Robert Rutöd


Robert Rutöd was born 1959 in Vienna, Austria. His early pursuit was painting, but from 1978 his focus turned to photography. His works from these years later appeared with some of his absurd texts in the book grayscales. early b&w photographs 1978-1988.

Between 1979 and 1993, Robert Rutöd wrote and directed short films, which were screened at various international film festivals. In the mid-90s, he increasingly devoted himself to the design of books and applications for digital new media. In 2004 he returned to photography; since 2009, he presents these images to a wider audience.

In his personal projects, Robert Rutöd investigates the human paradox, with its sometimes tragicomic aspects. In 2009 this focus resulted in the photo book Less Is More and three years later, Right Time Right Place. For this he received in 2012 the New York Photo Award and the Special Prize of the Czech Center of Photography.

Robert Rutöd’s photographs have been shown at numerous photography festivals and exhibitions throughout Europe, America and Asia; his work has been widely published in magazines and on blogs.


Right Time, Right Place

Being at the right place at the right time is usually associated with happiness and success. But what happens when we are at the right place at the wrong time? Do we even know that this is the right place? And what if it turns out that it is the wrong place after all? But the right time!

“Right Time Right Place is a collection of photographs I made in the last few years on my travels through Europe. The images revolve around the question of whether it is possible for a person to be in the right place at the right time. Is the ideal state of space and time something we are awarded or is it a state we have long been living in without being aware of our good fortune? I hope I have not succeeded in answering this question. Nothing fails more pathetically than an artist’s attempt to explain the world and its relationships. Rather, my work leads to the conclusion that the world cannot be explained. Once an exhibition visitor in New York told me that, when viewing my photos, she felt that the protagonists seemed to be kind of disobedient. I really liked that interpretation."


Milky Way

Legend has it that in the 9th century the heavenly play of lights of the Milky Way led to the discovery of the tomb of the Apostle James. The location in the 'field of stars' (campus stellae in Latin) soon became one of the most important pilgrimage sites: Santiago de Compostela.

"Inspired by the Luis Buñuel film of the same name, I have long been fascinated with a journey to Santiago de Compostela. When asked where the Way of St. James begins, in Spain they say: El camino comienza en su casa – The trail begins in your home. That suited me fine. So we got into our old Passat and drove off.

With this, we also lost our chance to receive the so-called Compostela – a certificate confirming successful completion of the pilgrimage – on arrival. Only those who travel to Santiago on foot, by horse or donkey, or cycle are regarded as official pilgrims on the Way of St. James. I wouldn't expect any horse or donkey, and certainly not my legs, to endure the 6,000 km that lay ahead of us.

Traveling as unofficial pilgrims, without the pilgrim's pass and without any higher purpose – apart from the quest for exciting photographic depictions of everyday life – we returned to our starting point, Vienna, five weeks later. The journey was the reward"


Less is More

"In Less Is More I philosophise about God and the universe.
And about what you can leave out without being left with nothing."

Robert Rutöd