Lois Weinberger

1947 (Stams/Tyrol) - 2020 (Vienna)

After working as a locksmith and wrought-iron craftsman, the artist was professor at the Karlsruhe Academy from 1994 to 1995, giving numerous lectures in Austria and abroad in 1996–2004. Lois Weinberger assumes a particularly individual position in Austrian sculpture. He operates at the interface between art and nature, nature and sculpture, and art and life, fighting above all against the concept of beauty with subtle anarchic means.

Art is his profession, nature his protagonist. With the aid of film, video, sculptures, photos and drawings the Tyrolean artist interprets gardens and landscapes. Weinberger works in the world outside, rather than in the studio. He explores in-between spaces and peripheral zones: urban wasteland, everyday objects, wild plants and other aspects. It is perhaps the rural setting and his manual training that allowed him to develop his own special aesthetic and a concept of beauty.

In his rural environment he created art works in the mid-70s using civilisation waste such as plastic bags by mounting them on trees. As of 1979, Weinberger began making sculptures of wood and different materials. Once again it was wood, blocks of wood, wire, feathers and branches that he joined together to create partly corporeal, partly transparent entities. In a different phase of his work, he explored stone, making only minimal modifications to the stones that he found. In recent years, Weinberger’s defiant work has focused above all on the balance of forced and spontaneous plant communities in urban wasteland: a form of “gardening” that deals with thistles and nomadic vegetation. Weinberger is interested in the simplicity of ruderal plants. “Ruderal” means wild and plain. This interest in the “wild” and unheeded is not as harmless as it would appear at first glance. It indeed implies a political statement. Moving ruderal plants as a migration process runs parallel to the societal problems of our time.

The formal metamorphoses in Weinberger’s art sculptures of stone, concrete-filled plastic bags, the seed archive, make it difficult to apprehend them quickly. But there is a navigational field in which we can begin to surmise Weinberger’s intentions – the texts that have long been an integral part of this polyvalent oeuvre. The renowned artist has received numerous prizes, for example, in 1998, the Prize of the City of Vienna, in 1999 the Art Scholarship of Tyrol Province and, in 2005, the Achievement Prize of the Federal Chancellery. Lois Weinberger’s works have been on show internationally, including at Vienna Secession in 1984, at the Municipal Art Gallery in Los Angeles in 1985, and at the Biennale in São Paolo in 1991. In 1997 the artist featured at the “documenta” in Kassel, in 2000 at the Camden Arts Centre in London, and in 2001 at the Sculpture Biennial in Münsterland. Since 2003 the artist has been working for art projects in public space together with his wife Franziska Weinberger.