Press Release: Since the 1980s Heimo Zobernig has exhibited extensively all over the world creating a considerable body of work that includes sculpture, video, painting, installation, architectural intervention and performance. Much of Zobernig’s work critically engages with various modern art movements, including abstraction, constructivism, minimalism and conceptual art, as well as with architecture, design and theatre. Drawing on various art histories he questions the principles and conditions which underpin them; challenging and reinterpreting them with a lightness of touch and an economy of material that is at times playful, dry, witty and unsettling.
The canvas series shown in Galerie Micheline Szwajcer is composed of monochromes and grid paintings from the last years. Zobernig questions a classical theme in painting, the articulation between the object and the background and explores themes of minimalism and the historical weight of the opposing pair of “figurativeness vs. abstraction”.
The sculptures are hybrid objects, based on furniture and racks and made of cheap materials. The seeming banality and everyday nature of the materials is reinforced by the reduced functional appearance and standardized aesthetic of the objects. They alternate between minimalist sculpture and functional objects, between the attribution of meaning and function. These pieces, from different periods and contexts all deal with the definition of sculpture and the problem as to what art is or can be, its outward form and function.
The strategy of reduction is also pursued by the artist in his video works; in this exhibition, the video “Heimo Zobernig explains to his double how to make a performance” is installed in a box made up of pieces of colored wood retrieved from previous installations.
Heimo Zobernig was born in 1958, in Mauthen, in Austria. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts from 1977 to 1980, followed by further studies from 1980-83 at the University of Applied Arts, both in Vienna. After two visiting professorships in Germany, he has been teaching at the Academy of Fine Art in Vienna since 1999. In 1993, he was the recipient of the Otto Mauer Prize, followed in 1997 by the City of Vienna’s Prize for Fine Art. Heimo Zobernig has had a great number of international exhibitions, among them Documenta 9 and X in Kassel, solo shows at the Museum of Modern Art, Vienna, the Kunsthalle Basel, the K21, Düsseldorf, the Gulbenkian Foundation, Lisbon, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, Tate St Ives, Cornwall, Galleria Civica di Modena, curated by Cornelia Lauf, Modena. He lives in Vienna.