Martin Schnur

1964 (Vorau/Styria), lives and works in Vienna

In 1982–1985 he attended the school of applied arts in Graz, followed in 1985–1990 by studies at Vienna Academy of Fine Arts under Joannis Avramidis, from whom he broke away as a pupil. In 1990 he was assigned a study project in New York. In 1991 his works were on show at Galerie Würthle in Vienna. In 1994 the artist took part in the Graphic Design biennial in Zagreb, three years later (in 1997) exhibiting at Galerie Schafschetzy, Galerie Eugen Lendl in Graz, and at the Integraf Alpe-Adria biennial in Udine.

Schnur “paints” with a welding torch, creating an innovative synthesis of sculpture. The central theme in Martin Schnur’s pictures is the representation of human beings, that he captures on canvas in snapshot fashion against mostly indeterminate spaces of colour, thus underscoring the ephemeral aspect of the situation depicted. Between the people and the non-representational background areas modulated by colour alone, creating an almost aura-like setting, the result is an intense tension, that leaves the possibility of interpretation open for the observer. Schnur makes use of the compositional strategies of film, photography and advertising, thus creating an impressive play of reality and illusion in his works.

Martin Schnur was awarded the Gold Füger Medal of Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1988. In 1996 he received the working scholarship of the city of Vienna and in 1999 the scholarship of the city of Graz. His solo exhibition “Bipolar” was held at the Belvedere’s Augarten Contemporary in 2008, at which he exhibited a total of sixty-three oils dealing with the different levels of reality, and in which he blurs the boundary between imaginary space and reality. The dialectic of closeness and distance plays a central role in his pictures and, to achieve this, he ingeniously deploys the picture-in-picture method and mirroring effects.