>DER GEMALTE RAUM / PAINTED SPACE<
Works from the Essl Collection in the Schömer House
28 Sept. 2012 – 01 April 2013
Curators: Prof. Agnes Essl, Andreas Hoffer, Günther Oberhollenzer
Organisation: Andreas Hoffer, Günther Oberhollenzer
The exhibition “Der Gemalte Raum” [Painted Space] in the gallery annex of the Essl Museum focuses on the relationship between art, space and architecture. The themes of the presentation are space as an area in the picture but also built and enclosed space in architecture as an occasion for painting. The positions selected by the collector Agnes Essl and the curators Andreas Hoffer and Günther Oberhollenzer range from the realist Georg Eisler through the artists of the New Leipzig School to abstract painters such as Günther Förg, Markus Prachensky and Esther Stocker.
The Schömer House was built 25 years ago by the architect and state prize-winner Heinz Tesar as a synthesis between a company headquarters and an art gallery, and is today considered to be one of his key works. For the Essl collector couple it offered the first opportunity for a permanent presentation of their collection of contemporary art in a space that was in keeping with it. As before, the Schömer House still serves the Essl Museum as a gallery in which essential themes of the collection can be taken up every year. For the 25th anniversary this is the concern with space itself, which has long played a central role for the Essls.
“Der Gemalte Raum” connects very different artistic positions of the last 40 years that share a concern with spatial structures and architecture. In abstract or concrete painting, space in a painting becomes “area”. The proportion and dynamics of areas of colour form the compositions, as can be seen particularly vividly in the works of Günther Förg, Esther Stocker or Markus Prachensky.
Ohne Titel, 2002
Acrylic on canvas
140 x 93 cm
Photo: Mischa Nawrata, Wien
Ulf Puder, an artist from the New Leipzig School, creates strange magical places in a specific colouring based on the commodity aesthetics of the former GDR. Similar deserted spaces can be seen with his painter colleague Peter Busch, while Christian Brandl’s painting is reminiscent of film sets by Alfred Hitchcock. The extremely dynamic space compositions of another Leipzig artist, Martin Kobe, are also deserted. Here the dynamism is achieved through space configurations that are highly charged through perspective and colour. Georg Eisler, one of the few Austrian realists in the post-war period, follows a completely different approach from the Leipzig artists in his painting; he is very close to people and their everyday life, as in the painting Das rote Gasthaus [The Red Inn], which captivates through its unpretentious view of reality, although in an impasto, very painterly way reminiscent of Herbert Boeckl. In black-and-white works painted with a stencil technique, the former street-art artist Clemens Wolf from Vienna tracks down the aura of empty industrial plants and ruins, such as the Sofiensäle (Sofia Halls), which were destroyed by a fire in 2001.
In Burgenland, the recently deceased Austrian artist Walter Pichler built his own tower- like houses for his sculptures – he mistrusted galleries because they did not come up to his aesthetic demands, and he created a perfect symbiosis of sculpture and architecture. He arrived at this ideal gallery space through numerous drawings; two works on paper in the exhibition testify to this.
The painting styles are complemented by a photographic work by the Leipziger Maix Mayer, a remake of a famous photo from the 1930s. The work is a homage to the architects of the “skyscraper boom” in New York who believed in progress. Standing in front of a curtain at a staged festivity, the architects are dressed as skyscrapers – they stand there, static, touchingly awkwardly, as monuments of built space.
All works are in the possession of the Essl Collection.
Artists in the Exhibition
Kaspar Bonnen, Christian Brandl, Peter Busch, Georg Eisler, Günther Förg, Ilse Haider, Martin Kobe, Maix Mayer, Walter Pichler, Markus Prachensky, Ulf Puder, Hans Rath, Daniel Richter, David Schnell, Esther Stocker, Helen Verhoeven, Mark Verlan, Clemens Wolf, Franz Zadrazil, Otto Zitko
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