“As an artist, I don’t want to go into too much detail about how to interpret the terms used in painting. but what i do want to point out is that my paintings are to be understood as a continuation of the painting traditions of romanticism and modernism.” – Heimo Zobernig
Petzel is pleased to present an exhibition of new paintings by Vienna-based artist, Heimo Zobernig, on view at the gallery’s new Chelsea location at 520 West 25th Street from November 18, 2022 to January 7, 2023. This will be Zobernig’s fifth solo show with the gallery.
Since the 1980s, Zobernig’s practice has included painting, sculpture, video, architectural intervention, institutional critique, and performance. What unites such disparate modes of expression is an ongoing revisiting and reexamination of the minimal yet transformative hallmarks of historic, avant-garde art and design movements.
Zobernig began a series of text-based painting in the early-1990s, which would become his most well-known body of work. The first iteration of these canvases were two-by-two grids super-imposed with the word “REAL” – a playful, pared-down reinterpretation and/or critique of René Magritte’s La Trahison des Images. For his latest exhibition, Zobernig continues the series with a set of pieces that include the words “CULTURE”, “FUTURE”, “NATURE”, and “PAINTING”. The idea of “INFRASTRUCTURE” as it relates to art is a particularly beguiling concept to the artist.
While earlier work from the series is superflat and machine-like, the new paintings employ expressionist brushwork. Letters are stenciled into layers of paint with some words and word-fragments popping out at the viewer, others camouflaged among the strokes and drips. Each canvas is composed of a combination of a few elements – color, arrangement, text – but the viewer’s experiences of each piece are dramatically different.
Heimo Zobernig was born in Austria in 1958 and lives and works in Vienna. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts, Vienna from 1977–1980, and at the city’s College of Applied Arts from 1980–1983. Zobernig has exhibited widely in various international shows including solo presentations at the Museum Ludwig, Cologne, the Malmö Konstall, Sweden (2016) and mumok, Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien in Vienna last year. In 2015, his work was presented in the Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
Other individual museum exhibitions include Heimo Zobernig. Piet Mondrian at the Albertinum in Dresden in 2019; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, Madrid, Spain (2012); a show which later traveled to the Kunsthaus Graz in Austria (2013); Kunsthalle Zürich and the Essl Museum, Vienna (2011). In 2010 Zobernig received the Frederick Kiesler Prize for Architecture and the Arts in Vienna and the Roswitha Haftmann-Preis in Zürich, in 2016. The same year, a Catalogue raisonné of his designs of books, posters and catalogues was published by the Malmö Konstall and Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne.