1. 1.

    Herbert Boeckl, Atlantis, 1940-1944

    Herbert Boeckl

    Atlantis, 1940-1944

    [Artothek des Bundes]

    Herbert Boeckl, Atlantis, 1940-1944, Foto:

    Herbert Boeckl was primarily a painter and is considered one of the protagonists of Austrian Expressionism. “Atlantis” is in fact one of only two sculptures known to be by Boeckl, the other being the bronze sculpture “Jumping Horse” from 1929. By the 1930s, Boeckl had already made a name for himself in the Austrian art scene. In 1935, he became a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where he was in charge of the legendary “Abendakt”, the evening life drawing class, from 1938 onwards, and became an influential figure in the development of many of his students. Boeckl’s interest in sculpture is also apparent in his paintings: in the early 1920s, Boeckl used colour like sculpting material, applying it onto the canvas directly from the tube, so that it developed its effect not only as a shade of colour, but also as a physically tangible substance. The female nude and its many variations form a central subject in Boeckl’s work, and one that he often painted in large formats. The plasticity and immediacy with which he conveys the physical presence of the female body in these pictures make them key works in 20th century Austrian painting. For the bronze sculpture “Atlantis“ that he had originally moulded in wax, Boeckl orientated himself more on the compositional principles of painting than those of sculpturing. The posture of the figure is related to the “Seated Yellow Nude with Mask” from 1935, but while the painted nude is leaning back into the pillows in a relaxed manner, the sculpture lacks all supporting elements. Its reclining posture gives it a precarious balance, creating a sense of tension and insecurity. The rough surface with the light playing on it is also closely related to painting. The comparison of “Atlantis“ with the heroic sculptures of NS art that were created around the same time shows Boeckl’s distance to this kind of idealisation and his claim to an entirely different kind of reality.

    Gudrun Danzer

  2. 2.

    Hans Aeschbacher, Figur II, 1955

    Hans Aeschbacher

    Figur II, 1955

    [Museum of Modern Art , Foundation Ludwig; Vienna]

    Hans Aeschbacher, Figur II, 1955, Foto:

    One can clearly see his love for the material, the special structure of which was of particular importance for Hans Aeschbacher in designing each sculpture. The human, mainly female body is the second pivot in the sculptural work of the man from Zurich. This is why critics spoke of “moments of fertility, idols of the sanguine, signposts directing the way back to the first mother”. Aeschbacher’s graphical work, too, is strongly coined by the theme of female shapes, the female torso. This is also the basis for Aeschbacher’s work exhibited in the Skulpturenpark, “Figur II”. In the mid 1950s, after a phase that was characterised by the use of lava as a material, the sculptor began an era of creating approximately three-metre-high granite columns, called “Figuren” by Aeschbacher. Their special characteristics are their slender, symmetrical parts striving upward along vertical axes, seemingly rubbing against one another. All in all, it is a group of works that is both compact and elegant, and of which "Figur II" from 1955 is an excellent example. It is a thrilling game of dynamics and static that is mastered elegantly and with confidence by the trained typographer and autodidact with his hard material. On the other hand, Aeschbacher was a master in gaining most possible lightness and dematerialisation from the hard stone by means of spiral-like and technically very demanding openings. The sculptor also pursued the reduction of the bodily structure to skeleton-like structures in his work with concrete and Plexiglas. With the latter, he tried to also use the colours of light as means for the design.

    Walter Titz

  3. 3.

    Gerhardt Moswitzer, Skulptur, 1961

    Gerhardt Moswitzer

    Skulptur, 1961

    [Austrian Sculpture Park, Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Gerhardt Moswitzer, Skulptur, 1961, Foto:

    In Gerhard Moswitzer’s long history of creativity, some very characteristic strands of work have become visible. One of them includes the group of figure images, which first turned up in his work around 1960. The artist occupied himself with them, with interruptions and in many different ways, for approximately two decades. However, we must be careful regarding the use of the concept “figure”, as it is more a matter of “quasi figure-related structures: all sorts of heads, busts and upright, standing figures”, as Otto Breicha remarked. The 1961 sculpture is one of the oldest “figures”, but it already shows the main characteristics of this group of works. Firstly, Moswitzer works (mainly) with iron and all parts of these figures are put together or welded together from a multitude of various iron parts, bands, rods, slabs etc. In this example, it is a narrow construction on top of which he placed a cube-shaped structure, from which two longitudinal bands point vertically upwards and which protrude at their ends. The fact that the object is mounted on a stone base proves its debt to classical sculpture. The object itself is not that “classical”, despite the fact that its contours evoke a human shape, consisting of torso and head. Like some of the artist’s earlier works, these too remind us of idols, magical objects of religious worship, similar to those we know from primitive peoples’ cultures. All these works show striking affinity with the sculpture of Surrealism, with Max Ernst or Picasso, one of the “forefathers” of modern iron sculpture. He, like many others, drew on the motifs of the primitive. Despite the lyrical contents of the objects giving way to a constructive strictness of form as the years pass, Moswitzer’s figures are always surrounded by this intrinsic aura.

    Peter Peer

  4. 4.

    Joannis Avramidis, Figur III, 1963

    Joannis Avramidis

    Figur III, 1963

    [Artothek des Bundes]

    Joannis Avramidis, Figur III, 1963, Foto:

    Joannis Avramidis’s oeuvre is characterised by the search for a contemporary formal language to depict man in his essence. Avramidis quite deliberately draws on his Greek roots and names the art of the ancient world and the Italian Renaissance as his most important inspirations, thus placing himself within a tradition of European cultural history that considers man the measure of all things. Starting out with a study of the natural form, he searches for the objective forms or formulas, the structures or laws of the human body that are the basis of everything individual. He subjects the figure to a mathematical-spatial manipulation and develops a constructive system for its composition. Referential points in the history of art would be the works by Paul Cézanne, Fernand Léger, Oskar Schlemmer, Constantin Brâncuşi and of course Fritz Wotruba, of whom Avramidis was the probably most eminent student. His drawings from nature provide Avramidis with the longitudinal sections of the different exterior views of the figure; the cross-sections are based on intertwined circles. The next steps require the exact drawing of this construction: the artist cuts out the longitudinal and cross sections from aluminium sheets and uses them to build the frame for the figure. For the bronze cast, he fills the resulting compartments with plaster-of-Paris, thus producing the casting mould. “Figure III” rises from the circular plinth as a tall, slim creature. Everything coincidental, everything individual, every possible movement has been eliminated. But although the figure is largely abstracted, the volumes of the individual body sections are still clearly recognisable. The delineations of the longitudinal profiles are expressed by distinct vertical incisions. The figure approaches the shape of a column – the fundamental measuring unit in the temples of ancient Greece, and the classic symbol for the dimensions of the human form.

    Gudrun Danzer

  5. 5.

    Heinz Leinfellner, Die große Ruhende, 1964/65 [Large Dormant]

    Heinz Leinfellner

    Die große Ruhende, 1964/65 [Large Dormant]

    [Artothek des Bundes]

    Heinz Leinfellner, Die große Ruhende, 1964/65 [Large Dormant], Foto:

    Heinz Leinfellner dealt with the motif of resting or “dormant” figures as early as in the 1940s. It has been a rather classical topic in art since ancient times, fascinating both painters and sculptors equally. As regards the 20th century, Henry Moore’s work was a prime example. Of all basic postures of the human figure, standing, sitting and resting, Moore saw the biggest potential for the sculptor in the resting position as, in relation to composition and treatment of space it allowed for the highest degree of freedom. Just like the great Englishman, Leinfellner too felt obliged to the trends of classical modernism, though he stylistically varied his “dormants” in the course of the decades. At the beginning, there were neo-classicist figures showing some proximity to Aristide Maillol’s sculptural work. They were followed by works, which with their pastous-lively surface, wrapped voluminous extremities and idiosyncratically proportioned body parts in a flickering aura, reminding us very much of Matisse’s sculptures. He intensively occupies himself with primitive art, whereas he came to similar solutions as Picasso and André Derain. In the end, his path led to the cubist-constructivist language of forms, which sustainably coined the image of Austrian post-war sculpture. Finding exemplary expression in the works of Fritz Wotruba amongst others (Leinfellner was his colleague and assistant). Leinfellner’s “Große Ruhende” (Large Dormant) is composed of roughly trimmed, geometrically simplified individual shapes that in the precise capture of the relaxed posture, however, combine to a natural whole. The artist did not forget to create a well-balanced composition as to the various directions in which arms, legs, torso and head point, thereby creating a perfect synthesis between art and natural form.

    Peter Peer

  6. 6.

    Fritz Wotruba, Große Figur für Luzern, 1966/67 [Large figure for Lucerne]

    Fritz Wotruba

    Große Figur für Luzern, 1966/67 [Large figure for Lucerne]

    [Fritz Wotruba - Foundation Vienna]

    Fritz Wotruba, Große Figur für Luzern, 1966/67 [Large figure for Lucerne], Foto:

    Whilst the title Grosse Figur für Luzern might indeed still allude to the human figure, at the same time it opens up perspectives of something larger with a more general value. Wotruba’s interest is not focussed on individuality, expressiveness, directionality or the revelation of some personal fate, but rather on lack of direction, equality from all perspectives and continued reduction and precision in terms of archetypal original forms. Rather than imitating anatomical forms, Wotruba sought fundamental structures through the subdivision of individual elements in order to use them to build a new entity. He also perceived, understood and shaped man as an architectural element. Thus in his work, the body can be read as a home offering security, yet also as a prison, a dungeon conveying heaviness.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  7. 7.

    Josef Pillhofer, Hammurabi, 1970

    Josef Pillhofer

    Hammurabi, 1970

    [Neue Galerie at the Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Josef Pillhofer, Hammurabi, 1970, Foto:

    Josef Pillhofer, formerly a student of Wotruba’s, received the crucial impulses for his work during a one-year stay in Paris between 1950/51. He was particularly influenced by the artists who conceived and developed Cubism and the radical innovations that manifested themselves at the beginning of the century. Pillhofer worked in Ossip Zadkine’s studio, where he also met Constantin Brâncuşi and Henri Laurens. Besides reduced or abstract figures, Pillhofer’s oeuvre also contains largely realistic works, which he created in parallel. Pillhofer explains this apparent contradiction with his close attachment to nature and his constant, intensive engagement with the latter. According to the artist, this stylistic dichotomy results from the way he approaches the fundamental problem of spatiality and tectonics, which he views from different perspectives. In his realistic works, he approaches natural forms from their external appearance; in his abstract creations, he starts out from their inside, their structure. His search for general design principles is not based on a preconceived topic – the topic rather develops during the creative act and then determines the title of the sculpture through an associative process. The bronze figure of Hammurabi – the cast of a sandstone sculpture – consists of irregular geometrical elements that are stacked on top of a rectangular stone block placed lengthwise on the ground. The individual forms are not simply strung together according to an additive principle, but are fitted together and interlinked within a complicated ordered structure. The result is a carefully obtained balance of volumes, outer lines that alternately project or are set back in a highly differentiated pattern, and a vivid interplay of light and shadow. The title refers to the famous relief of the Codex Hammurabi from ancient Babylon, today on display at the Louvre in Paris, showing the king before the throne of the sun god.

    Gudrun Danzer

  8. 8.

    Bryan Hunt, Charioteer, 1982

    Bryan Hunt

    Charioteer, 1982

    [Museum of Modern Art, Foundation Ludwig, Vienna]

    Bryan Hunt, Charioteer, 1982, Foto:

    In the early 1970s, Bryan Hunt created model-like sculptures of famous American architectural landmarks (the Empire State Building, the Hoover dam); he also created streamlined, purist forms, deriving their shape from airships. Both groups can be associated with Hunt’s professional career – he first worked as a space technician and then in construction. Around 1976 he enters a completely new work phase: in vividly modelled sculptures he pursues the image of amorphic natural phenomena such as lakes, rivers or water falls. Hunt’s “Charioteer” belongs to the waterfall series: bronze sculptures, which with the coolness and mass of the material convey the striking natural spectacle. In this, the structure of the falling water masses is completely taken out of its natural context: the surrounding terrain. It stands free and without reference in space, whereas the shape of the materially undetermined can be guessed from the positive of the sculpture alone. For Hunt, however, it is not about depiction: rather he transfers the natural phenomenon into abstract, sculptural values, which will then fuse into an emotional experience of art with the recollected image of falling, foaming masses of water. This experience should be seen to be analogous to the effect of the natural phenomenon. With reference to a famous motif of antique sculpture (The Charioteer) he associates natural form and art form, thereby referring to an archaic principle of perception which – just like in the myth – expresses human yearning for a fusion of nature with culture. Hunt’s early works were still determined by the minimalist trends of American sculpture of the 1960s and 70s, but in these works, which equally touch the worlds of feelings and thoughts of the beholder, he takes on a clear contra-position.

    Peter Peer

  9. 9.

    Fritz Hartlauer, Senkrechter Auszug aus der Urzelle, 1982/84 [Vertical extract from the primal cell]

    Fritz Hartlauer

    Senkrechter Auszug aus der Urzelle, 1982/84 [Vertical extract from the primal cell]

    [Austrian Sculpture Park, Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Fritz Hartlauer, Senkrechter Auszug aus der Urzelle, 1982/84 [Vertical extract from the primal cell], Foto:

    Fritz Hartlauer’s work occupies a unique position within modern Austrian art, with very few reference points. While most of the protagonists of modern Austrian art have remained attached to the abstraction of nature – ultimately to figuration – Hartlauer during the 1950s developed a purely abstract geometric system of order. In 1995, Peter Weibel revealed parallels to serial sculpture and the Minimal Art of the 1960s in Hartlauer’s work and pointed out certain scientific discoveries relating to the basic principles of formal growth in nature (chaos theory and fractals) that Hartlauer’s vanguard pieces effectively anticipated. Interestingly, Hartlauer came from a completely different background: he was interested in C. G. Jung’s model of archetypes, comparative religious studies and metaphysics. He was searching for a way to make the universal human frame of reference visible, together with the fundamental principles of organic and inanimate nature. The formal analysis and geometrisation of the human head led him to a dynamic-symmetrical system consisting of constructive basic elements, which he referred to as the “primal cell system” and expressed in drawings, reliefs and sculptures. The basic element of the “primal cell” is the square, from which the octagon and the cross derive when another square is placed over a corner. The stele “Senkrechter Auszug aus der Urzelle“ is composed from four identical reliefs executed on rectangles that rest on their narrow end and together form a square base. An intricate network of lines produces a wealth of individual geometric shapes that derive from doubling and combining the basic elements. Moving upwards, the design disintegrates into smaller and smaller parts and becomes increasingly dense. The smooth, shiny material of the cast aluminium slabs adds to the regular, mathematical nature of this work, which is also emphasised by its natural surroundings.

    Gudrun Danzer

  10. 10.

    Marianne Maderna, Zukommender, 1984 [Approaching figure]

    Marianne Maderna

    Zukommender, 1984 [Approaching figure]

    [Artothek des Bundes]

    Marianne Maderna, Zukommender, 1984 [Approaching figure], Foto:

    At the centre of Marianne Maderna’s work is the investigation of the human condition. She is not only concerned with the human shape, i.e. with the solution of formal problems, but also with the visualisation of what is “inside”: a mood, a state of mind that is woven through with feelings, emotions, and atmospheres, and that she tries to pinpoint via the analytical observation of motion sequences and body positions. She arrives at this state via a successive and consistent reduction which eliminates all elements that are not of immediate importance for the desired expression, thus emphasising volumes and the spaces between and around them. Only this clarified, abstract form makes the idea and the situational context visible, and the abstraction is borne by the principles of classic sculpture that define themselves via the concepts of ponderation and the relation between the supporting leg and the free leg, thus defining the basic positions of the human body. Although Marianne Maderna chooses her subjects before she starts on a piece, the titles develop only during the sculpturing process. As they accompany the creation of the pieces from the first inspirational thought to their final crystallisation, they are essential aids for interpretation. The sculpture “Zukommender” also unmistakeably reflects a human situation in the form of “a creature at pains to assert itself” (Wolfgang Hilger). Although Maderna mainly refers to personal impressions and experiences in her works, they nevertheless succeed in depicting archetypal human situations and moods.

    Peter Peer

  11. 11.

    Oskar Höfinger, Jetzt, 1986 [Now]

    Oskar Höfinger

    Jetzt, 1986 [Now]

    [Municipality of Vienna]

    Oskar Höfinger, Jetzt, 1986 [Now], Foto:

    Despite the fact that one might recognise some kind of affinity between Höfinger’s sculptures and works of Minimal Art, in reality they are well distanced from it. Höfinger’s forms are always allocated meaning, contents and thoughts, as well as abbreviations and symbols that give form to the unrepresentable. As a student of Fritz Wotruba, Höfinger first perceives dealing with humans as an essential starting point. He studies significant processes of movement and postures of the human body, which he then transfers to figures with strong gestural expression which – due to their decisive formal reduction – often appear like symbols of themselves. In addition, he starts to process phenomena beyond the tangible and concrete: various kinds of sensations, emotions, leading to the creation of works entitled such things as “Poetry”, “Music” or “Fascination”. Furthermore, Höfinger deals with religious themes. Partially, he will choose the approach via a completely free language of forms, with no concrete reference, conveying the contents on a purely symbolic level. “Jetzt” (Now) appears at first to be a double angle steel bar; in addition it is to be read as the diagram of a (personal) development – to some extent it is a timeline with its aspiring component clearly aiming towards the present moment in time. Its sides are marked with dots that indicate individual temporal sections, or “sections of life”. As regards this aspect, however, the frugal form experiences a dramatic shift of emphasis: the path does not run straight, but in sudden, fierce changes of directions. Thus a critic talked about the “shiny memorial to a time going wrong”. Which is exactly we can see this spatial drawing as a metaphor for the unexpected, the unforeseeable, for the scenic and mistaken routes in the dynamical process of life.

    Peter Peer

  12. 12.

    Tony Long, Natalexos, 1987

    Tony Long

    Natalexos, 1987

    [Univesalmuseum Joanneum GmbH]

    Tony Long, Natalexos, 1987, Foto:

    Ten metres long, two and a half metres wide and one and a half metres tall: Tony Long’s "Natalexos" steel structures cannot be overlooked, although in terms of their formal development they are rather subtle. Thus it is a perfect example of the gift of the artist (born in Massachusetts in 1942) to process massive material into almost floating pieces of art. The American, part-time Swiss, part-time Frenchman, part-time Russian, part-time German and part-time Styrian (since the seventies he also had a home in Styria) created numerous works in the public space between Marseille and Tiflis and, as (monumental) sculptor moves between cool construction and deep symbolism. He has repeatedly surprised audiences with new contents in his steel sculptures, sometimes weighing many tons and employing the whole range of basic vocabulary stretching from circle to square to triangle. In this, the kinetic energy of the material contrasts with the titles of the work. Titles which give clear reference (such as “Virgin/Libra”, "Madonna", "God") are juxtaposed with ones escaping their meaning like in the case of "Natalexos". The passionate, polyglot and thoroughly educated traveller loved it to open up associative fields with his works and to invite the beholder to determine their own position in this realm of multifarious symbols. In this, Long always remained a “classical” metal designer, who cut, welded and bent his material, thereby transforming and transcending it. "Natalexos" inspires to a journey through times and cultures. The work can be read as a relic of an archaic culture and, at the same time, as a find of archaeology of the industrial era. Odysseus meets the heroes of space age 2001? That happens to be the year in which Tony Long died.

    Walter Titz

  13. 13.

    Erwin Wurm, Bunker, 1987

    Erwin Wurm

    Bunker, 1987

    [Austrian Sculpture Park, Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Erwin Wurm, Bunker, 1987, Foto:

    From the beginning of the 1980s, Erwin Wurm developed a multi-faceted sculptural register, which led, for the purpose of exploration into the bases of sculpture, from the primarily formal considerations of three-dimensionality, via anthropomorphic sculptures of painted wood and metal, and from the 1990s onwards via the conceptual questioning in terms of absence and presence, volume, weight, gravity and static, to dust and pullover sculptures, and which finally flowed into the use of the semiotic media of photography and video as the active form. People are registered into the intent of photography by everyday objects, be it at the order of the artist or to satisfy their own desire. They mutate because they are subjected to a temporal structure: the “One-minute sculptures”. Erwin Wurm’s outdoor sculpture entitled “Bunker” appears to be an abstract wall sculpture: two metal dustbins – fixed to a red metal panel at the concave side – are the fundamental elements of it. The dialectic lines of tradition of the object concept of the 20th century avant-garde, from Duchamp’s Readymades to the Surrealists’ objets trouvés, can be traced from this work. Both dustbins are basically useable consumer items which have however been taken from their original context and rendered un-useable, whilst transforming themselves as abstract, geometrical elements from being objects, into being a sculpture. Wurm also undermines our perspective on the world of objects by mixing the gravity-bound condition of an object with abeyance. Dustbins are normally found on the ground. Wurm, however, modifies the form of presentation by opening up the ground panel (with which he has replaced the original bases) in both dustbins, thereby replacing the perspective of a ground sculpture with that of a wall sculpture.

    Christa Steinle

  14. 14.

    Christoph Lissy, Figur mit eingeschlossenen Steinstücken, 1988 [Figure with enclosed stone elements]

    Christoph Lissy

    Figur mit eingeschlossenen Steinstücken, 1988 [Figure with enclosed stone elements]

    [Federal Artothek]

    Christoph Lissy, Figur mit eingeschlossenen Steinstücken, 1988 [Figure with enclosed stone elements], Foto:

    The “Figure” by Christoph Lissy is to be seen as a principal typology of design in a wider sense. In its character and artistic meaning, the work independently reflects artistic development of the late 1980s, a period in which both a new reference to the object and to space was looked for and found. A consciously very obvious constructive element with two vertical “supports” and a horizontal pendant forms the tectonic centre, out of which the spatial-sculptural composition is developed. It is determined by an associative grammar. We are repeatedly tempted, but also invited to refer to familiar aesthetical objects when faced with this elegant work that still acts against the usual patterns of experience. Its audience moves into a world of allusions in the course of this process. The work gains its concrete meaning from this activated comparative process. At one time it may be the technically constructive details which we pursue in our observation, whilst at other times the concrete connections attract our interest. Neither the dynamical layering of “roofed” forms nor their character suggesting lightness despite the material disturbs the arrangement based on solid static, or shake the finely tuned balance. What is decisive is that the artist does not reduce everyday objects down to a new language of symbols – he develops this new language with a new self-found vocabulary. The elements resulting from this and put together only in a per se coherent space can only exist in this and no other constellation, despite various chains of association.

    Werner Fenz

  15. 15.

    Oswald Oberhuber, Korb, 1989

    Oswald Oberhuber

    Korb, 1989

    [Museum of Modern Art, Ludwig Foundation, Vienna]

    Oswald Oberhuber, Korb, 1989, Foto:

    Oswald Oberhuber developed an artistic multi-media universe from the 1950s onwards which made him a highly valued, outstanding leader of the development of Modernism in Austria. In 1970 Oberhuber made two artistic contributions for an exhibition entitled “österreichische kunst – skulpturen, plastiken, objekte” (Austrian art – sculptures, objects) at the Schloss Eggenberg park within the context of the “steirische herbst” art festival. His works, “Zwei Holzkisten” (Two wooden boxes) and “Haus ohne Dach” (House without a roof) – constructions made of raw timber slats – highlight his radical sculptural concept, somewhere between architecture and object. In the design of his sculptures, Oberhuber has no anthropomorphic or physically abstract approach, but positions the sculpture in reference to space, architecture or furniture. He would frequently fix his sculptures to the wall and not place them on the ground. Hence the determining factor for his sculptural concept is a so-called “syntax of space” (Peter Weibel), so that for each of his sculptures we have an open system of reference of object description. The iron construction mounted on a white concrete wall in the Skulpturenpark also reacts according to the incidence of light and the perspective of the beholder to the surrounding space. A simple construction welded together could be perceived as a complicated cuboid from afar. Its constructive rods cast shadows, which interfere with the real rods thus giving the cuboid the complexity of a supra-dimensional structure, which at the same time resolves its puzzle. In this way, a closed form becomes open geometry. The graphic reference to a basket – varying between a trough and a real basket – is preserved; at the same time, however, with artistic treatment, the basket becomes an abstract geometrical body. Syntax and function are thus fused.

    Christa Steinle

  16. 16.

    Ilija Šoškić, Sole d'acciaio, 1989

    Ilija Šoškić

    Sole d'acciaio, 1989

    [Gallery Bleich-Rossi]

    Ilija Šoškić, Sole d'acciaio, 1989, Foto:

    "Sole d'acciaio", "Sun of steel”, is the title of Ilija Soskic’s sculptural “power centre”. Here, the gruff Montenegrin poet has arranged thirty steel rays around a cupola made of flint stone. The surfaces of the heavy “petals” oscillate between a harsh shade of blue and a warm, rusty red, and change their aura depending on the incidence of light. An Italian critic referred to Soskic’s work as “materialismo magico, "magic materialism” (Soskic has been living in Rome for nearly forty years, apart from short periods spent in his native country). This tag applies to many works by this artist, who grew up on the fringes of Arte Povera. Not only Soskic’s “sun of steel” pulsates with this “magic materialism” – a gigantic starfish that the artist created around the same time also radiates a similar energy, as does the “arcobaleno d'acciaio", a “rainbow of steel”, which arched over the staircase to the mausoleum in Graz in the late 1980s. Ilija Soskic’s works range from drawings over performance art to sculptures and installations and contain both Mediterranean elements and features of the region that is commonly referred to as the “Balkans” (according to ancient Slavic mythology, Ilija is the god of lightning.) Soskic links history and myth with a view to the present. In this, he closely resembles Jannis Kounellis. Railway sleepers and raw eggs, stone and wax, feathers and, as in this work, steel – Soskic shows great imagination in the way he uses symbols, but, ultimately, the evocation of symbols is of secondary importance to him. For Soskic as a wanderer between the worlds, a “politics of the sensual”, the immediacy of the experience, must be at the centre of all his endeavours. The means Soskic uses to achieve this are not always of the meditative kind that are on display in "Sole d'acciaio". In 1975, Soskic shot a hole in the wall of a gallery with a revolver. The title of the work: “Maximum energy, minimum time.”

    Walter Titz

  17. 17.

    Ingeborg Strobl, Untitled, 1989/90

    Ingeborg Strobl

    Untitled, 1989/90

    [Austrian Sculpture Park, Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Ingeborg Strobl, Untitled, 1989/90, Foto:

    Gravestones constitute a particular kind of outdoor sculpture, and some art historians go as far as thinking that the gravestone – a stone set up to mark a certain location – was in fact the first work of art; the first picture. In a well-chosen spot, Ingeborg Strobl set up two small stones of the rather ordinary kind that can be found in graveyards everywhere. The two stones are reminiscent of the Mosaic tablets of the law, which are also frequently depicted in pairs and with a similar shape. Stone settings are an important element of classic garden design. The stone inscriptions were intended to whisper a message to the wanderer that would make him pause and think. Margravine Wilhelmine of Bayreuth, for instance, had so-called cenotaphs in the style of the 18th century set up in the Hermitage and in Sanspareil, empty graves or monuments to commemorate persons not actually buried at the site. On half overgrown stones, inscriptions such as “Manibus Dorotheae“, “For the Death Spirits of Dorothea“, are still legible. Ingeborg Strobl evokes this tradition of a garden art that is closely connected with the commemorative cult of the dead. The inscription on Strobl’s stones is similar to the standard gold engravings on gravestones and addresses the viewer – the “viator” – directly: “SEI GEDULDIG MIT DEINEM EIGENEN SCHATTEN”; “BE PATIENT WITH YOUR SHADOW”. The ancient Greeks thought of their dead as shadows who gathered in Hades, the Underworld. The exhortation to be “patient with your shadow” might thus be understood to refer to death on the one hand, which would make the installation a subtle Memento Mori, or as an appeal in a psychoanalytical context on the other: handle your shadow carefully, it is your split-off part that is projected onto the world. The two stones look like doubles; like each other’s shadows.

    Elisabeth von Samsonow

  18. 18.

    Carmen Perrin, Untitled, 1990

    Carmen Perrin

    Untitled, 1990

    [Property of the foundation]

    Carmen Perrin, Untitled, 1990, Foto:

    A three-dimensional body cannot only be defined via volumes and spatial delineations, but also via the texture that supports and structures it from the inside. The braiding, interweaving and linking of structuring lines that behave like spatial vectors and describe the striving of forces within a body is one of those traditional technologies that are equally important as the plastic processing of malleable substances – sculpturing in the true sense of the word – and that are a reminder of the architectural aspect of the sculpturing process. Today, structural steel grids have replaced the ancient technique that relied on twigs and wooden sticks – the archaic armouring of a wall that bears a distinct resemblance to textile garments. The grid as a system of order that defines space is omnipresent: we find it in the crossing coordinates of the longitudinal and latitudinal lines as well as in the “knitted” patterns of computer design programmes such as CAD, which depict space through virtual encodings. What all these techniques have in common is that they imply the idea that bodies can be produced by filling in the gaps between condensed bundles of lines. Bodies are thus built up from the inside, from their structural genome, in the way that Deleuze and Guattari described the creation process of textile structures in their discussion of space in their book “Mille Plateaux“: in terms of cultural skills, threads are condensed either on looms or with the help of techniques such as felting or milling. Carmen Perrin’s sculpture describes a curvature, the spatial belly of an undefined creature that sees itself as a “building site”, and on whose “top floor” the forest of jutting structural steel bolts indicates that the sculpture is gauging the open space and could in fact grow even further.

    Elisabeth von Samsonow

  19. 19.

    Tom Carr, Open, 1991

    Tom Carr

    Open, 1991

    [Universalmuseum Joanneum GmbH]

    Tom Carr, Open, 1991, Foto:

    Since the nineteen-eighties, Tom Carr has pursued a path characterised by monumental sculptures which focus on the vitality of archetypes: inaugural forms preceding any theory in the moment where the necessity to come to terms with the world leads to their imperious emergence – to divide and to bring up, to articulate, to link and to exceed, to capture or to cross through… The sculptor anticipates the relationship between material and space as a metaphor of the mind which discovers itself. Open is a huge assembly of two identical structures of steel pipes materializing the passage of an individual, of light, and of air, into transparency. The high central arch encourages the visitor to commit himself. The front view shows the sculpture spreading its wings: an invitation to climb on it. The vertical axis is accentuated in black as an arrow’s movement, because the work has come to life in the project. The observer feels that it will take off immediately, although this is a utopia. Dynamism carries you away. In profile view, however, the sculpture seems clumsy: Open has landed – and makes you feel that it has withdrawn into itself, that there is space left over and overlapping, which makes the observer find his way back into the world’s complexity. The sculpture’s intention changes with the perspective and the distance; it speaks of return or estrangement, of the ambivalence inherent in life… And in-between these two concepts, the sculpture becomes a playground in the form of a climbing wall for children. Black, grey and white punctuate the metal structure, breaking up its symmetry and making it breathe. According to the light or the season, whole parts of it merge with the environment, the white with the surrounding snow, the dark lines with the leaves, so that the sculpture continuously re-invents itself, just like a story. It mimics and takes refuge behind itself, offering itself to the landscape in which it takes part. Nature decides, combines or dismantles. Thus, Open announces the motif of fragments suspended in space, which Tom Carr has been exploring since 2002, developing a reflection on the discontinuity of conscience.

    Françoise Barbe-Gall

  20. 20.

    Christa Sommerer, Phyllologia, 1991

    Christa Sommerer

    Phyllologia, 1991

    [Province of Upper Austria]

    Christa Sommerer, Phyllologia, 1991, Foto:

    At the time of the creation of her work, Christa Sommer, a biologist, was fascinated by Carl von Linné’s systematics of plants. And it was not only the scientific meaning thereof, but also the question of the extent to which, through conventionalising of forms, their degree of reality is changed too, whether this is through them losing their individual character or pushing their special characteristics right into the foreground. In this respect “Phyllologia”, a kind of paravent with three large leave shapes cut out, has a special meaning due to its peculiar position in nature. On one hand, the boldly coloured object, contrasts forcedly with the environment; on the other, it presents a clearly referential character due to the repertoire of forms used. With its reduction to three examples, and supported by the colour of the carrier sheet, a clear signal is set. With the translation of the basic material, of the artificially created drawn form, we witness a change of meaning on several different levels. First of all with the transfer into a negative, and then with the shift of scale, focusing on the phenomenon of a change thereof. The creation of a decided context in a park is due to the frame forms which, despite the coloured barrier, allow for a view onto the landscape behind. Due to the fact that the three sections show in principle the very same figure as the thousands of barely recognisable “figures” in the woods behind, we consciously or subconsciously activate a referential grid, determining the visual experience as a comparative act in this both alien and site-specific intervention.

    Werner Fenz

  21. 21.

    Franz Pichler, Untitled, 1991/92

    Franz Pichler

    Untitled, 1991/92

    [Artothek des Bundes]

    Franz Pichler, Untitled, 1991/92, Foto:

    Even from a distance, this striking ensemble establishes a distinct interface between sculpture and architecture; a transition stage in which – on average – free and functional formal qualities differ from each other over and over again. Starting with its anti-naturalist colouring, the work seems to open up a view of purely constructional elements taken from a technological context. Taking the work to be a model of a frame construction, the viewer’s experience would consist in discovering the irregular in the regular. The ensemble consists of simple elements on the basis of L-profiles that only appear to be identical in their composition, even though their basic structure is the same. This is the artistic process of rearrangement: as with modular structures, the cubes, mostly visible in their outlines, are combined in different ways, over and over again. In this system, four units arranged at an angle form a rectangle that turns out to have spatial qualities: although enclosed at all sides, it is still possible to look into and through it from all directions. This means that the characteristics of both genres – architecture versus sculpture – shake off their rigid definitions. The transparency created through the specific use of means of design in this work enables us to experience both an interior and exterior space, and the positioning of the four elements begins to look increasingly ambiguous, not only on a theoretical level: if the constructional sculpture units were to be shifted in such a way that the four empty spaces that we perceive as “entrances” would disappear, the result would be a precisely fitting, compressed ensemble, and our perceptive parameters would once again be jolted.

    Werner Fenz

  22. 22.

    Lois Weinberger, Mauer, 1992 [Mural]

    Lois Weinberger

    Mauer, 1992 [Mural]

    [Austrian Sculpture Park, Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Lois Weinberger, Mauer, 1992 [Mural], Foto:

    First there were the “cairns” in the Alps, the stupa-shaped stone towers on the Tibetan plateau, and the landscape-dominating stone walls around multi-levelled gardens. The wall is all-embracing, but at the same time seceding, and therefore organises the space: a sculpture in the true sense of the word. Here a wall, there a garden: this is true for paradise, too. There can be no yearning for this “nature” to transform itself into art or to merge into it, given that nature itself possesses enough power of shape, organicity, structural design, structures and the capacity to improve its approach. It is a techno-artist, delivering its sculptures to the world in live form. It is at work with the Earth’s elements, which is the reason why the human sculptor often feels small when faced with its material. Weinberger has taken the analysis of the “garden” – including the plants and living things which exist within it – as the theme of his artwork, and in doing so has relocated the gallery walls, to an extent. The “outside” is restricted by a cultural “inside area”, an area of description, mapping and identification. This theme leads to the “outdoor sculpture” being a commensurate task. A “wall” exists as an ordering of stones of varying sizes, whereby the addition or counting of these numbered stones exceeds their simple stacking up. The artist becomes an epi-technician who uses technology – which nature has controlled for an eternity – second of all, and who codifies the material with a logos. Instead of using a million numbers which would remind us of the age of the stones, they are identified as if in an instruction manual for a building block game. All the stones are piled up onto a plinth as a memorial, placed facing the landscape which they cannot surround, although the title suggests this. This “wall” does not enclose the landscape: rather it excludes it, by being found within it.

    Elisabeth von Samsonow

  23. 23.

    Franz West / Otto Zitko, Who's Who, 1992

    Franz West / Otto Zitko

    Who's Who, 1992

    [Artothek des Bundes]

    Franz West / Otto Zitko, Who's Who, 1992, Foto:

    In West’s work, sculpture as an extension of the human body means that furniture is taken back to sculpture and Man’s basic needs such as sleep, rest, contemplation or communication are not left to an object of use or to design, but are woven into art as essential states in life. Thus for all his sculptural work, Man is the gauge; West’s pieces of furniture link up Man with his subconscious mind, Man with the ground he is bound to, as well as connecting people. In the seemingly randomly bound up form of two stools, the sculpture appears provisional and interventionist on the one hand, whilst on the other highlighting its meaning as an untouchable sculpture, being placed on a concrete pedestal by West. Being deprived of their ephemeral meaning, the stools become a statement, which can be both read as permeable structure and as a sculpture, and as an invitation to interaction. West creates an allurement through a combination of attraction and rejection. The meaning of absence, possibilities and temporal limitations is as important as the human transitory possibility on an enduring material. West offers both stools, for conversation or a psychological session, thus enticing the subconscious into inter-subjectivity, and inviting a short-lived understanding of “Who is who”. The dialectic element between a work of art and an object of everyday use runs parallel to the one between movement and rigour, between self and alien. Communicating whilst sitting down on a hand-made piece of art lets us feel the mutual entailment of hand and word, at the same time making reference to the fact that this piece of art strives for practical use, as well as to the question of meaningfulness and the possibility of communication and understanding.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  24. 24.

    Erwin Bohatsch, Wand, 1992 [Wall]

    Erwin Bohatsch

    Wand, 1992 [Wall]

    [Austrian Sculpture Park, Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Erwin Bohatsch, Wand, 1992 [Wall], Foto:

    Since the beginning of the 1980s, Erwin Bohatsch has been working as a painter and graphic designer. At first he was part of the major representatives of the “Neue Wilde” movement of “fierce” painting in Austria, before developing – since the 1990s – into a painter of second modernism. As such, and unusually for Austrian art, he did not remain paralysed dealing with abstraction in natural abstraction, but was spurred on a topical discursive painting method on the basis of reflecting on colour field painting. Hence he is a painter and not a sculptor, and yet we find a sculpture by Erwin Bohatsch at the Graz Skulpturenpark. It is the only one he ever made – a commissioned work. One sees a massive grey concrete wall, above which a voluminous swelling concrete shape was positioned, pressing toward the ground. This wall forms one sculptural element and is supposed to simulate a screen. It replaces the pedestal of a sculpture. The second sculptural element, the pending concrete volume is supposed to simulate running colour slowly creeping across the canvas. Just like as when painting, the painter squeezes colour paste onto the canvas, the gooey mass of concrete rolls in five tracks over the wall until the dropping ceases and the soft and fluid mass turns to a rigid form. However, this is not only a transformation of material, i.e. the transfer of one material state into a different material, but one could also understand the five tracks as the artist’s hand, conducting the brush and embracing an image or kneading clay into a sculpture. Thus Bohatsch transfers his experience as a painter into sculptural experience. The active gesture of applying colour onto the painter’s canvas is transferred into a supra-temporal dimension – the one of the stone memorial by Bohatsch the sculptor.

    Christa Steinle

  25. 25.

    Manfred Erjautz, The Silent Cell, 1992/94

    Manfred Erjautz

    The Silent Cell, 1992/94

    [Austrian Sculpture Park, Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Manfred Erjautz, The Silent Cell, 1992/94, Foto:

    The fact that a piece of art provides more information than merely its primary exterior appearance, is widely known. The pyramids in Egypt are not only tombs, still lifes of the 17th century are not only delicately painted decorative objects. Entire iconographic programmes can be read into the façades of baroque palaces, giving information about their stately inhabitants. Let us not forget the mystics of figures that are also present in music and oriental ornaments filled with allusions. If we are suddenly confronted with an enormous hot dog out of which a friendly chef smiles at us, we know what the building is designated for – and this not only since Las Vegas. Works of art are texts, information that can be read and understood by the insider. This is exactly what Manfred Erjautz aims at with his art. Logos, bar codes, advertising texts, objects and material with specified content (Lego) are his main materials. Thereby he insistently illustrates the fact that we are bound in text structures, in art even more so than in everyday life. Thus, for instance, the whole surface of our towns which face the public, has essentially got the task of attracting our attention. The environment becomes readable, advertising has become part of building technology, not to mention flexible media walls in public spaces. Erjautz builds his sculpture as a building or tent. Constructive elements are lines turned into metal, derived from computer bar codes. Inside the ground is artificial lawn. Only informed visitors to this cell are surrounded by a text. Everyone else is locked in an abstract construction, which will possibly remind them of something familiar – a tent in the field.

    Günther Holler-Schuster

  26. 26.

    Michael Kienzer, Untitled, 1992/94

    Michael Kienzer

    Untitled, 1992/94

    [Austrian Sculpture Park, Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Michael Kienzer, Untitled, 1992/94, Foto:

    Michael Kienzer’s sculpture “untitled” (1992/94) made out of twisted copper tube, forms a conical, funnel-shaped spatial meshwork, which was not just placed in the landscape, but rises over a knoll, and seemingly grows out of it. It is as if the object were growing out of the landscape like spiral-shaped brushwood or, hovering like an oversized bird’s nest above the site. Thus it appears as a reversed sculptural comment or complementary continuation of this landscape formation. In its reversed reference to the landscape, this artificial construct made of erogenous copper refers to the artificial element of the landscape itself and its sculptural characteristics. Hence it describes the landscape context it finds itself in as a calculated and constructed structure, thereby pointing out that each determination of naturality and nature will unavoidably reflect civilising framework conditions and ideas. So the sculpture interprets its environment, by using it as an inducement for adapting its own shape to it. This is achieved by defining the connection between naturality and artificiality as a relational condition, which will unmask any polar comparison as being some kind of euphemism and simplification. Furthermore, the sculpture conveys an element of processuality and dynamics with its roaring rotary appearance. In this, it metaphorically relates to what happens in nature as a permanent circle of changes. Due to the fact that the colour of the copper has changed because of oxidation, the object itself bears a natural process, the sculpture in nature becomes experienceable as part of nature itself. A relation between art and reality is created here that is characteristic for Kienzer’s work, regenerating the form of the object to structure and function of its socio-cultural environment.

    Rainer Fuchs

  27. 27.

    Karin Hazelwander, Perambulator, 1993

    Karin Hazelwander

    Perambulator, 1993

    [Artothek des Bundes]

    Karin Hazelwander, Perambulator, 1993, Foto:

    Karin Hazelwander’s “Perambulator“ appears to be an assembly with a function. It is obviously designed as a perambulating machine, one that “walks through, over, about” (Latin: perambulare). More recent sculptural works by Hazelwander show that she is also interested in the Simulator, an apparatus that receives aesthetic projections. The seriality of the parts and their dynamic curve shape are reminiscent of industrial construction methods where force is exerted over rotating slabs. Another association conjured up by the work is that of the agricultural appliances that are pulled across fields by tractors and that, depending on the soil, measure several shares or blades. The “Perambulator” would thus be a five-blade machine. This association with agricultural machinery, which, like military appliances, is often the result of a highly specialised technological development, creates a reference to the soil, which is also of essential importance in a sculpture park. Agricultural machines frequently have proud Latin names that make it quite difficult to distinguish them from the artistic Readymade. One of the most common terms for such machines, for instance, is “cultivator”. In Hazelwander’s sculpture, the mark indicating an imaginary movement shifts from the upper edge of the first curve down to the lower edge of the fifth and last one in the form of a hole in the corpus. In a diagrammatic form, the sculpture constitutes a rotation that, if the object were to execute it, would roll it forward. The projected transfer of motion from one “machinery part” to the next is also mentioned by Aristotle in a surprisingly technoid context in his small natural philosophical treatise “On the motion of animals” as a condition for being able to walk: perambulating as an act that depends on many assumptions.

    Elisabeth von Samsonow

  28. 28.

    Sabina Hörtner, Untitled, 1993

    Sabina Hörtner

    Untitled, 1993

    [Artothek des Bundes]

    Sabina Hörtner, Untitled, 1993, Foto:

    Line meshwork and frames of red, green and blue colour are the basic motifs in Sabina Hörtner’s works. The line is construction element, by means of which literally manifold constellations of shape can be created on the surface and spatially. The choice of colours is not due to sentimental favourites but oriented by the colours of Edding markers which she most frequently used. Hence Hörtner uses colours that are industrially standardised and produced for profane work processes. She also uses the colours’ optical characteristics: “The fact that three colours occupy three different levels, e.g. blue is more distant than red, is a very useful thing for me.” (Hörtner) Thus also in the untitled sculpture she bases her approach on the colours’ spatial effect in order to visualise the structures of the space and render something spatial by means of a sculpture. Therefore the coloured sculpture is not only a spatial object but also a structured space turned into shape. The precise construction of the spatial body conveys the experience of the process character and the change in perception. It is basically four modules, which upon examination will always overlap and network differently, following the movement of the gaze. The gaze swings between surface-related and spatial perception. One feels reminded equally of sculpture, architecture and painting. At the same time, both structural-conceptual and colourful-painted components determine the impression. In them swinging between spatial and surface-related appearance and the characteristic of making the creation of spatiality itself perceptible, the work refers to the virtual worlds of computer graphics beyond traditional genres. Also, because it is a technoid construction of modular units, one might think of electronic media, with the help of which space can be programmed and simulated in the surface too.

    Rainer Fuchs

  29. 29.

    Franz Xaver Ölzant, Fu mit dem schönen Mandarin, 1993 [Fu and the beautiful mandarin]

    Franz Xaver Ölzant

    Fu mit dem schönen Mandarin, 1993 [Fu and the beautiful mandarin]

    [Neue Galerie at the Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Franz Xaver Ölzant, Fu mit dem schönen Mandarin, 1993 [Fu and the beautiful mandarin], Foto:

    Ölzant’s work occupies a special position within the Austrian sculpture landscape. The biomorph sculpture of the 20th century, with Jean Arp and Henry Moore as the main protagonists, was an important impulse for the artist, who lives a secluded life in the Waldviertel region of lower Austria, to experiment with nature and various areas of cultural history. Towards the late 1970s, Ölzant began to work with stone on a very large scale, especially with diorite and granite. With sometimes just a few interventions in the natural shape of the stone, he seeks to reveal its individual structure, simulates the effect of the weather on the crystalline body, or, in the sort of fusion of the cultured and the natural that is typical for his work, evokes associations with the primal, cultic use of stones. In “Fu und der schöne Mandarin“, Ölzant succeeded in creating a multi-layered work with the apparently simple arrangement of two rectangular granite slabs: the overlapping of the slabs at a right angle and the slanted position of the upper slab seem to spatially expand the figure. A tension is created between the two volumes, investigating the contrast between weight and balance and creating a sense of equilibrium and dynamic at the same time. There is a sharp contrast between light and shadow in this work. The different surface finishing of the slabs brings out the characteristics of the stone – its grain, its structure, its “life” – but also reveals the phases of the artist’s treatment of the material. Finally, the interlinking of the two slabs in the form of a cross lends the work a symbolic component. It is as if a symbol whose meaning cannot be interpreted unambiguously has been put up in this landscape. The exotic title leaves this ambiguity untouched and invites viewers to develop their own associations.

    Gudrun Danzer

  30. 30.

    Richard Fleissner, Körperteil-Hürden, 1994 [Body part hurdles]

    Richard Fleissner

    Körperteil-Hürden, 1994 [Body part hurdles]

    [Artothek des Bundes]

    Richard Fleissner, Körperteil-Hürden, 1994 [Body part hurdles], Foto:

    Fleissner’s work “Körperteil-Hürden“ appears as a large, semi-circular figure that looks like one half of a paddle wheel. A drawing by Leonardo da Vinci in the Codex Atlanticus depicts a similar technological concept in the form of a dredger. Pockets or shelves with a slightly sagging bottom are mounted on a sort of wheel. The construction strikes the viewer as a particularly uncomfortable ladder that must be surmounted. Independent of how we choose to interpret the sculpture – it is composed on the basis of a simple aesthetic formal principle that makes it appear compact and emphasises the effect of its site and material. The geometry of the circular segment and the monumentality of the object in particular make it a figure that dominates the site like a dinosaur. The reference to the human body derives from the object status of the sculpture itself, or, more precisely, from the interpretation of the object as something that plants itself in front of us like a hurdle, that opposes us, throws itself against us – an object in the true sense of its Latin root ob-icere.

    Elisabeth von Samsonow

  31. 31.

    Othmar Krenn, Teilummantelung, 1995 [Partial coating]

    Othmar Krenn

    Teilummantelung, 1995 [Partial coating]

    [Leder & Schuh AG]

    Othmar Krenn, Teilummantelung, 1995 [Partial coating], Foto:

    In a series of both large and small-scale sculptures, Othmar Krenn expresses his idea of a principle of duality, approaching it again and again with different materials and conceptual modes. At the centre of this series of works is the confrontation between stone and metal, in several variations and typologies: coated stones, stone rasters, stone disks and cones. At first glance, the versatility of the variations on this basic idea that is reflected again and again seem to merely express the connection of nature and civilisation. Upon closer inspection, the dichotomies contained in the work become apparent: the overall shape is based on an erratic block cut out of a quarry, which also, through the choice of material alone, creates an ambivalent relationship to what is commonly referred to as “nature”. The welded steel coating – only made possible through a technologically intricate process – continues this theme of ambivalence. The coating precisely follows the heights and depths of the stone and is both a decorative element and a dominating intervention in the natural object. What enhances the real, natural fragment appropriates and destroys it at the same time. Krenn is aware of the illusoriness through which he creates a clash between erratic (natural) and created (cultural) forms. Different materials and their mergence replace traditional symbolic forms that were, and are still, used for representing this theme, not only since the ecology debate has reached its current level of intensity. The direction in which the artist has positioned his theses is also apparent in one of his many performances, where he appeared in public space locked in a rastered cage.

    Werner Fenz

  32. 32.

    Martin Schnur, Raumdeuten, 1995 [pointing into expanse]

    Martin Schnur

    Raumdeuten, 1995 [pointing into expanse]

    [Artothek des Bundes]

    Martin Schnur, Raumdeuten, 1995 [pointing into expanse], Foto:

    In his work, Martin Schnur’s concern is the picture. His theoretical starting point is sculpture. And according to the traditional approach, sculpture is an attempt to depict reality. However, it is more likely to hear of reality being depicted in two-dimensional form. In the 1960s, artists such as Jasper Johns or Frank Stella referred to the fact that a picture does not necessarily have to be rectangular or square. Also, the picture is not only an image but also object like every three-dimensional object. In addition this special object will also change its environment. Thus, what is represented suddenly becomes secondary. The painting is no longer the carrier of imaginary contents, but an independent reality. In its material character, Schnur’s work “untitled” fulfils all requirements for sculpture. We read its elements (frame, figures), but we read them as parts of an image. The four aluminium figures, mounted to the steel frame, point out of the rectangle of the picture, as if to refer to the fact that the real event takes place outside the actual picture surface. Indeed the object frames a section of reality; a piece of reality becoming a picture. This sculpture alludes to painting and, again, the problem of the image – the depiction of nature. Thus, this piece of art is turned into an “apparatus” determining vision and contributing to the creation of images. With the movement which has to be carried out, the beholder must actively collaborate. The act of walking around it refers to the multiple angles of vision onto a sculpture. In this work, Schnur seems to assign something to painting, which is not a natural intrinsic part of it. On the other hand, sculpture was placed on a functional level. The figures seem to refer to the fact that the beholder should strive to integrate the sphere outside the work of art into the complete character.

    Günther Holler-Schuster

  33. 33.

    Susana Solano, Ajuste en el Vacio, 1995/1996

    Susana Solano

    Ajuste en el Vacio, 1995/1996

    [Museum of Modern Art, Stiftung Ludwig; Vienna]

    Susana Solano, Ajuste en el Vacio, 1995/1996, Foto:

    Susana Solano’s sculptures are closely linked to questions of space. Her work focuses not only on the relation between the sculpture and its environment, but also on the sculpture’s own spatial qualities. In her three-part work “Ajuste en el vacio“, Solano correlates sculptural spheres in an empty space, thus giving form and visibility to this process as a conceptual activity. Solano created three cylindrical spheres of varying lengths that consist of transparent grid-like structures with massive borders. A dynamisation of the spheres is brought about through the ellipsoid layout of the cylinders. Their foundations are embedded in the ground in such a way that the sculptures seem to rest lightly on the earth without any foundations whatsoever, or even hover aboveground, maintaining a precarious balance. Only in facing each other do the individual parts form a corresponding whole that puts across a floating dynamic. The sculpture opens up space and at the same time makes space its central topic through its transparent structures and gaps. Emptiness – nothing – is thus experienced as an integral part of the work. Through the cylindrical spheres and their relations with one another, empty space is given a precise structure and, reciprocally, makes the metal components of the work seem less heavy and massive. The viewers themselves also play an essential role in the interpretation of this work, as they will move through gaps between the individual parts, linking them with their gaze. Walking around the object, viewers will notice how their perspective permanently changes, constantly creating different constellations and overlaps between the individual elements. The sculpture thus becomes recognisable as a form of motion, which, though it does need material carriers, also has the potential of making these carriers vibrate gently.

    Rainer Fuchs

  34. 34.

    Bruno Gironcoli, Untitled, 1995/96

    Bruno Gironcoli

    Untitled, 1995/96


    Bruno Gironcoli, Untitled, 1995/96, Foto:

    Bruno Gironcoli began at the end of the seventies to create the monumental sculptures that became so characteristic for his creations. They owe their typical appearance to a structure which is both ambivalent and differentiated, a hybrid mixture of the most diverse of elements, in which vegetable elements are juxtaposed with strictly geometrical ones; anthropomorphic elements grow besides mechanistic ones, lending these powerful figures their technoidal biomorphic appearance. Despite this clear approximation of his figurative world to reality, Gironcoli sees in all his elements first of all the sculptural idea, the formal aesthetical thought beyond conventional meaning. Consequentially, however, it is not only the character of the object that the works try to convey. At the beginning of the 1960s Gironcoli first encountered surrealist sculpture and Alberto Giacometti’s work. He embarked on dealing with the downsides of human existence, with violence, oppression and even taboos of sexuality. This thematic complex is also at the basis of his large-scale sculptures. Gironcoli understands them as organisms reflecting archaic processes such as coming into being and decay, and life and death. By incorporating symbols of fertility and life in these machine-like constructions, he refers to the rigid implacability of natural processes, as well as social and economic ones. Processes that, in rigid perfection, weave the individual in a continuous stream of concessions and dependencies suffocating any kind of individuality and sensuality with their totalitarian pretence. Not least, these works are expression of a general cultural state, manifesting itself for the artist in oppressed passion, growing incapacitation and fear of life.

    Peter Peer

  35. 35.

    Rudi Molacek, Rose, 1999

    Rudi Molacek

    Rose, 1999

    [Austrian Sculpture Park, Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Rudi Molacek, Rose, 1999, Foto:

    Photography used to be the basic medium for Rudi Molacek’s artistic creation. In 1984 he turned to painting and used his experience as a photographer in interpreting the image as a technical system, and also in transferring it to the panel. He started to experiment with carrier materials and techniques, contrasting oil painting with computer painting or serigraphy. He submits the classic motif of the flower – mainly the rose – to various aesthetical procedures. For him, the rose is the symbol of popular culture par excellence: a symbol of democratisation, covering a wide emotional range. Thus with plastic tulips in a serial arrangement, he composes a flowerbed or develops floral carpets, tablecloths or glass tables using schematic rose serigraphy. The rose blossom receives an elitist treatment in his alloy sculptures, which come in all colours – pink, yellow, green, blue, black, white etc. – and are placed in the public space, in parks and gardens. The black rose is located in the Skulpturenpark, where she unfolds her aura against nature in the form of a gigantic ground sculpture. The motif of the rose was derived from the world of technical media and will be transferred to the three-dimensional character of a sculpture, thus again finding her place in nature. Molacek does not perceive himself as a flower painter or landscape designer. His points of reference are the New York scene pop artists stretching from Andy Warhol, to Jasper Johns and Claes Oldenburg, whose superlative explicitness in their works gave otherwise negligible objects an icon-like status. Thus Molacek also conventionalises the open rose blossom as a monumental emblem, in order to alienate but also to effectively highlight its aesthetical attraction in the material and supra-dimensionality.

    Christa Steinle

  36. 36.

    Erwin Wurm, Fat Car, 2000/2001

    Erwin Wurm

    Fat Car, 2000/2001

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Erwin Wurm, Fat Car, 2000/2001, Foto:

    The car as a symbol for mobility plays a favoured role in the art of the 20th century, stretching from Marinetti’s Manifesto of 1909 (“A racing car is more beautiful than the Nike of Samothrace”) to the ‘car compressions’ by Cesar, Arman, and Vostell. Mainly in the Nouveau Realisme, Fluxus and Happening movements, immobility was highlighted by works such as the car cast in concrete by Wolf Vostell or Gottfried Bechtold’s “Concrete Porsche”. Thus they continue a tradition within object art of turning objects into art. Erwin Wurm’s sculptural work is to be placed within these art movements from Duchamp to action art. In addition to his playful treatment of the function of use of objects, he also focuses on the material and material manipulation of sculpture. Duchamp was the first to fathom the material state of sculpture, when in his 1919 work “Air de Paris”, he exhibited “immaterial air”. Subsequently since the 1960s, numerous artists such as Yves Klein, Carl André and Richard Serra have made the material status of sculpture the object of their artistic examination. With his “Fat Car”, Erwin Wurm addresses the classic concept of the volume of a sculpture. Through putting additional layers of material onto a vehicle, he extends it to the extent that the object of use loses its natural proportions and form. With the polyester added, the car does not only become a “fat car” but also an object expanded by volume, as was also shown in Wurm’s up-to-date practice of jumper sculpture on people. The car, however, is also transformed from a metal object into a visually soft object in a more surrealist tradition. The car seems to melt like in Dalì’s work; it does not become immobile due to its “obesity” and enormous volume, but also due to its softness. It appears to be a grotesque monster.

    Christa Steinle

  37. 37.

    Jeppe Hein, Did I miss something, Exemplar 1/3, 2002

    Jeppe Hein

    Did I miss something, Exemplar 1/3, 2002

    [Property of the Foundation– Courtesy Johann König, Berlin]

    Jeppe Hein, Did I miss something, Exemplar 1/3, 2002, Foto:

    Jeppe Hein’s volatile sculptures are directly connected with physicality and movement. In their reference to spatial relations and most of all in the public space, the concept of sculpture is scrutinised in its capability to represent by means of the game involving absence and presence. The relationship between physical and psychological experience is enabled with a simple and immediate dialogue; it plays with the reflection about static pre-conditions and the transfer thereof into a flexible and dynamic space. The order established by Hein becomes transparent without the possibility of being researched or influenced. We are exposed to this order, which, once experienced, becomes a secret order that one likes to repeat for pleasure. A minimal shift of site causes here a frontier crossing toward a new and unexpected experience that as a reality, after leaving behind the one location will only exist virtually or in imagination. Thus Hein chooses, as a trigger for making his work visible, an artificial water area for the Skulpturenpark, around which several benches for resting are placed. Intended consciously as an interaction, and sub-consciously as a perception disorder, he fathoms the relationship between designing and eliminating form. Upon sitting down on a certain bench, in the middle of the basin, a water fountain is created which reaches higher than the treetops. It presents itself as visual and acoustic work of art, playfully including the visitor as the trigger and controller. The work is published with the title “Did I Miss Something”, following Yves Klein as “immaterial architecture” and referring to baroque garden design. At the same time it refers to some kind of political-male power concept, whereby latent aggression with its simultaneous beauty, and by means of the potentially spontaneous de-materialisation of the work, highlights Hein’s ironic-humorous approach.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  1. 38.

    Hans Kupelwieser, Gonflable 6, 2002

    Hans Kupelwieser

    Gonflable 6, 2002

    [artists' loan]

    Hans Kupelwieser, Gonflable 6, 2002, Foto:

    Since the beginning of the 1990s, Hans Kupelwieser has been working with pneumatic sculptures that he calls “Gonflables“. One of the aluminium sculptures of a series dating from 1994 has found a permanent home in the sculpture park. The creation process of the figures has a strong random element as the sculptures are given their shape when specially welded, thin aluminium sheets are pumped up under maximum pressure (“gonflable” is French for “inflatable”). The result can thus not be predicted in advance – the sheets change shape depending on the air pressure and develop different surface structures with indentations, folds and ridges. They are either exhibited as closed floor-based sculptures or accessible wall objects, such as the installation “Blase in die Ecke“ [Bubble in the corner], a metal bubble mounted in the courtyard of the Neue Galerie Graz in 2004, which seemed to hover in the air. Aluminium, Kupelwieser’s material of choice, invites the reflection on historical positions, such as Andy Warhol’s “Silver Clouds“ from 1966, the metalised, helium-filled polyester balloons that floated through the exhibition area of the New York-based Leo Castelli Gallery, or the pneumatic objects made from transparent PVC wrappers that were developed as futuristic interior design objects by Austrian artists and architects in the 1960s, for instance by Hans Hollein, Walter Pichler or Hausrucker-Co. But with the illusionary use of material, Kupelwieser adds an important dimension to the concept: his material is not plastic film, which is easily shaped by air currents, but a metal that is considerably harder to mould. This material simulates a function and ability that do not exist in reality. The interlinking of material and operational expansion, the play with shapes and functions constitute an independent thread in the complex fabric of contemporary sculpture; a thread that Kupelwieser keeps developing further.

    Christa Steinle

  2. 39.


    Heinz Gappmayr


    [Property of the foundation, sponsor: Alpenschild Gebell]


    If one wants to be accurate, one has to admit that the present is just too short to be truly perceived. In the end, almost everything is “not yet” or “not any more”. Thus it seems consistent if the artist does not offer a work of art in the present, but rather assumes it had been there, or that it will be. Hence its absence is the most realistic status. A text will help us to deal with this fact and bear with it. The illusion in which we live is the incompleteness with which we have to deal. The image we create of reality is, similar to language, part of a reality which we are not capable to grasp fully. We can only draw near, but have to understand that one part will always be missing. Heinz Gappmayr, who since the early sixties has been artistically active in the fields of concrete poetry, concept art and aspects of minimal art, continuously shows us in his work the dilemma in which we find ourselves . Image and text are used equally, as in principal, there are visual aspects in texts and the image bears a language or textual level. Also in his work NOCH NICHT SICHTBAR – NICHT MEHR SICHTBAR (Not yet visible – no longer visible), language is a means of expression and a basis of the work of art. Thus in the end, it becomes the medium, or phenomenologically speaking, the material. Both text passages are physically existent through their formal quality (black blocks) – almost “already visible”. However, they relate to something undefined that is not there. In the end, they appeal to the imagination of everyone who confronts himself or herself with this piece of art, as everyone expects something different that could become visible here.

    Günther Holler-Schuster

  3. 40.

    Hans Kupelwieser, Badezimmer, 1995/2003 [Bathroom]

    Hans Kupelwieser

    Badezimmer, 1995/2003 [Bathroom]

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Hans Kupelwieser, Badezimmer, 1995/2003 [Bathroom], Foto:

    Hans Kupelwieser’s career as a sculptor started at the Academy for Applied Arts in Vienna, with art and media theoreticians Bazon Brock and Peter Weibel. Thus his concept of sculpture defined itself from the beginning on the basis of a media approach, enabling him to operate freely between various media, material and functions. His sculptural concerns are formulated in photography, furniture design, writing and the digital medium, photograms, and in the techniques of inkjet, digital airbrush and computer animation. He works with all kinds of material, such as rubber, steel, glass and paper, and each work process is subject to a precise conceptual analysis. In the operative language field, material and media will fuse to become linguistic or indexical sculptures, which become particularly effective in the form of flat pictorial ground sculptures. In the ground sculpture entitled “Badezimmer” (bathroom), Kupelwieser uses architecture-based templates to cut standard symbols for wet rooms and a life-size human silhouette into the large-scale steel slab, which fulfils its function in the medium of architectural drawing. The empty spaces, through which the cut grass becomes visible, refer ex-negativo to the presence of steel and seem like geometrical ornaments in a carpet. It is an abstract material sculpture, the perforation lines of which, at closer inspection, can be deciphered to be an indexical information system of object symbols. In this intertwinement of material, form, function and linguistic operation, the co-ordinates in Kupelwieser’s sculptural field of action meet, irritating in their ambivalence of nature (soft grass) and culture (hard steel), an image as a negative of a sculpture and sculpture as a positive of a picture – this again being a photographic paradigm.

    Christa Steinle

  4. 41.

    Matt Mullican, Untitled, 2003

    Matt Mullican

    Untitled, 2003

    [ARGE Bauwirtschaft]

    Matt Mullican, Untitled, 2003, Foto:

    In the early 1970s, Matt Mullican studied at the California Institute for the Arts, creating cartographic diagrams, rubbings, posters, system drawings - sometimes under hypnosis. Today, Matt Mullicans oeuvre is considered one of the most influential contributions to contemporary fine art, presenting itself multifaceted and clear, despite its great complexity. It is well structured and bears witness to imagination. Mullican develops models, programs computer animation, shapes sculptures, makes collages and draws. The artist’s intention is to systematize, to order and to archive the world. From the 1970s on, he has dealt with sign systems. At the same time, he had himself hypnotized , e.g. in rooms that he was describing in his trance, in order to share his subjective experiences with others. Later he developed installations which he called “cosmologies”. These cosmologies distinguish themselves by a special language system developed by the artist , in which diagrams are combined with drawings and representations so that they can be shared with others. From the 1980ies, he has also used new technologies such as the Internet and computers in order to create virtual spaces. These make-believe architectural arrangements are based on urbanistic expertise. Mullican’s WT work, which was installed at the Österreichischer Skulpturenpark, was created in the years when the artist was dealing with the City Project. His drawings, sketches, installations and videos showing a virtual city or world were much inspired by urban space. He creates reduced, simple, but secret models. Matt Mullican works with symbols and the ancient concepts of “world explanation”. His pentamerous work W.T. is part of a work type similar to archive boxes or letter cases. These boxes can represent urban development models or a variety of industrial complexes. Their subject matter is the loss of all world concepts and they are based upon the creation of Utopian ideals that remain eternally valid.

    Teresa Lošonc

  5. 42.

    Michael Pinter, SUB/DC, 2003

    Michael Pinter

    SUB/DC, 2003

    [property of foundation, Sponsored by Medienturm, Schilcher & Söhne]

    Michael Pinter, SUB/DC, 2003, Foto:

    The multimedial approach is characteristic of Martin Pinter’s artistic methodology. Pinter works both as a video artist (reMI) and a musician, and his work “SUB/DC” should also be seen against this media-artistic background. In its basic form, the work fulfils the criteria of a sculpture, particularly in the context of Minimal Art, which, in addition to reducing objects on a formal level, pointed out the formal similarity of works of art to functional, industrially produced objects. The basic structure of this sculpture is a former steel water silo with a length of 11m and a diameter of 4m, which was removed from its original frame of reference and subjected to an entirely new contextualisation. Fitted with eight bass loudspeakers, the silo has become a musical instrument. Visitors have the possibility of modifying the sound structures. The deep frequency ranges produce pressure waves that not only make the sound audible but also palpable on a physical level. The composition data is visualised on an external monitor. In the sense of an advanced sculpture concept, the converted Ready Made can thus not only be registered on a visual level, but addresses several senses. In his work “Box with the Sound of Its Own Making”, Robert Morris in 1961 pointed out the self-referentiality and the time dimension of works of art. Michael Pinter refers to the functional possibilities on the basis of the specific physical and existential dispositions of a piece. This plastic experience is not only imparted by the three-dimensional object in its materiality, but also by the acoustic structure of the work – the drasticness of the sound.

    Günther Holler-Schuster

  6. 43.

    Nancy Rubins, Airplane Parts & Hills, 2003

    Nancy Rubins

    Airplane Parts & Hills, 2003

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Nancy Rubins, Airplane Parts & Hills, 2003, Foto:

    Rubins condenses electrical devices, boilers, camping vans or aircraft parts she finds at refuse sites to make monumental sculptures. In these, individual components, which are compressed as tightly as possible, have self-referential character on the one hand, whilst on the other referring to the effects of consumerism and industrial MFG machinery. Whereas in Pop Art objects of everyday use in the brilliant aesthetics of availability were given the status of Art, now Nancy Rubins takes disused objects oscillating between being rejected as useless rubbish and fascinating due to their history, and makes them into new fetish objects. The cultures of dumping things on the one hand and bringing them into the museum on the other confront each other in these works – like forgotten and apotheosised objects. Here, Rubins destabilises the individual parts and our usual perception to make them become sculptures. Similar to a shower of only slightly differing information, pretending comprehensive knowledge and yet only causing total chaos, the elements of Rubin’s sculpture culminate in a kind of “maximum credible accident”, unavoidably confronting the beholder. The objects evoke timelessness without function – paralysed - culminating in collapse. The sculpture shows its visionary character in the fact that Rubins had used the same material, i.e. parts of wrecked aircraft as early as at the end of the 1980s, a long time before 9/11. The depressing topicality of this new construction, the aesthetics of which is placed between a futurist flush of speed, frozen disaster and the beauty of the bundled new arrangement, convey an additional meaning, thanks to the real catastrophe. Similar to an archaeological find from the world of fiction, a scenario becomes evident, which transfers unresolved questions of the present into an undetermined future.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  7. 44.

    Jörg Schlick, Made in Italy, 2003

    Jörg Schlick

    Made in Italy, 2003

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Jörg Schlick, Made in Italy, 2003, Foto:

    As a multi-artist, Schlick scrutinised the intersections between aesthetics, scientific problems and those intrinsic to Art, as well as market-related and socio-political questions. The sculpture “Made in Italy” has not simply been deposited in the park, but rather it has been dug into an artificial elevation, and stands as a seven-metre tall and almost four-metre wide wall. Thus, life’s artificial changeability and the potential influence on it, become evident in this piece of art adjacent to “naturally” growing trees. Scientifically it is based on the conclusion of the human genome project in 2001, in which 3.2 billion base pairs forming the human DNA were mapped. Schlick replaces the four elements of the genetic material – the bases adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine – with low-cost tiles in four different colours, imported from the interior-design-Mecca, Italy. Seemingly subject to random generation, yet following a certain system; a section of the world, of life, of nature is manifested in this work. The principle of the overflow intrinsic to chaos, the eruptive discharge that knows no bounds is meticulously tamed and transferred to an aesthetical field of vision. Schlick destroys our ideas of a whole referring to fragments, hybrids and breaks. The importance of the individual work is subjected to the creation of a pattern, a rhythm, and some stringent dynamics. The deconstruction of the image into single pixels, which began with new knowledge about light in the 19th century making it readable only from a certain distance, is now continued. Information gained from experience and scientific pervasion of material creates splinters, which despite continuously enlarged knowledge, do not allow for readability, no matter from which distance.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  8. 45.

    Michael Schuster, Betonboot, 2003 [concrete boat]

    Michael Schuster

    Betonboot, 2003 [concrete boat]

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Michael Schuster, Betonboot, 2003 [concrete boat], Foto:

    Michael Schuster’s work interlinks media-reflexive and conceptual actions with image- and object-like references. His “Betonboot” is a reflection on location-specific factors in a sensually objectual form: first of all, the boat refers to the leisure area with its lake for bathing that is situated near the sculpture park. It seems as if the boat has been catapulted from its moorings and landed among waves of a different kind – in these artificially created rolling hills, whose pleated profile is still reminiscent of the original purpose of the site, when it housed a garden show. Schuster thus does not simply put up a sculpture in the park, but rather makes the history of the park and the surrounding area the subject of his work. The site with its artificial “waves” quasi becomes part of the work, a kind of natural mooring for the boat that has been uprooted, and that at the same time requires the larger environment of the site as its natural context, even if it only ends up on its edges. Because this is not a “real” boat in the sense of a material replica, but clearly a boat that has been cast out of concrete, the object reveals itself as the sculptural representation of a real thing, thereby again alluding to the function of the park as a sculptural space that accommodates artificial-artistic creations that are mostly made of heavy, massive materials. In this work, Schuster interlinks the representation of the realities of everyday life in a leisure context with a reflection on the function of the sculpture park, its content and its specific site. Through the deliberate irritation from and reference to the outside world, we arrive at a state of increased clarity with regards to the inside, the core of the park. Of course, this “stranded” work of art may also be read as an ironic allusion to the overall sculpture park theme.

    Rainer Fuchs

  9. 46.

    Hartmut Skerbisch, 3D Fraktal 03/H/dd, 2003

    Hartmut Skerbisch

    3D Fraktal 03/H/dd, 2003

    [Property of the foundation]

    Hartmut Skerbisch, 3D Fraktal 03/H/dd, 2003, Foto:

    Hartmut Skerbisch once said that “sculpture is not a discipline of the fine arts.” So what is it? “The main theme of sculpture is man’s relation with himself.” This certainly applies to Skerbisch’s work, now spanning several decades, which he generates from socio-political and scientific influences rather than ostensibly aesthetic ones. Among other themes, Skerbisch has developed solar trees, an energy game, and sculptures based on geometric axioms. “3D Fraktal 03/H/dd" is a good example of the way Skerbisch works. The fundamental definition of the piece is best taken from an encyclopaedia: "The term fractal (adjective or noun) was coined by Benoit Mandelbrot (1975) (Lat. fractus: broken, from frangere: break, break into pieces), and refers to natural or artificial shapes or geometric patterns with a high degree of self-similarity. This is for instance the case when an object consists of several smaller copies of itself. Geometric objects of this kind differ from normal smooth objects in several important aspects.” "3D Fraktal 03/H/dd" is a sophisticated construction where five cubes grow out of one cube respectively, producing a total of 156 cubes whose generations furthermore create a sense of dynamics through the diagonal rotation of their axes: the cubes seem to spring up like proverbial mushrooms, and one almost expects them to grow in size. It is characteristic of Skerbisch’s work that even the theory of chaos leaves nothing to chance: the reduction of the cubes is based on the factor 0.44902, and aspect ratios follow the principles of the golden section. The abbreviations in the title stand for 2003, the year the work was created; H stands for hexahedron (cube); dd refers to the diagonal rotation mentioned above. It is also not a coincidence that the footpath runs right through the work: this type of art does not require or want distance.

    Walter Titz

  10. 47.

    Thomas Stimm, Terranian Platform, 2003

    Thomas Stimm

    Terranian Platform, 2003

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Thomas Stimm, Terranian Platform, 2003, Foto:

    The “Terranian Platform“ is part of a world-embracing artistic concept which Thomas Stimm began to develop together with Uta Weber in 1995 under the label “soylent green“. “Terra” stands for a universal concept of home that is valid for all creatures on our planet and that is expressed through decorative multi-coloured designs. This sculptural platform with the inscription “TERRA MY TERRA/ PLANET SO SWEET/ I CAN FEEL YOU/ UNDER MY FEET“ is thus a sensual metaphor for the globe as the basis for and integral part of all existence. This is a planetary socle sculpture, condensed into an art form, which represents and interprets the world as the basis of life and as its necessary focal point. Stimm uses art both as a means of heightening sensual awareness and formulating programmatic concerns, reflecting and visualising one in the other. He thus contradicts all those who consider the gap between emotionality and intellectuality unbridgeable, exposing this view of things as unrealistic and simple-minded. The emphasis on earthy, terrestrial references in the multi-coloured geometric language and socle object of the “Terranian Platform” does not constitute a break with Stimm’s earlier painted clay sculptures that, similar to comics, reflect the world on a small, intimate level. He rather develops their theme through references that now also take up objects and signs. With clay as a genuine earthy material, the artist has created metaphoric platforms of life, colourist microcosms of existence, where poetic subtleness is connected with the purity of life. Via the platform of the sculpture, viewers now have the possibility of exploring their own existence and its position in the world. The platform thus becomes a basis for action, both in a literal and a non-literal sense.

    Rainer Fuchs

  11. 48.

    Heimo Zobernig, Untitled, 2003

    Heimo Zobernig

    Untitled, 2003

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Heimo Zobernig, Untitled, 2003, Foto:

    Epistemic reflections started by Wittgenstein, the Wiener Kreis and the Wiener Gruppe, dealing with the question of what language can do and what could be stated about the world, are combined by Zobernig with equivalent questions about art. Being aware of the impossibility of an objective answer, he subjects his concepts to strictly reduced forms, structures and systems of order, which are created in consideration of the relationship between man and his environment. Using cheap or prefab material used as a clear statement against the preciousness of the medium, he is interested in the condition of the “orders created”, which he analyses, assesses and questions. Zobernig places industrially fabricated concrete rings on top of each other, thereby creating a cylindrical column looming into the sky. In this way, he reminds us of Brậncuşi’s “Endless Column” and of Walther de Maria’s “Vertical Earth Kilometre”, adapts Minimal Art and refers to the appropriateness and simplicity of concrete as a material, as was demanded by Le Corbusier. Zobernig is interested in areas in which objects of art can still just about be defined and accepted as art. Without charging it with pathos, he reduces the design of the sculpture as much as possible, in order to have the material itself develop the content. In this, the audience will be able to read scales via his body measures, but also by means of the constructed landscape surrounding the sculpture. Without a given contents or reference to an artificial signature, set pieces of a modernist vocabulary of forms are used to ensure a claim for original invention is avoided, and to enable a prosaic view onto the world without transcendence.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  12. 49.

    Tobias Pils, Zog den Helfer unterm Teppich hervor, 2004 [Pulled forth the helper from under the carpet]

    Tobias Pils

    Zog den Helfer unterm Teppich hervor, 2004 [Pulled forth the helper from under the carpet]

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Tobias Pils, Zog den Helfer unterm Teppich hervor, 2004 [Pulled forth the helper from under the carpet], Foto:

    The sculpture by Tobias Pils consists of two poles with mirrors that were set up at a fork in the path, with words and sentences printed on one side of each mirror. The texts, only some of which refer to the specific location of the sculpture park, were developed in cooperation with writer Ferdinand Schmatz. The phrase “Haufen Werfen”, a pun on the several meanings of the word “Haufen” (heaps) in German, alludes to the artificially landscaped hills of the park, while the poetry of other sentences on the mirror represent free thought. The title of the work “zog den helfer unterm teppich hervor“ also talks of semantic dynamics, of a tightrope walk between pithy words and their meanings, which remain open. The message that meanings are never fixed, but should rather be seen as phenomena that are open to change, is not only projected by the words on the mirrors, but also by the mirrors themselves, which keep twisting and turning in the wind. As the mirrors never reflect the same scene twice, their content changes permanently. The two paths, the two mirrors and the two texts symbolise two worlds that refer to each other on a dialectic and also on a factual level whenever one mirror is reflected in the other. Pils’s approach is based on the assumption of a real path and a dream path, two components that differ from each other but still depend on one another for their respective definition. This work interlinks openness and direction, freedom and norm. Although the mirrors keep turning and producing different reflections, their rotation is based on a precise construction, and the mirroring depends on the strict physical principles of reflecting light. That the mirror poles are also reminiscent of flagpoles, with the associated images of flags flying in the wind, but also of universally binding sign systems for national and ideological collectives and norms, adds yet another dimension to this structure of relational opposites.

    Rainer Fuchs

  13. 50.

    Boris Podrecca, EU & YOU, Objekt anlässlich der Erweiterung der Europäischen Union 2004, 2004

    Boris Podrecca

    EU & YOU, Objekt anlässlich der Erweiterung der Europäischen Union 2004, 2004

    [artists' donation]

    Boris Podrecca, EU & YOU, Objekt anlässlich der Erweiterung der Europäischen Union 2004, 2004, Foto:

    BORIS PODRECCA: EU & YOU, object created on the occasion of the enlargement of the European Union in 2004 Boris Podrecca created a moving work at the interface of architecture, sculpture and intervention in public space, which he called EU & YOU, Objekt anlässlich der Erweiterung der Europäischen Union, and which has also become known as Info-Pavillon. The work has been executed as a self-communicating and interactive sculpture: Although it works as an info pavilion, neither oral nor written information are obtained there, since it is a self-referential sculpture that refers to itself with cartographic preciseness and moreover reflects itself in a laterally reversed manner. The work consists of the ground plan map? of Austria and of four of its neighbor countries, the frontiers of which appear engraved in national colors. It needs us as places of communication in order to become an interactive sculpture in its own right.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  14. 51.

    Tobias Rehberger, Asoziale Tochter, 2004 [Anti-social daughter]

    Tobias Rehberger

    Asoziale Tochter, 2004 [Anti-social daughter]


    Tobias Rehberger, Asoziale Tochter, 2004 [Anti-social daughter], Foto:

    Tobias Rehberger’s work is situated in the borderland between the visual arts, sculpture, architecture, design and film, moving between different media, styles, and materials. Rehberger’s work emphasises the relevance of social and ecological questions, such as the problem of a madly accelerated pace in an economically dynamised, de-individualised age and its socio-political consequences. In the context of Public Art, Rehberger also addresses the topic of perception, challenging viewing habits by intervening in existing structures and asking the question of what function art has within our society. His sculpture “Anti-social daughter” is the abstracted, reduced shape of a tree in the middle of a mixed forest, surrounded by the brushwood and shrubs of a clearing. Rehberger’s point here is not the depiction or monopolisation of nature, and least of all its camouflaged subversion: Rehberger’s organic-looking, magenta-coloured sculpture, dotted with oversized blossoms, is clearly a foreign body in this setting. The artificialness of the tree is emphasised as an imitation, a simulation; fitted into its site-specific context, it also constitutes an irritating factor. Rehberger deliberately places the sculpture in a forest setting, a cross-functional structure that nevertheless is unable to assimilate the foreign material, despite its formal rapprochement. The unavoidable interaction with the world, the function of the individual or of the work of art that has created its own frame of reference, becomes the ironic inflation within an apparently self-regulating system. The mutual conditionality and concurrent exposure of the natural and the artificial and the decorative appearance of a vegetable form that is independent of the season connect the romantic fairy-tale atmosphere surrounding the sculpture with the archetypal reduction of a symbol of life with ecological and socio-political aspects.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  15. 52.

    Werner Reiterer, gesture, 2003/04

    Werner Reiterer

    gesture, 2003/04

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Werner Reiterer, gesture, 2003/04, Foto:

    A plastic cover, its garish colour forming an extreme contrast to the surrounding natural ambience, is blown up into a perfect ball, only to collapse again with a loud bang shortly after its completion, and to then spread across the lawn like a shapeless, carelessly shed plastic skin before the whole process begins again. Unlike most of the other sculptures in the park, which are based on the principles of permanence and immutability, this object intervenes in its landscaped surroundings as a gesture that continuously repeats itself, thus thwarting its artificially natural framework while at the same time referring to its structure. Among other things, this means that valleys and hills, statics and tectonics are both quoted and alienated by the language of art. This permanent rising and collapsing motion corrects an ingrained interpretative concept of sculptures and objects on the one hand, and constitutes a playful, fast-motion model of geological processes on the other. One of the key characteristics of Werner Reiterer’s art is his effort to destabilise our habits of perception. His intention is not to confuse viewers with outlandish, reference-less artistic feats, but to draw attention to those interfaces where ingrained patterns of behaviour are challenged and where, through a shift of the frames of reference, a vacuum is created that can immediately be filled with a new configuration of content. The dimensions of Reiterer’s pieces are not always fully transparent at first sight – they are visual “games” with a conceptual basis, and they do not manifest themselves in the far-away land of art, but on the level of everyday visual impacts. These principles are also apparent in the luridly coloured intervention in the sculpture park – the balloon that continuously repeats the process of taking and losing shape.

    Werner Fenz

  16. 53.

    Gustav Troger, Materialprobe: Sieg über die Sonne, Kunst über sich [Sample: Victory over the sun, the art of mocking nature], 2004

    Gustav Troger

    Materialprobe: Sieg über die Sonne, Kunst über sich [Sample: Victory over the sun, the art of mocking nature], 2004

    [Property of the foundation]

    Gustav Troger, Materialprobe: Sieg über die Sonne, Kunst über sich [Sample: Victory over the sun, the art of mocking nature], 2004, Foto:

    The title of this work is also its programme: “Materialprobe: Sieg über die Sonne, Kunst sich über die Natur lustig zu machen" [Sample: Victory over the sun, the art of mocking nature]. Gustav Troger uses concrete, mirrors, polyester and paint, “testing” these materials – not in the literal sense of a mechanical endurance test, but in a metaphoric sense. Moving around this installative sculpture with its almost literary name, viewers will experience a series of internal and external images triggered off by the work. Troger places the figure of a child on a rectangular concrete space on the grass, below a tilted wall of the same size that seems to have been folded out of the ground. The figure’s skin colour is chocolate brown, like that of certain dolls. Did the mirrored inner surface of the wall tan the body of the figure? Probably not, as the wall is placed at such an angle that it cannot reflect the sun. What triumphs over the sun here is nothing less than the will of the artist. It is his imagination alone that mocks nature. "Material sample” is part of a long series of works in which Troger works with mirrors and reflections. By means of tiny mirror fragments, the artist optically dismantles seemingly unambiguously coded elements of a complex reality and their environment, ranging from a Porsche over (plastic) horses, columns and altars to a life-size model of caricature agent Austin Powers. Facts are thus questioned or at least removed from hasty classification. Objects become catalysts for questioning the nature of reality. The motto: how real is reality?

    Walter Titz

  17. 54.

    Peter Weibel, Die Erdkugel als Koffer, 2004 [The Globe as a Suitcase]

    Peter Weibel

    Die Erdkugel als Koffer, 2004 [The Globe as a Suitcase]

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Peter Weibel, Die Erdkugel als Koffer, 2004 [The Globe as a Suitcase], Foto:

    We have stored everything we know about ourselves and the world in databases, archives, libraries or other storage devices. We try to record everything we think is important and will help us to learn about our existence and its conditions, in either analogue or digital form. We also carry parts of it along, in the form of laptops and analogue containers such as suitcases. Hence we are not only that what becomes visible through our physical sphere: even upon adding the spiritual component, we still remain incomplete. We are also everything we have, what we deal with, express and carry around with us. We are our own suitcases, too. So, if we are on a small scale what the world is on a large scale… Philosophers, artists, scientists demonstrate to us, that our material and physical life is an illusion and that reality should be sought “outside” – anywhere – just not right before our eyes. We are confronted with this almost everywhere, stretching from Plato’s allegory of the cave, to Hollywood films such as “The Matrix”. Weibel, the critical poly-artist and theoretician has been making reference to this since the early sixties. In his work “Der Globus als Koffer” (The globe as a suitcase), which is to be understood in the tradition of concept art and Land Art, he also takes us to the limits of perception. An enormous suitcase handle placed in the middle of the landscape conveys to the audience that the globe is a huge container filled with data, organisms and objects, which, again, are carriers of information. We are reminded of Kant, who made reference to the fact that neither sensual experience nor reason alone will lead to real insight. Reason and sensual perception are to be brought together in order to make insight happen. Weibel, in his role as an artist and theoretician, has packed this into his suitcase in order to be able to take it with him on his path to cognition.

    Günther Holler-Schuster

  18. 55.

    Markus Wilfling, -3m Brett, 2004 [-3 meter board]

    Markus Wilfling

    -3m Brett, 2004 [-3 meter board]

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Markus Wilfling, -3m Brett, 2004 [-3 meter board], Foto:

    For a long time, the visual arts were concerned with illustrating. Modern Art was the first to consciously look into this issue. An analytical viewpoint was required to counter such illusory manoeuvres critically. It was recognised that a reliable depiction of reality cannot be made. We all carry our own reality around inside us, and have different starting points for possibilities of perception. Markus Wilfling deals with this theme in great detail in his artwork. As a member of a younger generation of artists looking into the concept of sculpture, he demonstrates, with simple as well as intense means, how easily we can “misunderstand” what we see. He shows that physical laws of nature, which are understood in a literal sense, often generate intriguing modifications to perception. An example of this is Wilfling’s “3m board”. A springboard is placed not in front of a swimming pool but is rather laterally reversed, sunk into a pool sketched out in blue. Surprisingly, we receive the same perspective as if the board were viewed from below. The three-dimensional arrangement becomes a picture puzzle; a picture which, thanks to its special construction, conveys different pictorial contents depending on the line of sight. A multi-stable perception appears to the viewer, whereby the perception organisation clashes thanks to contradictory optical stimuli, and the brain attempts to interpret the activation of the receptors so that it makes sense. One comes across similar, spontaneous reorganisations of perception in Op-Art, where human vision is recognised as a procedure of senses. With this piece, Markus Wilfling has transported a two-dimensional experience into three-dimensions. At the same time, he creates an illusory reality which does not exist.

    Günther Holler-Schuster

  19. 56.

    Eva & Adele, Watermusic, 2003/04

    Eva & Adele

    Watermusic, 2003/04

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Eva & Adele, Watermusic, 2003/04, Foto:

    Where there is art, there is Eva & Adele. At the Basel Kunstmesse (art fair), the Venice Biennial, and the documenta Kassel – the duo will be there. In perfectly matching outfits, always friendly, always happy to be photographed. On one condition: “Send us a photo.” They now have thousands from all over the world. Eva & Adele - Slogan: "Coming Out Of The Future" – have been a work of art since 1988. "Watermusic" was realised exclusively for Graz by the two artists of German and Austrian origin, now living in Berlin. At first, temporarily for the Schlossbergplatz-square, where Walter Ritter’s Taubenbrunnen-well was packed into a pink cube. For the sculpture park, it mutated into a water house. Everybody entering this house, which corresponds with buildings outside the park as the archetype of the model “little house”, is submerged into Eva & Adele’s world. Three projections show the couple waving, treading water and scooping water. This is accompanied by a calming video sound corresponding to the activities. "Watermusic" is part of a work which is by far more complex than it seems. In this work questions of artistic communication play the same role as aspects of gender identity and art marketing. Not by coincidence "Logo" was the title of one of Eva & Adele’s shows in Graz, in which they produced the “Lightbox“ for Artelier Graz, an edition in the form of a light box, in which, on walls decorated with Eva & Adele logos of their double person, pictures published in magazines and newspapers were shown. Snippets, enlargements, highlighting the print grid and thus its media character. "Logo" tells in a charming way about the value of being a “brand”. And this is exactly what "Watermusic" does too. Eva & Adele convincingly convey that one does not have to sell one’s soul to this end.

    Walter Titz

  20. 57.

    Yoko Ono, Painting to Hammer a Nail In / Cross Version, 2005 (1990, 1999, 2000)

    Yoko Ono

    Painting to Hammer a Nail In / Cross Version, 2005 (1990, 1999, 2000)

    [artists' donation]

    Yoko Ono, Painting to Hammer a Nail In / Cross Version, 2005 (1990, 1999, 2000), Foto: UMJ/B. Bauernfeind

    In the sculpture Painting to Hammer a Nail in/Cross Version, Yoko Ono aims at the recollection and connection between individual and collective memory. This work reminds us of Golgotha and of the cross as a Christian symbol of the Resurrection. Integrated intoYoko Ono’s intention to overcome cultural, religious, political and artistic boundaries, the visitors themselves are invited to follow the suggested instructions and hammer a nail into the cross. In order to develop sensitivity for this activity, it will not be integrated into a general event, but will allow the visitors to play the role of the offender, in order to commemorate one of the most famous historic religious, emotional and examples: the Crucifixion.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  21. 58.

    Hartmut Skerbisch, Sphäre 315, 2005 [Sphere 315]

    Hartmut Skerbisch

    Sphäre 315, 2005 [Sphere 315]

    [Austrian Sculpture Park, Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Hartmut Skerbisch, Sphäre 315, 2005 [Sphere 315], Foto:

    In his work Sphäre 315, one four-millionth of the Earth’s diameter, Hartmut Skerbisch bolts together six circles, each scaled to the next by the golden ratio and thereby appealing to beholders’ sense of harmonious balance. At the same time it unifies the essence of a whole in its pure material constitution and formal reduction. As interactive elements of the work, visitors move here as indicators between themselves, their own physicality and size in relation to the world in which they are registered, and a larger permeable system. Thus we gain an insight into individual segments of the sphere, attempt to perceive relative dimensions and distances or to discover the spherical penetration of this seemingly solid body.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  22. 59.

    Matta Wagnest, Labyrinth, 2005

    Matta Wagnest

    Labyrinth, 2005

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Matta Wagnest, Labyrinth, 2005, Foto:

    The labyrinth is a structure which stimulates a searching movement. The famous Minoan labyrinth was a construction which led through a number of bends to a central bend, and from this, all the way back to the starting point, via the same turns. The Baroque period interpreted the labyrinth in the form of garden mazes, where the purpose is for the seeker to get lost, to experience a general loss of orientation. In this respect, the garden maze is/was symbolic of the world. Matta Wamnest’s “Labyrinth” is a giant, open, vitreous box which does not block the view of the landscape; on the contrary, it grants the view without curtailment. Allusion to an inversion of the regime of orientation and vision is thus made, which has become paradigmatic for the modern period. The game of invisibility and removal, which necessitated closed and shrouded spaces (the crypt, the disassembled), is converted into open, un-disassembled visibility in the modern period. In Matta Wagnest’s sculpture, the view condenses on the glass, on this pure transparency, whilst simultaneously resting on the landscape. The glass acts as a screen which captures the vision, a screen which presents the “world” as in the way that a TV or computer screen would, although at the cost of its separation and distance from the former. The designation of a vitreous screen as a labyrinth makes it clear that something which presents itself as visible is no less mysterious than something which is shrouded or hidden, as it expounds the problems of the system of vision and occurrence. Size and situation designate it furthermore as a construction or a spatial installation which adds an incarnate experience of the limitations in cinema format to the visible aspect, and which occurs in front of a truly present landscape.

    Elisabeth von Samsonow

  23. 60.

    Peter Sandbichler, Tiger Stealth, 2009

    Peter Sandbichler

    Tiger Stealth, 2009

    [Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Peter Sandbichler, Tiger Stealth, 2009, Foto:

    The expansion of the concept of sculpture since the beginning of the 20th century, which, based on the abandonment of anthropomorphic structures, led to the polarity of abstraction and the return of the object, also raises questions regarding the autonomy of material and putting the object into a social context. Materials range from stone to bronze, glass and concrete, from primed objects to prefabricated industrial material, from the application of the basic elements water, air, earth and fire to the own body and essences thereof. Peter Sandbichler, born in Kufstein in 1964, developed from the end of the 1980s a new language of forms with great interest focusing on social-political questions. This happened on the basis of his knowledge and a classic training as a wood and stone sculptor and after having studied New Media. Friedrich Kiesler, whose artistic and socio-cultural approach “does not strive for the formation of a hierarchy between the useable, the useful and .... as what is described as artistic“ (Martin Fritz in: Peter Sandbichler, Privat, Living with Sculpture, p. 3, Vienna 2008) is of interest for Sandbichler, since he is not focused on what is auratic or ingenious. On the contrary, he designs his work in consistent feedback to proven systems, images anchored down in collective memory and media storage, frequently including the beholder. Thus it is about selected objets trouvés keeping each other hovering by mere drag and compressive forces according to the system by Buckminster Fuller and Kenneth Snelson in Tensegrities, and about the fathoming of connective variables and the fragility of systems. It is also about the general adaptation of historical heroes and personalities such as Che Guevara or Anna Politkowskaja, whom he reflects in the form of omnipresent media; it is about publicity and privacy, universality and individual meaning, about the whole and the fragmentation of form and meaning as well as the absorbtion of and interaction with his sculpture by the audience. Independent of whether Sandbichler embosses metal in sculptural tradition, archives, or works with concrete or material he found or light – the results would always show as objects that seem flexible in their components or become as pixels both analogically and digitally readable. Peter Sandbichler draws basic structures also in the form of tilings, i.e. two-dimensional basic elements he would turn into three-dimensional sculptures in order to show architectural structures but also messages with political meaning. His work Hotel Palestine, 2003, is particularly characteristic of this. Here he reconstructs the modular modernist façade of the hotel, from the front of which all journalists reported during the disaster of the second Iraq war, as a sculpture. In this work, Sandbichler confronts us with a reflection on life and death, media information, denial of reality, veiling and reconstruction of truth, by means of a fragile plastic wall. By analysing the boundaries between life and art he fosters the pervasion of the mundane with both socio-cultural and political impetus in modular structures, counteracting any kind of hand-written gestures. Sandbichler is much more interested in systems and collaborations from which both formal and content-related new determination of publicity would be striven for. Industrial pre-fab material will be put together in form-giving structures in order to re-refer to political, social, public and private intentions and reflect the influence of media. Thus Tiger Stealth too, based on a collaboration with knowbotic research results as sculptural necessity to unveil or hawk military secrets in order to be able to demonstrate power. A form that remains invisible from radar confirms the imaginary efficiency of the war tool. At the same time, the paradox that there is a secret weapon but information about it is widely spread, is of paramount importance for the demonstration of power. Peter Sandbichler says that “knowbotic research” based their complex installation on an announcement on the Internet, according to which the militant Tamil Tigers guerillas in the north of Sri Lanka claimed to own a stealth boat and documented a corresponding manoeuvre in a small-format video. Inspired by this story a fake was staged in the context of the Duisburger Akzente Festival, including this small functioning stealth boat amongst other things. We rebuilt it from a pixel image on the Internet. It really works and is sold via Internet”. (Peter Sandbichler in: Peter Sandbichler, Privat, p. 8) Concrete requirements like e.g. that no angle must be steeper than 40 degrees in order to remain invisible from radar or the development of an ergonomic shape to also house a person and the simultaneous discovery that the stealth boat does not work, does not eliminate the myth, Sandbichler made visible. It also shows the principle of the design formula “form follows function”, meticulously followed by Sandbichler. In aesthetic beauty, the latest materiality, glass-fibre reinforced concrete in the modular system, the bomber no longer appears in camouflage but seems to be stranded in artificial landscape architecture. In a peculiar ambivalence of deception and revelation with regard to its meaning as a military device and after the metamorphosis into sculpture, the work represents itself in double meaning: on the one hand decamouflaged thus presenting the object as an aesthetic structure, on the other hand, the prototype of this underground fighting device sneaked its way into the Austrian Sculpture Park pretending to be a work of art. Thus the safety of the landscape is re-interpreted as uncertain waters thereby shattering our perception of safety and danger, nature and structure.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  24. 61.

    Giuseppe Uncini, Unità Cellulare, 1967/2008

    Giuseppe Uncini

    Unità Cellulare, 1967/2008

    [property of the Austrian Sculpture Park, Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Giuseppe Uncini, Unità Cellulare, 1967/2008, Foto:

    Italian art of the 1950s is characterised by the most diverse forms of artistic expression, ranging from traditional realistic trends to abstract, not-object related concrete or informal formulation. Fiercely controversial debates between numerous groups of artists mark this period. Giuseppe Uncini, born in 1929 in Fabriano, studied at the Istituto d`Arte in Urbino from 1947 until 1948 and came to Rome in 1953; a city which, back then – in addition to Milan – represented the most important centre of art in Italy that dealt with international trends and place where he meets leading representatives of Italian Art Informel. However, Uncini neither follows this movement nor does he see his intentions reflected in Minimal Art. Thus, in 1962, together with Gastone Biggi, Nicola Carrino, Achille Pace and Pasquale Santoro he founded Gruppo Uno in Rome with the aim of overcoming Art Informel by means of geometric forms and object-related work concepts. The group’s focus is particularly on the relationship between art and science, whereas apart from using traditional material, they also experimented with visual effects. During the last years of their collaboration, the artists concentrated mainly on exploring the relationship between space and surroundings. Their last important show was at the Venice Biennial in 1966 before the group disbanded in 1977. Uncini developed a completely individual and new work of art within the changeover from representation as a depiction of reality to an autonomy of colours and objects since constructivism and the gradual abandonment of the image from the 1960s. This abandonment took place due to the influence of Lucio Fontana but also due to action art and increased audience participation. Uncini – who always worked at the intersection between drawing, painting, sculpture and architecture – strove to liberate his work from material weight and genuine individuality. By including scientific knowledge, the meaning of light, consideration of shadow and the discovery of emptiness as an element of sculpture or architecture, Uncini produces an awareness of the interplay between what is possible and what is not. Since science is not capable of regulating our capacity for perception, Uncini’s spaces can be defined both physically and conceptually. In principle his aim is not to represent or convey ideas, but to create constructed works devoid of meaning outside their mere appearance and presence. By overcoming the limits of drawing, painting and sculpture he would use cement and iron rods for the first time in 1958. This material was not only common and uncomplicated, the material even continued to work for itself. Thus, with Cementi Armati, he created a three-dimensional sculpture, stemming from surface and structure. Uncini was the first sculptor to treat the problem of the shadow as a sculptural problem. In his work shadow stands for a space, which both exists and does not exist; an illusory space, virtual space, which he can make visible only by materialisation. Inspired by this, Uncini understood that a sculpture not only covers space but also creates a new space between itself and the environment, an interspace that is also part of the sculpture. This interspace too is materialised in a sculptural way. All of this results in a sculpture consisting of both negative and positive volumes, of space and interspace, material and immateriality. In 1967 Uncini took part in trigon 67 biennial in Graz. He installed a metal sculpture entitled Unità Cellulare outside the Künstlerhaus, which represents the contours of a furnished interior space and the shadow effects thereof. Drawn in one almost continuous line, the parts identified as real appear as orange-painted steel tubing, whilst the corresponding shadows are grey metal rods hammered flat. The space assigned to man – correspondingly large – reaches a degree of permeability, which in addition to addressing the subject of public and private space, allows for following shadows, man’s natural, ever-changing companion. And, as we all learned from Romantic literature, without a shadow, man falls into melancholy and insanity. This work highlights both the tangibility of the real and the imaginary between exact design and unalterable external appearance, and Uncini’s interest in an independent mutation of materials. Indeed, the floor is made of Corten steel, a material that continues to develop when subjected to weathering until it starts to rust to a certain degree, thereby integrating the temporal factor on a second level. Furthermore we are led into some sort of ambivalence between fullness and emptiness, presence and absence, of which we ourselves will become part. The rule that preliminary drawings and sketches are essential parts of his work applies here too. They are part of the collection of Neue Galerie and by means of them and in correspondence with the artist it was possible to have the only authorised reconstruction as an important international position for Sculpture Park Austria.

    Elisabeth Fiedler and Peter Weibel

  25. 62.

    Martin Walde, Siamese Shadow, 2003 (work in progress)

    Martin Walde

    Siamese Shadow, 2003 (work in progress)

    [Property of the foundation]

    Martin Walde, Siamese Shadow, 2003 (work in progress), Foto:

    Martin Walde’s work focuses on art as a process-related potential of meanings in the form of materials and motifs that comprise both flexibility and convertibility. “Siamese Shadows“ reflects this intention and at the same time refers to the commercial environment of the sculpture park. The sails mounted on flex poles are reminiscent of the surfers and sailors that populate the nearby artificial lake in summer. However, the sails are not just replicas of real leisure scenarios but also create a poetic-mysterious ambience that involves the wind and the sun on a very real level, making their movements visible in those of the sails, and in their reflections of light and shadow. However, the sails are not just evocative of idyllic summer days, but also create a sense of alienation and melancholy: there is a certain element of Sisyphean labour about them – they flutter in the wind without being able to move anywhere. These are deadlocked sails, fused to the land that they would leave behind in their normal capacity as drive elements for maritime vessels. The title of the work also suggests the influence of light – the shadows cast by the sails, also in a non-literal sense, should be seen as shadows of reality. As “Siamese shadows”, the sails are also reminiscent of Siamese twins, who, through their “fusion”, restrict each other’s freedom of movement and actually make a pitiful spectacle. Upon closer inspection, what at first glance looks like an artistic representation of touristy summer fun turns out to be a reflection on the naïve glorification of nature, landscape and leisure time in relation to art. One possible insight offered by the restricted movements of the multi-coloured sails is that locations for exhibits such as the sculpture park are not simply extended arms of the leisure industry, but primarily places of reflection on clichés of this kind.

    Rainer Fuchs

  26. 63.

    Timm Ulrichs, Tanzende Bäume, 1997/2010 [Dancing Trees]

    Timm Ulrichs

    Tanzende Bäume, 1997/2010 [Dancing Trees]

    [Land Steiermark]

    Timm Ulrichs, Tanzende Bäume, 1997/2010 [Dancing Trees], Foto:

    Apart from presenting a striking symbol of the dialogue between nature and art, Timm Ulrich’s Tanzende Bäume also represent the archetype of the tree, standing for rootedness, natural growth or age, which is subtly and ironically relieved of the usual way it is viewed. In this, Ulrich’s intended connection between art and nature, visitors are also integrated as bemused observers and, at the same time, as agents who trigger the dance of the birch trees through their approach and become both integrated and involved. They are no longer devoted, passive observers romanticising over nature but rather their would-be rootedness, like that presumed to apply to trees as a law of nature, is exposed as a construct and unhinged with irony.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  27. 64.

    Mario Terzic, Arche aus lebenden Bäumen, 1998/2010-2011 [Ark made of living trees]

    Mario Terzic

    Arche aus lebenden Bäumen, 1998/2010-2011 [Ark made of living trees]

    [Austrian Sculpture Park at the Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Mario Terzic, Arche aus lebenden Bäumen, 1998/2010-2011 [Ark made of living trees], Foto:

    Artist and landscape designer Mario Terzic was born in 1945 in Feldkirch and, since the 1970s, has spent a great deal of time working on garden projects and public space design. He managed the internationally renowned Trinidad Project from 1998 until 2003. In the context of this project he developed landscape artwork concepts together with Norbert Bacher and Karl Födermair. In this he largely focused on historical gardens, designing puzzling and challenging concepts for reviving these artificial parks and to help them be perceived and understood through new artistic interpretation. In this period he would learn that landscape parks could only be freed from their static monumental status by means of artistic intervention. Since 1991 he has been teaching at the University for applied art in Vienna; in 2000 he founded the Institute for landscape design. The Austrian sculpture park, designed by Swiss landscape architect Dieter Kienast, houses more than 60 Austrian and international sculptures and does not require any landscape design. Classic materials such as wood, stone, iron or bronze meet here with glass, concrete, plastic, scrap or textile materials within the context of art. This also helps to improve the understanding of sculptural development. Numerous sculptures interpret the surrounding space or interact with the onlooker. ARCHE / ARK by Mario Terzic represents a sculpture which on the one hand grows into the park’s constructed nature, thus being included in the year’s cycle, and at the same time is clearly visible as an artistic intervention of 20 metres in length. The unique combination of art and nature, the mutual interdependence between climate conditions and human design, the changeability in “grown” time are some of the components that have paramount importance in this work by Mario Terzic. The Arche / ark will not enter the Austrian Sculpture park as a finished structure, but – in a completely different understanding of sculpture in the exterior space – will rather address both future focal topics of mankind and yearnings, such as: Weather, climate, external conditions and growth, development or transitoriness, topics we continuously encounter become both visible and things we can experience in this sculpture. Thus this enormous ship is created from its own basic material, timber, whilst we are irritated by the reversal of common procedures: Trees are not felled to be taken away for the construction of a ship to sail the oceans, but are planted and taken care of to make sure they grow into a ship. Hence the ship remains deeply rooted and anchored in comprehensible development and ageing and reinterprets the surrounding lawn as a field of liquid movements. In addition to the long tradition of the meaning of the ship, conveying departure, curiosity, adventure and parting or failure - here art appears as ARCHE / ARK, as the only instrument guaranteeing survival.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  28. 65.

    Wolfgang Becksteiner, Wertverschiebung, 2010 [shift of value]

    Wolfgang Becksteiner

    Wertverschiebung, 2010 [shift of value]

    [Universalmuseum Joanneum GmbH]

    Wolfgang Becksteiner, Wertverschiebung, 2010 [shift of value], Foto:

    The ambiguous combination of uncertainty and the promise for salvation is formed by a basic human desire for security. If religion points to the afterlife and the economy guarantees gold as eternally lasting and securing material, so it is art that defines questions instead of answers: the bars are not equivalent to the real size of a standardized gold bar. Becksteiner exchanges their material into finest concrete, pours the bars and furnishes them with a work title, a serial and an edition number. The strategy of constituting a limited edition enables the artist to overcome the crisis and perfectly translate and subtilize high profile share values through art. Characteristically, the art work, a gift by the artists Günter and Anni Brus, is formed of 999 bars, stapled as goods on a pallet. Thus art invests in art which finally is freely accessible for the public.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  29. 66.

    Hans Hollein, Das Goldene Kalb, 2011 [The golden Calf]

    Hans Hollein

    Das Goldene Kalb, 2011 [The golden Calf]

    [loan from private property]

    Hans Hollein, Das Goldene Kalb, 2011 [The golden Calf], Foto:

    In 2011, the artwork „Das Goldene Kalb“ (the golden calf) by universal artist Hans Hollein, was exhibited in front of the Neue Galerie as part of his solo show. In 2013, the sculpture was transferred to the Austrian Sculpture Park. The art work is based on technical revolution in reference to the importance of speed and machinery of the futurists and cubists and thus reflects motion and change in space and time through technology and materiality. It’s not alone the interlocking of materials such as light, colour, substance and their consistency through scientific knowledge but also speed, which incorporates unimaginable dynamics and colludes with the repositioning of space and time. Hollein knowingly cites the first technical means of transportation, the train, which is controllable and comprehensible by prefabricated rails but at the same time provides and opens utopian impulses for new life forms. The connection of art and craft, art and technics or art and industry, developed through Bauhaus and De Stijl, finds a further culmination in the manifest declaration given by Hollein in 1968 ‘Everything is Architecture’, which, similar to the statement by Joseph Beuys in 1967 ‘Every Person is an Artist’, demands social change as well as self-responsibility of the human kind. When Hans Hollein declares automobiles as well as this railway waggon as art, he does not condemn or judge particular disciplines but democratises them. Parallel to this, he examines ideological, material, religious, ritual, idealistic and mercantile values and confronts us with them in character of a railway waggon representing its potential of movement rather than its dynamics per se, as a waggon is being transported, therefore carried along. The railway waggon, a well-known object, is isolated from its usual environment and thus constructs a new reality. The artwork, built in times dominated by information- and communication technology, refers intentionally to the technical beginning, therefore into the past. At the same time it refers to an utopic vision of a beautiful life through its readiness for dynamics, thus to the future. However, despite its potential to move, which is nothing but an analogy of placelessness, it is located in the present. As part of this artwork, Hollein covers the waggon for mineral oil transportation, the ‘liquid gold’, in the colour Gold. That way Holleins phrase ‘All construction is cultic’ (which he coined through his oversized waggon as a monument for the victims of the Holocaust in the year 1963) oscillates between sacred symbolism and pop, highest value and virtual reality, archaic and elusive manners, especially considering the context of the title pertaining to the Old Testament and the quote of the biblical idol.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  30. 67.

    Mandla Reuter, Untitled, 2013

    Mandla Reuter

    Untitled, 2013

    [artists' loan]

    Mandla Reuter, Untitled, 2013, Foto:

    ‘Untitled’ by Mandla Reuter, a piece of his artwork ‘Parks’, realised as part of the Artist in Residence programme in 2013, stands self-governed, discusses and enlarges the concept of sculptures on various levels. In his works, Reuter thoroughly addresses the question how space and territory can be occupied and defined. In due consideration of the venue of the Austrian Sculpture Park, Reuter constitutes references that stretch further beyond the limits of the park. The Austrian Sculpture Park is defined as architectural garden exhibition area, in which art, nature and visitors enter a dialogue. Furthermore, it is placed nearby an artificially made adventure-, amusement- and entertainment location. This situation interests Reuter as well as the tension of space and area. Even to be able to be at several different places at once is equally relevant. His work deals with existing places which refer to each other, are connected and bear a relation to each other. Thus they are renegotiable. Unusual approaches and complex interpretations thus lead to new perceptions and conceptions. Through positioning the exhibit on top of the front right side of the roof of the Berggarten-Café, he conveys the existing location as well as the artwork itself in a state of uncertainty, between fiction and reality. In this way, as he states, he produces not a sculpture, but images that tell stories, always new and different. At the same time he combines the park with specific actions to keep the bodies, the world and ideas connected. The use of white Carrara marble refers to classical sculpture and its possibilities of narratives, far beyond the actual art work. The tree trunk, corresponding with the concrete pillars of the Café, is supposed to be the supporting element, a part of the sculpture and also the pedestal. A game of semantic shifts, variability of presence and absence, idea and determination of places, linkage of architecture, park and sculpture, of lightness and weight, of locality and interconnectedness, of occupation and development of spaces as well as of localisation and deployment is being started. The untreated block of marble on the roof irritates usual expectations of space and function, but also of the means of sculpture. Since the artist does not provide the sculpture with any individual handwriting, he thus puts us in a state of conversion, which opens up new perspectives. Thus, Reuter reduces the sculpture to a material and technical minimum as well as he dismisses conditioned concepts of placement, implementation and interpretation. Furthermore, he combines the notion of the park in several facets and intentions in order to create a diversity of meanings, location-interdependence and freedom of association in accordance with mental and formal precision.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  31. 68.

    Manfred Wakolbinger, Placement (Giardini), 2012

    Manfred Wakolbinger

    Placement (Giardini), 2012

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Manfred Wakolbinger, Placement (Giardini), 2012, Foto:

    Manfred Wakolbinger was born in 1952, and grew up in the heyday of hippies and rock’n’roll, the time of psychedelic, psycho-and body analytic reflexion, the cosmological expansion in art, science and society and the simultaneous acknowledgement of human and political incapacity to solve financial, political, social and emotional conflicts in the world. The confrontation of the inside and outside, the body and mind, including the scope and failure of human innovations in technology and society characterises Wakolbingers artwork. He is fascinated by the first Russian satellite Sputnik, built in 1957, as it passed over Austria as well as by the space probe Voyager 2 who still has been sending pictures to the earth although she exits the solar system in the year 2000. Joseph Beuys, Chaim Soutine, films by Dennis Hopper, Alejandre Jodorowsky, David Cronenberg, the music of Jimi Hendrix (especially ‘electric skies’), the works of Richard Deacon, Anish Kapoor or Vito Acconci are very important for the imagination and mind of the artist. Tool-making, metal working, means of industry, construction and jewellery design constitute the basis for his sculptural as well as cinematic and photographical work, internationally exhibited at the Biennale in Venice and the documenta. Copper, concrete and glass in various thickness, reflexion and transparency, are the materials used by Wakolbinger for his artistic works, using them in various ways to gain appropriate shapes of human bodies, architecture and virtual or real spaces. However, it is not expression he is interested in, rather than in examining the connection between body, machinery, space and time, expansion and inversion, widening and limitation. His sculptures convey a subtle easiness and weightlessness despite the thickness of the used materials which react to its surrounding, change and always challenge our perception. This is also the case with the sculpture Placement (Giardini) in the Austrian Sculpture Park. The sculpture derives from a series of computer-generated forms, which are rendered as 360° viewable objects, allowing a weightless experience of the object from every angle. The sculptures of the Placement series, created with a 3D-programme, lose their character of an artists imprint and are placed as monumental objects into obscure landscapes or places. One of the physical implemented pieces was adapted for exhibition at the Austrian Sculpture Park. Similar to sensual experiences during diving or in cosmonautics, Wakolbingers’ artworks lose a certain directedness or intention, while formally referring to organic shapes, such as flowers or parts of trees or bodies, but also to a frozen condition of the current state of mechanical transitions. The sculpture, as Peter Sloterdijk describes it, reminds of a late hatched bird of paradise touching the earth – a frozen moment of a birds’ journey. According to old myths, birds of paradise live exclusively in the air, hatch during flight to immediately spread their wings to fly and generally seem to defy gravity. The work’s ambivalence between heaviness and lightness, between biomorphic and technic, attendance and absence is additionally emphasised through the floating pedestal. The connection of the sculpture and its base, which is very important to the artist, considering the choice of the materials – concrete for the sculpture and stainless steel for the base – indicates a merger of both materials, but also lets the sculpture appear to be floating above the base or to raise itself from it in pure ease. The works’ subtitle Giardini is intentionally chosen by Wakolbinger due to its environment. The duality-meanings as listed above, that are so important to the artist, are conveyed to our contemplation since the observers’ perception is influenced by the particular surrounding. Wakolbingers’ belief that thoughts are dependent on the places we are in, lets the visitor enter a dialog with his work. Referring back to the „negative horizon“ by Paul Virilio, which denotes the form of space filled by the air and thus the space between us and the objects around us, the sculpture is exposed to but also influenced by space and time and hence comes into contact with us. Thus, we can dive into the artwork, are attracted to it and are influenced by its state of uncertainty in order to create associations between remembrance and oblivion, elaboration and absorption, emergence and disappearance. Set as a state of conversion and as a process of transformation, the sculpture abandons any heaviness, withdraws from any fixation and at the same time enters our mind and subconsciousness as open sign in order to create something new out of it.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  32. 69.

    Peter Kogler, Untitled, 2014

    Peter Kogler

    Untitled, 2014

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Peter Kogler, Untitled, 2014, Foto:

    As a conceptual-working artist, Peter Kogler has dealt with extended concepts of art, painting, film, sculpture, architecture, music, theatre and performance. Since the 1970’s, he has been especially interested in the art of Marcel Duchamp, Concept and Minimal Art or Andy Warhol, that deals with the use of subjects in seriality or the use of plain, ordinary signs and structures in a social, political and societal context. The theory of signs and the philosophy of language are also rather important for Kogler who participated at the Biennale in Venice as well as two times at the documenta. The expansion of the concept of art was of great importance for the further development of art in Austria. It especially evolved through the Wiener Werkstätte with their tradition of opening and blurring the borders between applied arts, architecture, design and stage design as well as through its strong sense for media from the 1950’s onwards, from the avant-garde film to virtual reality. Equally important is the artists’ interest in surface, tilting or merging into space. The three-dimensional transition of gaining independence in his „All-over“-artworks is as well-known and popular as his significant forms of the ant, the tube, and the brain. Peter Koglers experiments with new technologies and his work on the first Macintosh computer started early in the 1980’s. He had been fascinated by the confrontation with complex machinery, which at the same time guided the user on a level of language and communication beyond the spoken word, comprehensible all over the world. He was interested in the computer as sign-instrument, which neglects emotion, hand writing and gestures and on the other hand limits it to the absolutely necessary for a general understandable legibility. Kogler has been fond of historic expressionist films since the 1920’s, with Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (Nosferatu, 1922), Robert Wiene (Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, 1920), Fritz Lang (Metropolis, 1927), of set design as well as of American art history and the „All-over“ of Jackson Pollock. Kogler is known for his reduced and intentionally comprehensible design vocabulary and dynamics, encoded in pictures, sculptures, spaces and places, in which there is a constant change between movement and easing, creating a specific vibration between biomorphic and technoid appearances in his works. In a similar way, the present artwork “Ohne Titel” embraces a tree placed on an artificial island in the middle of the water-lily pond in the Austrian Sculpture Park. Out of mat black, powder-coated sheet steel emerges a sculpture that is as much furniture into an autonomous yet interactively inviting artwork, characterized by infinity, the ring, the area, the space without beginning nor end. The sculpture is placed as central point in the Egyptian-inspired garden created by landscape architect Dieter Kienast. The laser cut structure of the sculpture opens the density of the steel which resembles the entanglement of nature and the movement of the waves and the water. The artists suggests to see the area as place of interaction and interwovenness but also as place of total isolation, for contemplation and observation of the sculpture from a distance. The various forms of communication, observation and utilisation reveal limitations as illusions and extend our field of perception and action. The permeability of the sculpture, achieved by laser technology, resembles a net, an elastic material, and thus represents the interactive and dynamic process between nature, art and human. The object represents not only the multiple coding but also multifunctionality. Graspable on various levels, we are invited to see, perceive, to sit, to keep silent or to communicate – anyways to join a dialogue. The sculpture evokes an internalized point zero of focus, similar to language in all its modalities and possibilities.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  33. 70.

    Klasse Tobias Rehberger, Städelschule Frankfurt, Artist in Residence 2014, In Then Out, 2014

    Klasse Tobias Rehberger, Städelschule Frankfurt, Artist in Residence 2014

    In Then Out, 2014

    [property of the Private Foundation Austrian Sculpture Park]

    Klasse Tobias Rehberger, Städelschule Frankfurt, Artist in Residence 2014, In Then Out, 2014, Foto: JJ Kucek

    In 2014, the students of the artist Tobias Rehberger at the Städelschule in Frankfurt were invited to run the residency and thus decided, that the whole class will participate. In June, the students, accompanied and contextually guided by Rehberger, visited the Austrian Sculpture Park to analyse and dedicate themselves to the logistic and architectural challenges of erecting a residence for the programme within the park. While camping and experiencing the park from a dwellers’ perspective, they made themselves familiar with the necessities that a housing unit would need, and transformed them into a draft for a sculpture that ideally remains usable. The Sculpture was built by the students themselves during their second stay with the help of local metalworkers, who prepared the metal frames for the construction according to the draft beforehand, assisted with the foundation and the wrapping of the walls. The sculpture consists out of several elements, beginning with a static architecture. Tall metal frames in various sizes protrude out of the ground, forming a scaffold for the walls of the residence. The walls and the roof are formed out of stretch foil, which is tightly wrapped around the frames, allowing a variety of designs. Stretch foil is a material generally used for packing and securing pallets or crates for transportation and can be acquired in different colours and widths. Under special consideration of the air flow for a pleasing climate inside the sculpture, the walls do not form a confined space. An interlaced system of walls forms the living and working space for the artists in residence, without shutting it off completely. In future, a procedural and participatory approach develops and alters the sculpture continuously. Through the wrapping of the frames with stretch foil, the walls are individually shapeable and thus subjects to an on-going process beyond the residency 2014. In 2015, the art students of the local Ortweinschule will design the new appearance of the sculpture. 2016 the transformation will be accomplished by students at FH Joanneum, MA Exhibition Design.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  34. 71.

    Bernhard Leitner, Aspen Dome, 2015

    Bernhard Leitner

    Aspen Dome, 2015

    [Österreichischer Skulpturenpark]

    Bernhard Leitner, Aspen Dome, 2015, Foto:

    In addition to precisely calculated pyramidal elevations, artificial paths, water-lily and lotus blossom ponds or areas making differentiated references to historical garden concepts, the garden architecture concept specially developed by Dieter Kienast for the grounds of the Austrian Sculpture Park also features areas that have been left as they have grown randomly. To discover Bernhard Leitner’s sculpture, we must enter one of these woody areas. Consisting of eight aspens planted in the form of an octagon measuring ten metres in diameter, this work grows over the years, ultimately evolving into a walk-in dome open at the top. For the first time, Bernhard Leitner has developed a sound-space sculpture that arises directly out of and in its surroundings. Important contexts such as bodily structures and their references to nature, perception and reflection, architecture, light, time, sound, speed and motion are themes within which Bernhard Leitner spans out his work. While his studies of architecture serve as a basis for three-dimensional conception and development of his specific spaces, the intermeshing of architecture, sculpture, graphic design, sound, choreography and new media with physical experience and perception eludes any clear-cut categorisations. Significantly, he was a teacher at the University of Applied Art in Vienna for almost two decades (Institute of Media Art, Cross-Media Art class). Leitner’s understanding of the mutual contingency and unity of body, dimension and motion arises from his study of critical Viennese modernism, with Karl Kraus, Adolf Loos or Ludwig Wittgenstein, and the new music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, Luigi Nono, Mauricio Kargel, Morton Feldmann, Edgar Varese, John Cage or Jannis Xenakis. Exploring conceptual and minimal art, he came across works by Richard Serra, Donald Judd or Carl Andre during his time in New York. Of equal interest are new forms of dance with Lucinda Childs, but also the classical ballet of George Balanchine or works of Merce Cunningham and the compositions of John Cage, whose art represents a consistent rejection of the struggle for expression, beginning to understand sound itself as a medium that may be shaped in space. Body art, performance, happening and actionism illustrate how three-dimensionality can be felt and expressed through the body. Leitner deduced an understanding whereby the human being as a whole acts as a device for hearing and as a resonating body. By using and incorporating sound and tone, he thus creates spaces and sculptures that, on the one hand, open up and overcome boundaries, but deliberately set up boundaries, on the other. The result is an interplay of inside and out, that takes aspects of time, space and body into consideration. With Aspen Dome for the Austrian Sculpture Park, Bernhard Leitner is adding an architectural octagonal form to his conceptual work, at the same time limiting himself by his choice of site and means to eight trees, that he does not majestically place with a monumental gesture, but rather integrates into an existing woody area. We enter a newly evolving space that is constructed without any technical aids or amplifications, on the one hand delimited, on the other open and accessible at all times. It permits ever new variations of hearing, its sound coming into being regardless of our presence or absence. Bernhard Leitner makes a clear distinction between incidental hearing and intent listening, consciously engaging and taking in sound in and through the body, whose penetration can be perceived here acousto-haptically in an intimate combination of seeing, hearing and feeling. He leads us to what is in each case a unique experience of space in the here and now. Changes ensue from the varying experiences, influenced not only by climate influences or seasonal differences, but also by differentiated bodily conditions: “The acoustic world is equally a haptic world, which is often overlooked due to our equating hearing and the ear. […] Acoustic haptics plays a key role in my work. The ear is a marvel, but we also hear with our skin, bones, bone tubes, the plates of the bone structure, the membranes, cavities and channels.” (Bernhard Leitner: “Mit dem Knie höre ich besser als mit der Wade”. Über Ton-Raum-Architekturen im Kopf, im Körper und anderswo. Stefan Fricke im Gespräch mit Bernhard Leitner, in: P.U.L.S.E., Bernhard Leitner/ Räume der Zeit/ ZKM 1998, p. 175) So not only are we integrated into Bernhard Leitner’s work, we act as a kind of instrument and agent, instead of merely listening or viewing in the passive sense: “I want the brain to think in terms of tone and space, I want it to be able to and to want to hear spaces.” (Bernhard Leitner in the lecture Landschaft hören on 10/6/2015 at Kunsthaus Graz, during his stay as artist in residence at the Austrian Sculpture Park.) The artist is interested in feeling his way through space and in the variability of space. Acoustic space is not static, it comes and goes, with time being the important parameter and the course of events, that cannot be controlled, is to be understood as having no beginning or end. Light, temperature and humidity play as important a role as our physical condition; in the morning, for example, we hear differently to in the evening or we have different sensitivities. Knowledge of these conditions, based among other things on detailed acoustic and architectural studies in the 17th and 18th centuries, was influenced by Athanasius Kircher, among others. Kircher not only included the four elements water, fire, air and earth in his observations, but also occupied himself with ideas pertaining to nature and acoustics, including those of Augustine, Pythagoras or Seneca, to formulate his own discoveries: “In Sicily at Mount Etna, when the Euronotus blows/ a constant harmonious sound is heard/ no different/ than when one would hear several strings tuned to the 5th, 3rd and 8th. The author just observed this in the trees of different size/ when they were moved by the wind/ when one tree is twice the size of another/ for example the cypress and the poplar…” (Kircherus Jesuita Germanus Germaniae redonutas: sive Artis Magnae de Consono & Dißono Ars Minor; Das ist: Philosophischer Extract und Auszug, aus deß Welt-berühmten Teutschen Jesuitens Athanasii Kircheri von Fulda Musurgia Universali. Authors: Athanasius Kircher, Andreas Hirsch, Verlag Gräter 1662. Original: Bayrische Staatsbibliothek; digitalised on 19 Oct. 2012, p. 265). With Aspen Dome, Bernhard Leitner not only recalls this almost forgotten analysis, he consistently reduces its authorship to the special constellation of specific trees in a specific setting. He draws for this purpose on an existing vocabulary of form, with the aid of which he reinstalls rooted, mutable and ephemeral aspects, allowing us to experience them, recalling comprehensive perception and making us conscious of vertical hearing – “inward listening”, explaining quite simply: “Every tree has its own sound. The aspen (Populus tremula) has a particularly fine sound, that can be heard in the slightest movement of air. It is the long-stemmed leaves that strike each other quickly and softly in their free rotational movements. In March 2015 a circular grove was cleared in a piece of woodland in which eight young aspens were planted in an octagonal layout. In around three years’ time, their tops will close to form a dome-like form and allow visitors to experience the interior of the aspen dome as a space of hearing.”

    Elisabeth Fiedler

  35. 72.

    Eric Kläring/Heimo Zobernig, Untitled (Project space/Platform), 2013/2016

    Eric Kläring/Heimo Zobernig

    Untitled (Project space/Platform), 2013/2016

    [Universalmuseum Joanneum]

    Eric Kläring/Heimo Zobernig, Untitled (Project space/Platform), 2013/2016, Foto: UMJ

    Reducing things to the point at which nothing else can be omitted and everything has nevertheless been said is characteristic of Heimo Zobernig’s modus operandi. Always taking human proportions into consideration and aware that everything that he produces is art, he touches on all spheres of life, setting up and allowing us to come up against new boundaries that we can experience, putting the spotlight on things that already exist so as to allow us to perceive and to enable things yet to come. Using cheap materials, he detaches simple aspects from profoundly complex situations, allowing them to serve as agents for new things. Precision, stringent titling of all of his works as Untitled, using only the Helvetica typeface and formats that allow for and reformulate conditions of space and content are characteristic of his mode of thinking. At the same time, Zobernig encourages an intermeshing of different disciplines and practices of art. In the same way that a denotation can become a banner, language an image, performance a video, video a painting, painting a sculpture, and sculpture a piece of furniture or architecture, so too can architecture morph into an exhibition space. In this way, together with Eric Kläring, in 2013 Zobernig created an approximately 12sqm project space in the courtyard of Kunsthaus Graz as a structure that is equally a sculpture, architecture and exhibition space. Reduced to the floor slab that has shed its three-dimensional shell, he distils a piece that not only explores the topic of pedestal and sculpture from a new angle, but also bestows it with fresh potential by means of his formulation. Developed as a stand-alone artwork in the Sculpture Park, it pans out new opportunities as a wall-less open project space available for use by other artists. Within this ambivalence and extension of the sculpture concept, students of Textual Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, who are visiting as artists in residence this year, are invited to create stand-alone, intermeshing works for this space in an initial phase.

    Elisabeth Fiedler

Austrian Sculpture Park

Thalerhofstraße 85
8141 Premstätten, Österreich
T +43-316/8017-9704


Opening Hours
24. March to 31. October Mon-Sun, public holidays 10am - 8pm


Office address:

Marienplatz 1/1, 8020 Graz
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