Upstream Gallery

 April 2023

As Man stands to Nature, so stands Art to Man.
- Richard Wagner, 1849

The title of this show finds its inspiration in the thesis of Richard Wagner’s essay - Das Kunstwerk der Zukunft (1849): just as Mankind develops as the result of Nature’s conditions for the existence of Mankind - so too does Art develop as the result of the conditions mankind has set out for its manifestation.

Rudolph reflects on the current technological conditions set out by mankind for the existence and experience of art. As such, painting in VR - on the edge of presence and absence - is one of the core dichotomies of Rudolph’s work. The artist began using this medium as an exploration of the threshold between different realities, asking himself how one can create something that can be both present as well as absent at the same time. Painting in VR - and using AR to access these paintings - allows just that.

Once Rudolph paints something in VR with digital brush strokes, he looks for ways in which to give these digital brush strokes their materiality back, bringing them back to ‘our side’ of reality. The artist does this by painting details of the virtual works in a thick impasto technique with oil color, the physical results of which are at first glance abstract, but come alive as the AR-app recognizes the painting and the virtual painting appears at exactly the position where the artist painted the detail from. Only then do we, as the viewer, realize that the physical painting is part of a bigger digital whole.

The monumental painting Götterfries I (ATLAS Shrugged) forms the centerpiece of the exhibition. Using Rudolph’s AR-app, four figures from Greek mythology: Hermes, Europa, Atlas and Gaia (Rudolph’s Artificial Gods), appear out of the thick brush strokes on the screens of the visitor's phones. To the music composed by Dietrich Brüggemann the Gods perform a choreography. In his artwork Rudolph is appealing to all our senses and creating an immersive multi-sensory experience, combining oil paintings, augmented reality and music resulting in a Wagner-meets-Hollywood Gesamtkunstwerk.


For the Karachi Biennale 2022 I worked with the Shahnama, The Book of Kings, a 1000 year old Iranian poetry epic. It is the oldest book they had around in the school library of the NJV High School where my work is exhibited. You activate the work by scanning the illustration of Zarathustra from the book with the Simurgh App developed by me. The magical bird Simurgh appears and guides you on a trail outside the school building to three paintings that activate more AR paintings depicting stories from the Shahnama: 1. Simurgh appears 2. Rostam meets Tahmine (they will never meet again but she will have his child: Zohrab.) 3. Rostam kills Zohrab his own son without knowing only realizing it afterwards 4. Zahaak, an evil king who made a deal with the devil and subsequently had two snakes growing out of his shoulders. The snakes had to be fed with brains of young children. So every day two families had to sacrifice a child. He wasn’t very popular as a king. This whole work wouldn’t have come to life without the curatorial guidance of Faisal Anwar and his team. Kindly supported by the GOETHE-INSTITUT Pakistan.

mit Werken von:



Don Quijote reitet durch Thüringen, um sich der lebendigen Diskussion über die Windräder anzuschließen. Die Vergegenwärtigung des ewigen Idealisten Don Quijote hat auf dem Hügel der SPIEGEL|ARCHE Stellung bezogen — gegenüber den Windrädern, die die Landschaft bis zum Horizont prägen.

Die Arbeit DON QUICHOTE von Dennis Rudolph ist Teil der Gruppenausstellung ILLUSION, die Kunstwerke via Augmented Reality (AR) zeigt. Das Thema reflektiert das neue digitale Medium und unsere Klimadiskussion im freien Umfeld der SPIEGEL|ARCHE. Alle AR Arbeiten sind hier zum ersten Mal öffentlich zu sehen.

Die Besucherinnen und Besucher sind in dieser Ausstellung nicht nur aufmerksame Beobachter, sondern aktive Teilnehmer, die mit ihren Handys und Handlungen die Werke erst in Erscheinung bringen. Die SPIEGEL|ARCHE erweitert die Illusion mit ihrer Projektionsfläche, indem sie die reale Natur und Tierwelt einbezieht und selbst Teil der virtuellen Kunstwerke wird.


EUROPA, 2021

AR installation „EUROPA“ commissioned by Oude Kerk for the Museumnacht. The church is the oldest building of Amsterdam. It is build on a cemetery The tombstones create the floor on which you walk. People are given iPads at the entrance to scan the painting which triggers the virtual reality 3D painted figure EUROPA. It passes through the canvas to the tunes of Beethoven's 9th and wanders through the building while thousands of stock fotos of all the different cultures living in Europe are flashing on the tombstones.