Critics’ Picks

Knüller (Highlight), 2007, paper, 21 5/8" height.

Knüller (Highlight), 2007, paper, 21 5/8" height.

Vienna

Dominik Steiger

Galerie Hohenlohe
Baeckerstrasse 3 1010 Wien
April 11–May 10, 2008

Kosmöschen Steiger” (Mini-Cosmos Steiger), the title of Dominik Steiger’s small retrospective at Galerie Hohenlohe, perfectly captures the essence of the artist’s extraordinary drawings, collages, objects, and texts, which reveal a powerful universe, in miniature, to the viewer. Steiger first published poems in 1961 and, in the ’70s, began to base his work on the interaction between text and drawing. Steiger, who has been associated with the Wiener Gruppe and Vienna Actionism and has worked with Günther Brus and Dieter Roth, manipulates found objects and words until he reveals unexpected humor or makes astounding analogies and far-reaching allusions, as he does in the undated collage Kandinskys Wäscheleine (Kandinsky’s Clothesline), which features a piece of paper, with Kandinsky-like graphic elements printed on it, glued between two trees as if hanging on a clothesline. In this work, masterpieces are likened to mere formal details of daily life. Wordplay is his forte, but the exhibition also includes distempered bottles and rolling pins, collages on postcards, cardboard sculptures, and painted fruit peels. The full scope of Steiger’s Kosmöschen becomes apparent in this exhibition, which shows the artist expressing avant-garde concerns in an everyday vernacular.