Critics’ Picks

View of “Siggi Hofer: WOOF,” 2014.

Vienna

Siggi Hofer

Galerie Meyer Kainer
Eschenbachgasse 9
June 11 - July 19

The sculptures, drawings, and paintings on view in this exhibition by the south Tyrolean artist Siggi Hofer were produced in 2013 and ’14. They also feel brand new—fresh and lively, sparking any curious mind. They refer to key aspects of Hofer’s earlier periods of production, including drawing, text-image combinations, and distorted perspectives. For his works on paper and canvas, the master draftsman, who now lives in Vienna, makes use of simple means: He lays out a composition in pencil and then draws lines and planes that he later paints over with wax crayons. A lapidary metal rail and a drinking glass serve as his stencils, which he nearly uses for every work. Every one of the twenty-two paintings and drawings here is titled with a year, in an ascending sequence beginning with 1970, the year of the artist’s birth. The series has now reached 1991 with the potential of growing into the present and future.

The colorful word sculptures WOOF, UNION, ACTION, LAB, and LOSCH (all 2014) are constructed out of wooden letters fastened onto a lath. Installed on the floor, they seem to measure the gallery space and are reminiscent of the pick-up-sticks game Mikado. His word-castings and sentences such as ILLUSIONS BLOOM IN THE SUMMER BREEZE, which Hofer assembles from everyday text fragments sourced from high and low culture, function like building blocks, which he then places on his image-supports. A staccato of colors and shapes, the show is convincing, as it is also evidence that in the present, ornament is not a crime.

Translated from German by Diana Reese.