The artist devotes his efforts to creation in real space and time. He puts together multimedia performances, installations, videos, architectural realisations and travelling theatrical shows. The first phase of his creations falls into the era of the Communist regime, when he often came into conflict with government authorities (the powers that be) and was forced to realise his projects in unofficial spaces.
At that time, he attended many events, exhibitions and symposia of the „other“ culture (Malostranské dvorky, Prague 1981, Symposium na chmelnici, Mutějovice 1983, etc.). This cultural was specific in that it was neither officially banned nor permitted. However, the permanent threat from party-monitoring and repressive bodies loomed over it. Even prior to the start of his studies at the Academy, Ruller began to develop his own specific approach to the creative process. He studied, in fact, classic sculpture, which at the time was the only official option for realising artistic works in 3D space. However, his works were otherwise quite far from this traditional field. He became acquainted with current trends in Western art, whose artistic creations he often understood not to be as the production of artefacts, but rather as a time-space, mental event. Ruller’s approach can be seen, for example, in the installation event – Prášení na konci chodby / Dust at the End of the Hall (Brno City Hall, 1984). Here the artist combines many alternative fields: temporal activity and movement (work with his own body) and space installation. Here a sort of revived statue came into being: during the event the body moved around in a mass of loose material, and when the event concluded, all that remained was a negative print of the body. This work has both optical and haptic qualities. The result is a form from which a specific statue could be created, which was after all the artist’s objective. The piece’s message comes from its incompleteness, its fragmentedness and its scenicness. The artist uses similar methods elsewhere. He gradually begins to test technical media, photographs, and video. These resources serve not only for recording, but he also uses them during the events themselves. The medium’s timing is also important.
The artist defines the work and, in the process, the space as four-dimensional. For example, the video, Mánes v Mánesu (video – encaustic) uses a moving image, which is covered however by a wax. Its primary quality is its durability. The artist’s work is on one hand very conceptually demanding (here we could find parallels with certain philosophical theories), and on the other hand it is expressive and dramatic. The author is, as a rule, promoter of his own events (in the spirit of body art). His messages can appear to be timely (perhaps even political), but they mainly concern basic questions of an ontological nature (therefore Ruller’s creations call to mind alchemic or cabalist concepts).
Realizations in Architecture (selection):
UMĚLÁ KRAJINA, přehrada Dalešice (& K. Rechlík)
NÁVRAT K ŽIVLŮM, rozptylová loučka, hřbitov Bítov
PANYCHIDA, obřadní síň, hřbitov Brno-Židenice
DĚTSKÉ HŘIŠTĚ, Slovanský ostrov, Praha
BRÁNA, Spalovna, Brno
Theatre Stages (selection):
DIVADLO V POHYBU II., Divadlo na Provázku, Brno
LABYRINT, J. A. Komenský/Ludvík Kundera, DNP, Brno
ŠAŠEK A KRÁLOVNA, Boleslav Polívka, DNP, Brno
ZKÁZA HLAVNÍHO MĚSTA, bratři Strugačtí, DNP, Brno
BOŽSKÁ KOMEDIE, Dante Alighieri, DNP, Brno
Akce-prostředí 1974-1989, monografický katalog, Host, Brno
Performance since 1960 - Abrams New York (USA)
Performance-Ritual-Process - Prestel Munich 1993
4 Czech Artists - Hocherl Verlag Munich 1993
Europa Europa cat. vol. 2 Bonn 1994
Výtvarné umění 4/91, 4/94, 3-4/95, 1-2/96
Architecture Sept. /89
News Week 43/89, 13/90
High Performance 30/91
Documenta 8 cat. Kassel 1987
Neue Bildende Kunst2/94
Zavadil, Karel: Tomáš Ruller, rozhovor, Art and Antiques, duben 2006, s. 54-65.