Hans Kupelwieser

1948 (Lunz am See, Lower Austria), lives and works in Graz and Vienna

From 1970 until 1973 he attended Graphische Lehr-und Versuchsanstalt in Vienna, from 1976 until 1982 he studied at the University for Applied Arts in Vienna under Bazon Bock, Peter Weibel and Herbert Tasquil. The artist exhibited at the Wiener Secession. In 1994 in the context of Colombia-Austria transfer he had the chance to show his works at various Mexican and Columbian museums. In 1995 he received a professorship at the Institute for Contemporary Art in Graz. In 2001 he participated in ARCO in Madrid. In the context of cultural capital “graz03” he showed an installation in public space. In 2008 the single exhibition Hans Kupelwieser was shown at Galerie Hollenbach in Stuttgart – the same exhibition had already been shown in 2005 in Stuttgart and 2006 at the exhibition space in Zurich.

Ever since he had finished his training, Kupelwieser occupied himself with reaching beyond the limits of materials used in contemporary sculpture. He includes new material not just as material in the field of all things experimental, such as Arte Povera, but also operates with new meanings in a kind of linguistic version. Letters showing quotes of famous philosophers are punched as blank spaces into a flat rubber or steel sculpture: Thus objects serve as a paravent and are given a new function. This mix of extended material and extended operation between form and function is Kupelwieser’s analytic field.

Deceptions regarding both material and function form an independent thread in the complex structure of contemporary sculpture. Kupelwieser further develops this thread by finally making sculptures float and accessible. His new pneumatic sculptures look as if they were made from formable PVC sheet, in reality however, they are aluminium.

His juxtaposed photographic works are equally important and closely connected to his sculptures. They are indexical depictions of objects and refer to traces of objects, dealing with the basic question of how objects become images. Hence a classic question of painting, which Kupelwieser resolves not by painting but by means of media and sculpture. Such large-scale photograms as traces of objects and furniture can be perceived both as a photograph and as a sculpture or include real construction of things, such as his furniture sculptures (sofas, chairs, tables..) that might also hold indexical photograms (of potatoes, rice, spaghetti). Here the concept of positive and negative plays an essential role in his entire creation.

Thus Kupelwieser manages to create a third independent position between Erwin Wurm and Franz West in Austrian contemporary sculpture which represents a clear renunciation of the era of abstraction, representing essential further development of the concept of sculpture in post-modernism.