Austrian Contemporary Art

This category especially gives a special view on art & artists in Austria.

Franz West – Kant & Kantine

Dear community,

a superbe written quote by Franz West thinking about Kant & Kantine: Kantine the feministic form of  Kant. 

Franz West Kant

The reverse text mentions “Let´s have a look for Hegel´s <schlechte Unendlichkeit>”

Franz West Kant

copyright: Franz West, private collection.

The topic of “schlechte Unendlichkeit” which the philosopher Hegel was defining ( and Franz West is thinking of from a more artistic point of view, have impact to our  daily existence and life. I want to refer to one of my former blog with the topic of communication and another interesting blog to that topic I found ( unfortunately in german language only): “the true organisation”

Mario Dalpra – India. A closer look into the world of his paintings

While the sculptures of Mario Dalpra are present at all his exhibitions, his paintings, are – in my opinion – still a secret to be explored: 2 Pictures out of his India-series:

Dalpra India 1       Dalpra India 2

I could not express it better what is so special in his drawings/painting than some of the people writing in his books,  I just wanted to mention some of the nice text written by the different authors:

“Mario Dalpra is a cosmopolitain – a traveller, yet whose approach to distant lands is way off-track from the usual visual and behavioral habits of travelling.” …  The rapid twisting round of this heads conveys complex emotionalism and state of being.. But after looking  at them for a while, Mario Dalpra´s drawings prove to be incredibly exact compositions of intensely concentrated quality.” (Sylvie Aigner in Mario Dalpra – Drawings-Paintings, W. Neugebauer Verlag GmbH, Graz)

“Like Basquiat, Dalpra´s work also has written characters supplementing the gesticulatory tracing of heads with feet”. “… Basquiat was the forefront in making figurativ doodling into a major criterion in modern painting. This is something that Dalpra, too, feels quite close to.” (Florian Steininger in Mario Dalpra – Drawings-Paintings, W. Neugebauer Verlag GmbH, Graz

“Among the exceptional creative features Mario Dalpra shares with other Austrians is the powerful, natural fusion of painting and drawing.” (Lucas Gehrmann, Energy-charged symbiosis, in Mario Dalpra – Drawings-Paintings,  W. Neugebauer Verlag GmbH, Graz)


Nevertheless my emotions are caught by his pictures, forms , colors and statement.

Dieter Roth / Heimo Zobernig – Artist books and samples of copy book titles

Dieter Roth who was born in 1930 and passed away in 1998, was- among lots of others –  very well known for his artist books (–> see Wikipedia). The Dieter Roth Foundation mentions on its website “Beginning in the 1950s, Dieter Roth took the artist’s book in new directions. Starting with op-art and visual poetry books, he then experimented with all aspects of offset printing and by the 1990s was producing “copy books,” using photocopiers…”

This topic of artist books is also touched by an interesting article written by Andrew M. Goldstein, 2013 called “MoMA Curator Sarah Suzuki on HOW Dieter Roth Invented the Artist´s Book” ( where it is mentioned “…that it’s hard to believe that the medium is less than 50 years old, and more or less indebted to a single artist: Dieter Roth.”

Looking at those “samples(?)” of descriptions of D. Roth´s copy books, I am basically starting to think about, what meaning/history/sense might be behind those words. So I am now looking for the contents of those copy books … the story might be continued.


Before I forget it …The technique of photocopying by the way is something other contemporary artists use as well (even I do not know if. Mr Zobernig was influenced by D. Roth) : A nice example at least would be Heimo Zobering´s book project “Galerie Stadtpark” from 1996 where Zobernig creates copies of the pages of the guest book which was filled by the spectators at the gallery opening. One page in each copied edition is always one original page of the original guestbook.

Zobernig_Stadtpark3 Zobernig_Stadtpark2





Franz West – mirroring autograph

Franz West is known for his special way of integrating the art spectator into his works.

What to do with his autograph in this article?

1. take a mirror

2. Show the book into the mirror

3. Read the autograph

4. What do you think about the “N”




copyright: Franz West: signed in “Franz West 10.april-13 juni 1999”, exhibition catalogue no.32, Rooseum Center for Contemporary Art, 1999



Christian Eisenberger – “COOK YOUR SHOOT SHOOKLY”

Today I would like to introduce the Austrian artist Christian Eisenberger to my audience. According to, he is actually ranked at #1363 (he came from #10000 in 2005).

I show you one of his catalogues “Reserve” (Editor: Markus Gugatschka) signed with a small sketch (on the first & last page of the book).



Eisenberger2 Eisenberger3

Christian Eisenberger was born 1978 and lives & works in Vienna/Austria.

He had solo exhibitions in Vienna, Meran, New York and several group exhibitions in Vienna, Graz, Colombo.

Martin Titz wrote about him in 2010: “Christian Eisenberger is scanty with words and rich with ideas. He is one who reaches into life clear past the elbows. The pool, out of which he creates, is endless, for this pool is nothing less than the world in all its parts. Eisenberger practices his art, namely, in earnest (as opposed to “ironically”) as an appropriation of the world in which he uses and transforms what a place offers, a place that others might not even give a second glance. It is a world of simple things, beyond its use- and exchange value, a chaotic universe made of packages, pornographic images, incense sticks, circulated postcards, worn-out vinyl records, pinecones, suspenders left lying around, ultrasound images of fetuses, pictures of his grandfather and of Marilyn Monroe, tape en masse, hair cuttings from the hairdresser, comments from passers-by and every kind of color; in a nutshell, everything that there is serves as his material. Well, for what use? For new elements of the world that belongs to art’s distribution system: odd stuff like cement sausage dogs on deer legs, Christian crosses and David – the communist star made of water scales – “Guten Morgen” greetings made of cow dung, tape-constructed cocoons, which he slips out of, shedding it like an old skin, in accord with his daily metamorphosis as artist.

Wherever Eisenberger may go, he finds the material for his works already there. He always takes it from his direct environment. Whether in nature or the train station, everything that is handy is used, transformed. That is why all labels such as “Land art” or “Street art” come up short, because Eisenberger’s steadfast, artistic show of strength, even his daily studio work, carries the character of an ongoing performance, in which the working process becomes more important than the result. The artist works often in series, experiments with ideas and materials until he has become weary of them and allows his works to become increasingly loose and unformed. In his exhibitions he likes to recall earlier formations, to vary and recombine them, thereby going to the borders of resilience of both the material and the artist. In 2008 he built an observation tower into the Viennafair using tape and filigree wood slats and invited visitors to contribute all of their physical input to follow him up to the dizzying heights.”

Elfie Semotan – pure photographs

Elfie Semotan (born in 1941) might not be known by everyone. I think, you should not miss out to do it.

Initially Elfie Semotan worked as a fashion model in Paris.  At the end of the 1960s, she changed behind the camera and began an international career as a photographer. Her work has appeared in magazines as Vogue, Elle , Esquire , Marie Claire , Harper ‘s Bazaar , The New Yorker.

In Austria, Elfie Semotan was particularly known for her long collaboration with Helmut Lang, and by revolutionary campaigns for Palmers and Römerquelle. Semotan was married to Kurt Kocherscheidt and Martin Kippenberger, both unfortunately died very early (Source: Wikipedia)

On this blog I show a photo-portrait of the Austrian Painter Franz West (1947-2012) taken by Semotan in West´s atelier. It is a pigment-print on baryt-paper,  (Vienna 1990/2010). 18,7 x 28,2 cm. The motive was later shown on a stamp in honor of Franz West (First Day 14.5.2013)

This photo is one out of an edition of 10 verso numbered and signed by Semotan 2010 for a special edition of her exhibition catalogue in the Museum of Modern Art – Rupertinum Salzburg ‘From Louise Bourgeois to Jeff Wall. Portraits & Studio Stills’.

Elfie Semotan talks about her circle of friends as if it were your own. They are stories from the past 30 years, created during meetings with other artists. The collection of portraits and pictures taken in the studio convey an amicable intimacy They are snapshots by a woman who fascinates and is fascinating and lets us have a peek into the treasures of her world. 39 portraits on 104 pages now find their justified space, in cooperation with Albert Handler from brand unit. (Source:





(copyright Elfie Semotan)

Christian Ludwig Attersee – NEW AUSTRIAN PAINTING- the lone wolf in Austrian Art – not only in the 60ies

On Mr. Attersee´s website ( you can read

“Christian Ludwig Attersee was born in 1940 in Bratislava/Slovakia and moved
to Austria in 1944; today he lives in Vienna and Semmering in Lower Austria.
Attersee spent his youth in Aschach near Linz and in Attersee, Upper
Austria; he was one of the great sailing sportsmen of Austria – thus his nom
de plume Attersee. He made his name not only as an artist in the fine and
visual arts, but also as a musician, writer, object maker, designer, set
designer and film maker.
Attersee is noted first and foremost as one of the leading exponents of
objective painting in Europe during the last 50 years; he is a lone wolf in
nearly all fields of the visual arts.
First exhibitions starting in the mid-sixties bring success, also the
friendship and collaboration with artists like Günter Brus, Gotthard
Graubner, Jörg Immendorff, Markus Lüpertz, Hermann Nitsch, Walter Pichler,
Dieter Roth, Gerhard Rühm, Oswald Wiener et al.
Ever since Attersee’s first objective inventions (1964-66) in the sphere of
eroticism and everyday he has been appraised as an independent influence
alongside other artists in European pop art.
Attersee is the great lone wolf of Austrian art of the sixties, counterpole
to Viennese actionism. In the second half of the seventies, Attersee was the
founding figure of “New Austrian Painting”.
In 1984 Attersee represents Austria with extraordinary success at the
Biennale di Venezia. (…)”

On my blog I want to show to you a small sketch which he was drawing into the exhibition catalogue (“Attersee: Das Schachfleisch”. Galerie Hilger / BROT Kunsthalle, Wien) in 2013. This catalogue has a trade edition of 1000. THANK YOU, Mr. Attersee for this nice sketch!

Attersee1 Attersee2

Peter Pongratz – “Soul.Painting.”

Peter Pongratz was born in Eisenstadt/Austria in 1940. He studied Arts at the Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien and at the Hochschule der bildenden Künste Berlin and was Assistant from 1966 bis 1970 Assistent for Max Weiler in Vienna.

In 1968  Pongratz founded  die artist group “Wirklichkeiten” together with mit Wolfgang Herzig, Martha Jungwirth, Kurt Kocherscheidt, Franz Ringel und Robert Zeppel-Sperl. (see Wikipedia )

Actually, the Essl Museum in Klosterneuburg ( is showing a retrospective of Peter Pongratz from march 18th -to june 2015.

The following picture shows he book “Soulpainting” in a luxury edition of 40 with a colored ink drawing.

Amazing edition.


“Heimo Zobernig on Heimo Zobernig”

As hommage to Heimo Zobernig : “Without title. 2015”

Heimo Zobernig auf Heimo Zobernig

Zobernig Buch 2

Zobernig Buch 3


The exhibition took place in Esslingen / Germany from may 25 1997 until july 20th 1997. On show were items from H. Zobernig created by him since 1985, so it was a kind of retrospective. For this exhibition, Zobering created a book edition where he put colored transparent paper between the black/white paper and he covered the catalogue with grey carton (on the front and back). The invitation card he glues at the front side of the carton.

(see also “Austelung Katerlog”, Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien, 2003)

Zobernig Tisch