Gunter Damisch: Macro Micro

Cat. Albertina, Vienna

Exhibition catalogue, ed. by Antonia Hoerschelmann, Klaus Thoman
text (German/English) by Ian McKeever and an interview with the artist by Antonia Hoerschelmann
208 p with 150 coloured illustrations
315 x 220 mm, hardcover embossed

ISBN 978-3-86442-057-3

(out of print)

The break with principles of design

It’s the 1980s: the Death of Painting has been proclaimed and a loose ­association of young artists limbers up to start all over again: with paint­ing. Gunter Damisch, born in Steyr in 1958, was also labelled one of the »Young Wild Ones« at the time. Typical for this style were large, expressive and vividly colourful paintings that meandered be­tween abstraction and figuration. This exhibition catalogue on ­Gunter Damisch’s show at the ­Albertina in Vienna will present his recent prints and collages for the first time. Diedrich Diederichsen, writing in 2012, already points out the topicality of Damisch’s pictorial worlds and, having verified »their pointed break with principles of ­design«, suggests that their very ­versatility is their achievement: »The fundamentalism of all-over painting doesn’t really permit any further development, every step back effectively subverts its own ­argument, but also its initial premise. Maybe this rigid alternative – a ­situation in which there is ­nothing to gain – represents the real opportunity. Instead of trying something else, maybe you can now devote yourself to those ­congealed antagonisms in a more relaxed way. Perhaps you can ­occasionally even correct or ­modify them a bit. For historically-minded projects, this is more interesting than all those ground-zero gestures that are convinced, in their magni­loquent machismo, that they can actually start from scratch. ­Damisch breaks with the logic of all-over painting in different ways. For example, there is ­certainly a sense of projected space in his paintings, residual ­Islands of perspectival represen­­t­ation or areas that allow a perspectival reading. His all-over style fosters the arching illusion of space and creates an unstable zone for the viewer, a fractional dimensionality, not dissimilar to the logic of fractals.«
It may well be that the substance of this insight is what makes Gunter Damisch’s works so topical; in any case, they project their legendary materiality and tactility far beyond pedestrian thoughts of a mere revival.

Albertina, Vienna, 19/6–22/9/2013