hr / en
Currently on view

Heimo Zobernig – Split

Matt Mullican – Feeling Pictures – Zagreb

Heimo Zobernig

Heimo Zobernig

16. 5. – 8. 9. 2024. Split

The distinctive property of Heimo Zobernig’s artistic creation from the 1980s to the present day is the principle of heterogeneity of artistic expression. His oeuvre encompasses different media, from architectural interventions and installations, performances, film and video, to sculpture and painting. The artist continuously deliberates over the integrity of the art form and the site of its exhibition, and it is exactly for this reason that different media, spatial relations, and styles permeate and intertwine in his work. The important feature of his artistic activity is the consistent inconsistency; specifically, he quite skilfully traverses to and from various forms and contents, and poses through his artistic work – in a quite playful and humorous manner – the essential and fundamental questions on artistic creativity, its historical relations or legacy, as well as on the very idea and purpose of art.
It is evident that, in the four decades of intense artistic activity, Heimo Zobernig has examined the problematics of the formal language of modernism and minimalism. This is quite clear in the continuous research and experimenting with the theory of colour: the creation of monochromatic works and textures with geometrical forms of horizontal and vertical lines that form grids, which are also fundamental determinants of his art.
Following an abundant video and film production that had satiated him, the artist has focused on painting, thereby continuing his artistic and media research. The canvas has taken over the function of the cinematic frame and becomes a film image. With an affirmative approach to the painting as a historical category, but also simultaneously perceiving the painting as a communication code, the author establishes the performativity of execution by picking out the painting as a zoomed-in frame of sorts, through which he conveys information within a specific timeframe, thus creating a new artform on the relation film–video–painting. The zoomed-in video frame actually represents a monochrome, a monochromatic clip which the author transfers to the painting.
In the medium of painting, Zobernig negates – quite thoroughly, albeit unobtrusively – the high modernist ideal of the monochromatic surface, violating its aesthetic purity by introducing elements that undermine the ideal of the monochromatic surface in the context of decorative, functional, and humorous content.
By using monochromatic and pure colours when executing his painterly creations, the artist adds to them – subtly, barely perceptibly at first – the linguistic characters which, upon closer observation, form linguistic constructs with different content.
Through a performative play of colour, structure, and words, Zobernig’s works reveal the artist’s experimental playfulness towards the medium of painting, which he additionally emphasises with historical references and quotes.
At the same time, he poses questions on the legacy of modernity and the present times. It seems that the reason for choosing painting as the medium is not only to make the painting a bearer of a particular message, but also to abolish the limitations of the medium of painting by the act of painting itself; the painting takes over the function of the messenger in real time, it becomes a film frame.
Within set dimensions of the canvas, instead of an immovable image as a fixed and set fact, a play of colour, text, and different structures unfolds in the eye of the beholder.
The paintings presented at the exhibitions in Split are all indicatively untitled; they suggest neither content nor idea or concept, they do not contain the integral, constitutive part that defines them aesthetically. They appear to allude with the representation of their content to the iterativeness of set forms, to the idea that a direct expressive gesture is actually fiction.
By creating his own personal artistic space, by harmonising different forms and contents, by questioning art history itself and the corresponding styles, Heimo Zobernig introduces us – in a quite humorous and peculiar manner – to the very questioning and deliberation of art after art.
(text Martina Munivrana)

Heimo Zobernig was born in Mauthen 1958, Austria. He lives in Vienna. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna from 1977 to 1980 and at the University of Applied Arts Vienna from 1980 to 1985. From 1994 to 1995 he was a visiting professor at the University of Fine Arts of Hamburg and 1999 to 2000 he taught sculpture at the Städelschule in Frankfurt. From 2000 to 2022 he was a Professor of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna.
Selected exhibitions and awards: stage design, Schaupielhaus Frankfurt Main, 1983;Galerie Peter Pakesch, Vienna 1985; De Sculptura, Messepalast, Vienna 1986; Sonsbeek ’86, Arnheim 1986; Forum Stadtpark, Graz 1987; Aperto 88, Biennale di Venezia, 1988; Villa Arson, Nizza 1991; documenta 9, Kassel 1992; Neue Galerie, Graz 1993; Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg 1993; Otto Mauer Prize 1993; Kunsthalle Bern 1994; Národní galerie v Praze, Praha 1994; The Renaissance Society at The University of Chicago 1996; documenta 10, Kassel 1997; Skulptur Projekte Münster 1997; Portikus, Frankfurt Main 1999; mumok, Vienna 2002; Kunsthalle Basel 2003; K21, Düsseldorf 2003; Biennale of Sydney 2004; Kunstverein Braunschweig 2005; Artspace, Sydney 2006; Biennale Busan 2006; Galleria Civica, Modena 2008; Tate St. Ives, Cornwall 2008; MAK, Vienna 2008; deSingel international arts centre, Antwerpen 2008; Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon 2009; CAPC, Bordeaux 2009; Galerie Sud, Centre Pompidou, Paris 2009; Austrian Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts, 2010; Kunsthalle Zürich 2011; Palacio de Velázquez, Museo Reina Sofía, Madrid 2012; Kunsthaus Graz 2013; Mudam, Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean, Luxembourg 2014; kestnergesellschaft, Hannover 2014; Austrian Pavilion, 56. Biennale di Venezia, 2015; Kunsthaus Bregenz 2015; Malmö Konsthall, Malmö 2016; Museum Ludwig, Cologne 2016; Roswitha Haftmann Prize 2016; MIT List Visual Arts Center, Cambrigde MA 2017; Sharjah Art Museum, Sharjah 2018; Albertinum, Dresden 2019; Galerija Kula, Split 2019; MSU, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb 2019; mumok, Vienna 2021; MARe, Bukarest 2021; Galería Juana de Aizpuru, Madrid 2022; Galerie Bärbel Grässlin, Frankfurt Main 2022; Galerie Nicolas Krupp, Basel 2022; Petzel Gallery, New York 2022; Galerie Nagel Draxler, Cologne 2023; Galerie Chantal Crousel, Paris 2023; Galerie Meyer Kainer, Vienna 2024.