From 15 February 1990 to 29 April 1990
Curated by Rudi Fuchs and Johannes Gachnang
Arnulf Rainer (Baden, Austria, 1929) is widely recognised as one of Austria’s pre-eminent artists of the post-war period, and has developed a complex, multiform artistic vocabulary. His painting career took off in the 1950s when he adopted the complicated Übermalung technique, which involved superimposing pictorial elements onto a base image, produced either by the artist himself or by others. There is no trace left of the original iconography, which lies hidden, almost necrotized, under successive layers of paint. Although Rainer went on to explore new directions, this method would remain a core part of his artistic practice. In the late 1960s he started working with photographs, initially using enlargements of his own face, contorted into a variety of odd expressions and grimaces, and subsequently a wide range of different subjects such as acrobats, animals and Byzantine icons. He would slowly and painstakingly apply paint to these images, returning to the same surface numerous times. His style is nimble, impulsive and disjointed, and prone to continual changes and distortions. Dramatic and plaintive, Rainer’s work is based on a non-linear idea of time, where past and present are trapped in a circular labyrinth within which the artist moves, adding one experience to another.