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Max Ruf at Union Pacific / London

Max Ruf
Phthalo Green

Union Pacific
17-19 Goulston Street
 E1 7TP London
http://unionpacific.co.uk/
































STILL
An unfocused gaze held momentarily upon a discarded paper. White glossy surface yellowed under the dulled glow of street lamps, the bold graphic layout of the page is disturbed by a pockmarked texture of scratches that moves across the surface creating an almost seamless consistency with the coarse background of concrete. The top banner a grubby but intended pastel blue, bordered by a pre-generated curve, stroked with white and filled left to right by preselected purple, blue, red. Screening down a female figure in black night robe caught in mid step, left foot forward, right arm perched upwards supporting her weight on a largely scuffed out to reveal the paper stock. A white mat is thrown to the forefront with an unexplained protrusion reaching down from the corner warping its perspective, between a softly laid out bathroom textile and a graphic speech bubble. 
"A warm welcome for wet feet" 
AS SEEN ON TV


PAN RIGHT
AN ENHANCED ARTIFICIALITY TO THE NUMEROUS BULBS OF LIGHT GLOWING SYNTHETIC SHADES OF RED, PINK, YELLOW, BLUE. TEMPERED BY THE SCREEN, MISTY AND CONDENSED, WITH PATTERNS THAT MOMENTARILY FOCUS, FORMING SMALL INTERLOCKING ISLANDS THAT REACH OUT FROM AND BECOME SEPARATED BY CONTINENTS, TO SUBSEQUENTLY DISAPPEAR INTO THE BANAL GRADIENT OF GREY TARMAC RISING UP INTO DULL BLACK HORIZON. THE FOREGROUND IS INSISTENT, A CURVED PLASTIC BAR UNFLATTERINGLY VISIBLE, A SHADE OF YELLOW THAT GREENS AROUND THE EDGE LIKE BADLY MIXED PAINT, NONE OF THE DUSKY ROMANCE OF THE LIGHTPLAY.

Laboured frictions of surfaces clicking over rising in intensity. Shuffling. Sharp bell rings


SWEEPING PAN RIGHT

 Distracted glances backwards against the sweeping pan tries to capture some detail against the fogged, uniform black texture only affording a cursory distinguishing of mass, a voluminous tower reaching upwards beyond the frame, overlooking more modest outcrops.

                       HIS HANDS CLASPED AROUND THE DANGLED YELLOW GRIP PULL UPWARDS BRINGING WEIGHT OFF THE FLOOR AND THE NUMEROUS TINY MIRRORS SOWN INTO HIS HAT REFLECT UNDER THE STRIP LAMP. 

THE UNIFORM TEXTURE OF BLACK GREY GIVES WAY TO A SERIES OF OVERLAPPING GRIDS. INFRASTRUCTURAL BEAMS ON HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL PLANES SUPPORTED BY SPINDLED UPRIGHTS ANCHORING HUNDREDS OF GLASS SHEETS, FORMING A MOMENTOUS CURVED WALL STRETCHING FROM THE CORNER AND BEYOND THE FRAME. LED BLUE IS RADIATED FROM WHAT COULD BE AN ENLARGED PEG BOARD, AN AMATEUR ELECTRONICS SIGNAGE OR CRAFTWORK WITHOUT THE RESOLUTION FOR A SEAMLESS DIGITAL IMAGE, ONLY CAPABLE OF ATOMISED SHAPES WHICH FORM AT A DISTANCE FROM THE EYE. ALL THE HOLES HAVE SIMPLY BEEN PLUGGED AS AN EXTERIOR DESIGN.

ZOOM

  (The tops of the bollards are either miniaturised crowns or inflated lemon juicers. The former would be continuous with the obelisk like base and decorative stars, rendered in the same utilitarian shades as the road surface marks, a kind of tragicomic embodiment of sovereignty through street furniture. Somehow they are more convincing as lemon juicers though, bloated and weighted through a brute casting that eschews light touch and precision of manufacture) 

CUT
Foregrounded and encased, precise intersections of lines visualise routes, distances, locations, their relationships along a broad vertical trajectory for ease of use rather than accuracy.
\

SCANNING UPWARDS, SQUINTING SLIGHTLY

 Luton Airport Pkwy - 05:09 On time
Mill Hill Bway - 05:09 On time 
Otford 3 05:24 On time 

"The driver’s only just turned up. He needs to taxi in from Smithfields. Have you got a flight to catch? 07:30? You’ll be alright. Then they leave it to frontline staff to take the shit, I just tell them, don’t tell me, what I meant to do about it? Tell the fucking driver, know what I mean. They always say ’Oh he’ll be there early’"

OUTWARD SIGHS EXHALED BY ALL.

(Leaned, propped, slumped against various convenient architectural features. The feeling is one of wanting to share but being caught between weariness, alertness, anxiety, boredom, indifference and inevitability, such that its easier to stay solitary, keep scanning for information you already searched for and registered before you left) 
CUT
FURTHER GRIDDING OPPOSES TEXTURED PANELS 
SCANNING DOWNWARDS

 Perforated and breathable, border broken by the extruding flatscreen casing, casting a shadow which diffuses into a marbled texture of stone that might be Castle Travertine Chocolate (L)450mm x (W)450mm cut to rectangular sections descending beyond the bottom of the frame. Further grids are layered within the frame from a backdrop of pleated solar panels overlayed with no transparency by annotation, EXCEL green infomercial bar charts and crudely aligned clipart.

’The total electrical energy generated this week is enough to: toast 190426.9 slices of toast’
 ’The total electrical energy generated this week is enough to: roast 927.7 roast dinners’ 
’The total electrical energy generated this week is enough to: boil 77310.8 cups of tea’ 
’The total electrical energy generated this week is enough to: wash 1947357.2 dishwasher loads’ 
’The total electrical energy generated this week is enough to: iron 45702.5 shirts’

CUT 

3 shades of green competing for your attention in trying to be of assistance. Flashing LED green that doesn’t quite resemble a shade rather than light focused dispersing colour outwards - mechanism is working. Flat industrial green inset by an excessively big button more like a clowning prop or party badge - Emergency Push. ’High Strung’ Sherwin-Williams, ’spilled out of the 1970’s, pasted on by a round sticker

’Talk to us, We’re here to help’

(The boredom and weariness has really given way by this point where you begin to take note of the restless standing and sitting of bodies around you. The anxiety is shared, almost. You’ve focused disinterestedly at the digital information boards trying to summon up clever metaphors for what the unintentionally uneven purple gradient might be symptomatic of. You’ve stared lazily at the cleaning trough, perfectly positioned on the floor between two tubular architectural barriers, with long wooden handles similarly symmetrically upright and parallel, wondering if this was assembled. But all you know is that the Sevenoaks train is in 32 minutes and it’s not your one)

CUT

"Taken from a series of high vantage points...each panoramic picture is made by combining up to a hundred separate images to create a final image with exceptional detail and clarity to catch the mood and flavour of these startling vistas." 

The height is improbable. It falls short of a birds eye perspective; too withdrawn from the ground for film or television; too elevated for capturing a horizon. It must be the ’assisted realism’ of tourist postcards, a perspective that tries to simultaneously immerse you in the fantasy whilst making the wider horizon of possibilities available to the eye. It’s not exotic enough, with the sweeping track of muddy water very stingily broken from the expanding subdivisions of muggy blotches by single files of green caricature mounds of modelled vegetation.
 PULL BACK AND TRACK RIGHT
High pitched ringing cuts through murmured conversation, live voice hindered by door and through radio Looking outwards the dulled strip lighting can only illuminate a confusion of inside and out. Vaguely figurative suggestions are filled by a beaded texture, projected weakly onto a grid of 2 x 4 black stroked squares almost reading like frames of a motion study with figures taking successive positions until the left corner reveals a surprisingly deft lurch forward, half pirouette and exit.
TRACK RIGHT

 Inside and outside begin to form definite boundaries, less confusion and more double exposure. The beaded texture crystallizes into a textile motif that is still rather oblique, struck through by brick sprayed with letterform and intermittent shades of green. The top of the frame has introduced a global light evenly distributed replacing the intense glares or relegating them to passing incisions. Angled infrastructures cut, intersect, frame, pole, beam, brick across the middle band of the image in a play between foreground and horizon that continually cuts attention entirely to black. 
LABOURED PAN DOWN
accompanied by sliding of polyester, nylon, vinyl in a rustled cut resting unfocused on black reflection trawled by thumbnails, mechanic and pictographic. Boundaries have given way 

A SIMPLE VIEW OF TREES, FIELDS, LIGHT INDUSTRIAL BUILDINGS, WITH THE FIELDS INTERSECTING WITH FENCES AND ROADS, EXACTLY WHAT YOU WOULD EXPECT TO FIND SOMEWHERE BETWEEN ST ALBANS CITY AND HARPENDEN.

THE TRACKSIDE OBSCURES YOUR VIEW

 (You can’t really see anything until you go on the free wifi and find that the closest point you can reach is under the bridge next to Harpenden car park. A rusted lattice work of crumbling Buckingham Green metal slats reinforces the concrete weight. The surrounding walls still have some rare pockets of the original ebullient Langwith Red Rustic Brick but its primarily chipped, faded, snagged, caked to a flattened dusk of exhaust) 
DRAG LEFT 3 CLICKS
"Green Lights All the Way"

STUNNING WIDE ANGLE SWEEPING ACROSS DENSE PINE OUTCROPS CAUGHT ALMOST IN SILHOUETTE AGAINST THE SUN RAYS STRIKING ’THE CLOUDS, "THE CHIEF ORGAN OF SENTIMENT", WHOSE SHAPES MATERIALIZE WITHOUT RESOLVING INTO PATTERNS OR FIXED FORMS’.

YOUR EYES CONTINUE TO SCAN

Within the allowed perimeter of the next click the landscape is literally torn from within, the soiled grey pasted undersides of print flayed outwards to reveal from the bottom of the thigh down, a leg, rolled up denims to knee and a red converse shoe treading on a perfectly masked square of lawn, frayed grassy edges immaculately cut with blades of shadow. 

JOLT UPWARDS

Neon green rings rendered with full lighting and volume chain together from a single disc to form the cheering face of a fattened pig emblazoned upon the night sky
"Percy Pigs 
Road hogs, 
but in a good way" 
ACCIDENTAL SWIPE OF THE TRACKPAD 

GALVANIZED STEEL POLE CUTS SCREEN THROUGH THE MIDDLE OF THE DENSE LEAVES OVERLAPPING HUES OF LEAFY GREEN TO HARVEST GOLD SCORED BY INTERSECTING BRANCHES, PUSHED UP AS A SINGLE SURFACE TO THE FACE OF THE SCREEN, BOUNDED BY A SEMI-TRANSPARENT WHITE FRAME, 

FOLLOWING THE CURSOR AS IT PULLS LEFT

shifting in scale and wrapping to perspectival planes inconsistently correlating to depicted volumes within the image. The secure bike shed is the limit of this search.
 CUT SMOOTH TRACK

DOWNWARDS

JOLTY TRAILING OF BALSAM BAG, DOUBLED AND MIRRORED IN THE COTTON JACKET.

 At each stage of descent a small window opens up to frame

PERFECTLY BALANCED ROWS OF ORANGES STACKED HORIZONTALLY AND PYRAMIDALLY, IN ROWS FILLED UP TO THE NECK REVEALING A VENDORS HEAD WITH WHITE HAT. A JIGSAW OF DISTINCT FIELDS CUT BY 2 SWEEPING TARMAC TRACKS AND AN EQUATOR. MIDNIGHT BLUES GRADED LIKE WHISTLER’S THAMES BUT ILLUMINATED BY INVASIVE SEARCH LIGHTS.

JOLTY TRAILING

CLEAN REFLECTIVE SYNTHETIC FABRICS
 FADE TO BLACK

There’s a large elliptical cut out of Peter Capaldi’s torso, stroked with a few points of purple, revealing an interior of luridly coloured semi transparent innards that could be bodily if they weren’t so uniformly spherical. A purple hue continues to run steadily through his suited body, running effortlessly through the diagrammatic cog wheels onto comical light rays emanating outward at regular intervals, into discs of candy, diffusing gently into an almost imperceptible reflection off the dappled white tiles

(Your eyes have to look down as to not attract too much attention as there are limited excuses for openly 
recording seemingly arbitrary details in such a surrounding) 

PAN FORWARDS FACE DOWN

There are flickered suggestions of difference en route but most of the fixtures are purple, just purple. Well some isn’t actually purple but for the sake of this lets call it purple. Various shades, hues, codes, opacities, intensities, absorptions, embodied in different materials, embossed by precise surfaces, distributed through pattern, characterised in motifs etc. Much of it isn’t purple. But it’s essentially purple. With different adjectives

(Finally you can actually look out unhindered except for the occasional grain of the glass window pain. You are at a height where you see an expanse but retain the scale of bodies in relation to the heterogeneous engineerings that both connect purposefully whilst in other instances remain scattered and isolated. The space is awash with movements;operational, directed, angled, targeted. Even liming bodies are only seemingly so, on call, dressed in high visibility and framed in logistical dioramas)

INADVERTENT PAN DOWN 

There is a frame where the vacuum formed curvature and recess of the lid, fitted plug and spherical tab, debossed motifs and warning sign vectors, wrapped corrugated sleeve form continuous lines of engineering, bridging the inside and outside. 

SLOW TRACK RIGHT

"Stories of the street portray unique narratives as seen through the eyes of international photographers"

YOUNG WOMEN’S LEG IN BLACK TIGHTS FRAMED AGAINST DENSE COLLAGE OF FLYPOSTERS 
YOUNG MAN’S HAND GRASPING TABLET PRECISELY CUT TO ALLOW ACCESS TO PADLOCKED METAL ELECTRICAL SOCKET TERMINAL 
MANICURED HAND HOLDS COIN ENGRAVED WITH LAKE SCENE BETWEEN TWO RED POLISHED FINGERS

PAN FORWARDS FACE DOWN

The grain of Bandura Bologna Oak is marshalled in comfortable vertical widths giving a natural direction to follow. Sequences of pipings, Footwear, bags adjusted to movements, navigating retractable barrier posts and safety clutch systems. The free newspaper awkwardly held between bag, under arm, in hand with phone, ticket and passport opened to photo page, keeps jutting in to the view, increasingly so as it descends from it’s precise folding without even being opened.

CUT 

EVERY TICKET WINS £1,000 IN GU12 4EX, HA8 5BD, IP5 1EP, NR1 2HZ, TW14 8NA 

TURN

SAMUEL RAE COMPLETES A LIFESTYLE SURVEY AND FAILS TO TICK ’DO NOT SHARE MY DETAILS’ BOX 

CUT

(Fresh air rushes in. Following parquet bricks, a seemingly infinitepermutation of arrangements by shade, wear and grain, you are in the elements and the structure is a provisional shield for the transition. It’s a lower league stadium dugout that doesn’t really protect you from rain but locates you just closer to the action than crowd. Maybe its actually the same company. There is no temporary enclosure, with its own floating atmosphere encased by suspension and concertina fixtures. There are no glossed, contemporary photographic portraits investigating cultural difference. Brick gives way to frequently repaired, aggregate heavy concrete mixes, stroked by clean white and yellow, slightly browning tread plates, rivets, hinges, rigs and steps that you begin to ascend.)

"Step up to lounge luxury" 
CUT 
Unrelenting sound of extraction.

CRYING BABY 

The porthole is entirely fogged with light and only very tenuous differences of opacity become visible, less to do with the actual outside and more the adjustment of the eye. Its uniform, dingy cavernous, with surfaces immediately pushed against you, although occasionally stoked by light as if through blinds, evoking Eric Fischl for probably less than a second. Panning across a bright shoulder is cut between the seats and some depth is registered, the texture and pattern is something like an inverse Peterborough United (away) 1993-4 or a highly saturated Norwich City (home) 1992-3.

PAN DOWN

Past three marks that could only be described as gouges, proceeding down further along soft purple striped folds, meshed netting holding laminated card, reaching a crumpled apex between two stone washed legs.

DESCENDING BETWEEN THEM, ACCELERATING AND PAUSING 

Hovering over criss crossed lines, stitching together familiar cut shapes of leather that are only conspicuously absent of any other marking.

A NONDESCRIPT PAIR OF TRAINERS (It becomes impossible to focus on anything but the comical loop of lace, oversized and strikingly in focus, from this angle centred whilst the typically irritating knotty centre is somehow concealed. It’s so big it droops all the way over the curve of the foot to the base of the sole, almost a decorative feature in place of the hang tag)

FASTEN 

The dull lighting dims to almost complete shade allowing hazy forms to emerge overexposed through the porthole 
CRANING OVER

It’s impossible to register a stable viewpoint. The glare is permeated by saturated greens burned to orange exceeded by bright white. The focus is increasingly lost and regained, a flickering of shape, hue and motion, continually altered, adjusted and replenished. The only consistency being the horizontal plane we track past until this is lost to an indistinguishable fog and increasing vibrations.

CUT 

STABILIZE 

PANNING FURTHER ACROSS GREY SEAMLESSLY TRANSITIONS 

ATTEMPTING TO POSITION 

Shuffled materials, unstretched, unclicks and increasingly audible voice exchanges.

This text was published on the occasion of the exhibition Phthalo Green, at Union Pacific, London, following conversations between Max Ruf and Ali Eisa, and in response to the authors travel between Wandsworth Road, London and Vilnius International Airport, Lithuania. 
Ali Eisa is an artist living and working in London. He also works collaboratively as half of Lloyd Corporation.