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The Mystery of Nabokov...

The Mystery of Nabokov...

Allen Ruppersberg

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Born in 1944, Allen Ruppersberg belongs to the first generation of conceptual artists and participated in 1969 to the exhibition "When Attitudes Become Form".


His work often uses severals references, from pop culture to mass communication or from literature as language. It can appear autobiographic or self-reflexive, but does not use any specific medium, though text and image are prominent. The work procedes by "collages" and it humorously sets up plots that coud be be described as "decor", and setting up crossed references, both formal or symbolic.

Ruppersberg’s uses a fragmentary method that could in a sense be compared to apophenia, defined as an altered perception of the subject. It is a tendency to perceive connections and meaning between things that are not obviously related. "Perception goes beyond the rationality of the individual"2, in a form of thinking close to pareidolia.


The spectator is invited to speculate and to formulate hypotheses, as in the practice of magic and illusionism. The work look to be elucidable and the artist gives us clues but also creates red herring and missing pieces. The work is a game, and the visitor has to figure out of it a internal logic, even if the work includes hazard and randomless that abort any total achievement.

The Mystery of Nabokov... brings together a group of three works by Allen Ruppersberg, which are related to his studio that is both a work and a matrix. 

Image: Allen Ruppersberg, The New Five Foot Shelf, 2001

Allen Ruppersberg

The New Five Foot Shelf,

50 volumes and 44 posters

Allen Ruppersberg

A Mystery Of Nobokov's Room and
No, Sir, My Library Is Not Yours
, 1999

Handcut wood double-sided puzzle in a carboard box

Allen Ruppersberg

Chapter VI,

1 book and 1 poster

Allen Ruppersberg

Born in 1944, Allen Ruppersberg belongs to the first generation of conceptual artists and participated in 1969 to the exhibition "When Attitudes Become Form".


His work often uses severals references, from pop culture to mass communication or from literature as language. It can appear autobiographic or self-reflexive, but does not use any specific medium, though text and image are prominent. The work procedes by "collages" and it humorously sets up plots that coud be be described as "decor", and setting up crossed references, both formal or symbolic.

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