Markus Brüderlin

  • Christian Philipp Müller

    Last winter, Helmut Draxler declared that the Kunstverein was becoming a lecture hall, but that it would not be ruined. With this exhibition of Christian Philipp Müller’s work, Draxler, the new director, has made of this space something between “lecture hall, cultural historical exhibition, and artist’s installation.” Müller set out to search for the “Forgotten Future” of Modernism by confronting the works of Le Corbusier, the musician Edgard Varèse, the filmmaker Veitd Harlan, and the visionary urban architect Nicolas Schöffer. In the ideological climate of the ’50s, Modernism had degenerated

  • Nam June Paik

    In the art world, as in intellectual history, most inventions have multiple progenitors. In the field of video art, however, there has always been just one individual who is credited: Nam June Paik. In the ’60s, this Korean-born artist turned the television, totem of hard, material shell and immaterially shimmering screen, into the raw material of an entire movement in art. The Kunsthaus Zurich served as showcase for the rich production of hard- and software from the Paik factory that has accumulated over the past thirty years. It is a monumental retrospective (certainly the largest since the

  • Klaus Merkel

    Ever since illusionistic pictorial space was transformed into the actual picture plane in the ’60s, painting has been preoccupied with its borders. It is no longer the interior space of the picture but its boundary, dividing the picture from or uniting it with reality, which is significant. After neo-expressive painting at the beginning of the ’80s tried to return illusionistic pictorial space to painting, “new abstractionism” brought painting back into the fray of this modern discourse. It took up the impetus of analytic painting, which had shown that painting could no longer be construed as

  • Jerry Zeniuk

    Jerry Zeniuk’s latest watercolors orchestrate a coherent colorist melody. On closer inspection, however, the highly differentiated individual pictures reveal pronounced dissonances: chromatic crescendos of stripes; collisions of complementary contrasts; and splotches of primary colors that move freely, creating a cheery play of color.

    It is quite surprising to recall that this colorist vitalism is supported by a systematic conception of painting, rooted in analytical monochrome painting of the ’60s and ’70s. The watercolor has always been used as a “lightweight medium” that lends itself to an

  • Gerwald Rockenschaub

    Gerwald Rockenschaub is still an “insider's tip,” and it comes as somewhat of a surprise that the Kunstmuseum mounted this first large-scale exhibition of his work. The show was a risky enterprise, because for three years now this 40-year-old Austrian has been presenting empty installations, thereby radically challenging the gallery space as an institution that provides meaning and ascribes value to art. Anyone who thinks of art as framed pictures on the wall or shaped objects in space was severely tested here.

    The smallest room, following a standard practice of museums, had a cord that kept

  • Ilya Kabakov

    The viewer as marksman, the show as a rifle range, the paintings as targets? This may be a rash response to this installation entitled Die Zielscheiben (The targets, 1991) by Ilya Kabakov, where he has spread rocks, crumpled newspapers, and wooden cudgels as weapons on the floor. A few shards are already in the paintings, the “targets.” However, Kabakov does not want this installation to seem all that clear-cut—for it to be taken simply as a banal civil-war scenario or as a dissident barricade against the perestroika stormers. This is an internal esthetic matter, i.e., iconoclasm, the storming

  • Thomas Locher

    Last December and January, pedestrians wandering through Vienna’s antiques district might have been surprised by the endless series of words (in German) that were cut out of opaque black plastic sheeting and hung in the gallery’s windows. Were these typography samples, a store’s inventory, or a new kind of linguistic peepshow? Thomas Locher promised “Keine Rede ohne Antwort” (No talking without an answer) in the title of his installation. Inside, in the seemingly dematerialized cell, the viewer found a set of objects: an aluminum table and two chairs meaningfully facing one another in a

  • Ingeborg Lüscher

    For some three years, Ingeborg Lüscher has been extricating herself from the literary plexus of her partially illustrative painting and relying more on the elementary clout of biomorphic sculpture and abstract painting. In 1988–89, she produced a series of powerful, large-format paintings with a cold yellow sulfur pigment and ashes mixed into acrylic, and, for the first time, the primal alchemistic struggle between light and dark was waged wholly on the picture plane. In the light of the radiant sulfur and the light-devouring ashes, we find an existential split in which the spark of life is

  • Ernst Caramelle

    The young Austrian artist, Ernst Caramelle, who frequently camouflages his identity behind “falsified” autobiographies, managed to “conceal” his work at the most visible place in the famous Mies van der Rohe edifice: the glass facade of this light-flooded pavilion. White rectangular fields, painted directly on the windows from ceiling to floor, transformed the glass wall into a rhythmic strip of transparent and opaque zones, alternately blocking or framing the view from indoors. From outdoors, the alterations suggested a projection of the internal spatial organization upon the two-dimensional

  • Georg Ettl

    In his most comprehensive German exhibition to date, Georg Ettl presented a versatile body of work that seemed more like a thematically harmonious group show of the pluralistic art of the ’80s than a retrospective of a single artist. The show included a selection of early abstract sculptures from 1969; modellike concrete pieces decorated with relieflike pictograms from 1975–76; sandblasted granite slabs incised with stylized silhouettes of heads from the middle ’80s; leaping Lipizzaner horses of gold leaf, and minute reproductions from the realms of kitsch and art history from 1979; batik works

  • Manfred Wakolbinger

    Viewers who have been following the perspicuous development of Manfred Wakolbinger’s work may have been caught off guard by this recent group of pieces. In an ensemble of three copper-sheet sculptures, accompanied by large-format photographs, this young Austrian inaugurated a new phase in his artistic evolution. Since 1983 Wakolbinger has been working on a kind of evolutionary history of the mutual relationship between pedestal and sculpture, foregrounding this problem to a degree that has rarely been witnessed since Constantin Brancusi and Alberto Giacometti. The artist initiated this line of

  • Reiner Ruthenbeck

    Reiner Ruthenbeck studied with Joseph Beuys in Düsseldorf in the ’60s. Since then, he has become one of the most ardent “cleansers” of art, purging it of all semblance and illusionism by reducing it to its elementary pictorial dimensions. He examines the simple behavior of forms in combination with solid, rigid, elastic, tensile, and flexible materials such as cloth rings, cast-iron plates, steel poles, and glass panes. Yet his works, which are usually geared to a specific site, do not exude the cool rationality of Minimal art; instead, a meditative atmosphere of suggestive silence emanates from