Erwin Bohatsch

Erwin Bohatsch’s paintings are rooted in a fascination with anthropology that took hold in the art of the ’70s. They evoke Ur-forms of experience and propagate “untamed” models of thought and perception. Drawing on elements from both Surrealism and folklore, they are intended as subjective antidotes to the loss of immediate experience in our highly civilized world. Although such a characterization might be accurate, it is essentially banal, in light of the abundance, variety, and subtlety of the works.

The traits that characterized Bohatsch’s paintings in the early ’80s—their strong narrative tendency and animalistic spirit—have been abandoned in his new work, which is dominated by organic abstraction. Each painting features one or two relatively simple, semiabstract forms, such as scrolls, rods, ovoids, leaves, or lozenges, set against heavily brushed, atmospheric grounds. Though completely

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the April 1988 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.