Heinz Gappmayr


Strictly speaking, the present is too short for us to be actually able to perceive it. Ultimately, almost everything is either ‘not yet’ or ‘no longer’. Seen in this light, the artist does not offer a work of art at all, but merely operates from the assumption that one was there, or will be there. In reality, too, we are constantly dealing with incompleteness and absence —we can only ever grasp it as part of a factuality or in recognising that a piece is missing. To emphasise this position, Gappmayr uses language that is ‘already visible’.


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.

Author: Günther Holler-Schuster 
Plan & Overview: Position 39
Owner: [Property of the foundation, sponsor: Alpenschild Gebell]
Biography: Heinz Gappmayr

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