrative of the elective family, of living together, the position of the artist, who additionally works with autobiographical material in the role of the mother.

we are family, Exhibition Alte Fabrik Rapperswil,  2017

we are family, Exhibition Alte Fabrik Rapperswil, curated by Alexandra Blättler, 2017 Image © Dominik Zietlow

The book BEYOND THE FAMILY explores the staging of community in contemporary photography, the discourse of family and family of choice, identity and identification, the importance of kinship ties and friends/caregivers as familiar, socially competent groups and their influence on the resulting image.

Based on three artists, Nan Goldin, Elinor Carucci and my work, Meike Kröncke deals with the themes of the sense of family and post-traditional forms of life, privacy and intimacy, the body and performance as well as the theme of self-narratives. The book focuses on the publications The Devil's Playground (USA 2003) by Nan Goldin, Closer (Israel / USA 2002) by Elinor Carucci and my book The Gang (Switzerland 2001).


Besetzte Höschgasse / squatted Höschgasse Zurich


Ottikerstrasse Zürich 1984


Hüttenkopfstrasse Zurich

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The chosen form of life of the community of destiny and the family of choice, in which I find myself to this day and which has / had a significant influence on my work, is questioned and examined in comparison to conventional representations of family and others.

A central element is the terminology of artist, mother, daughter - or daughter, mother artist. This also refers to the position of the artist who becomes a mother, whose daughter becomes an artist and who in turn has a daughter and becomes a mother. Following this generational process with the camera is a starting point for the new series of pictures in combination with the archive. These are themes that rarely enter the art context, are quickly seen as private and read without a political factor. In this context, my work can be interpreted as a photographic language that has consciously dealt with autobiographical material in image and text since the 1980s and explores the division between life - art as well as the staging and the concept of authenticity of the photographic image on the basis of this material.

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Hüttenkopfstrasse Zurich 1996


Ottikerstrasse Zurich 1984