Gottfried Bechtold

Kunsthalle Wien Museumsquartier

During the ’60s and ’70s, Gottfried Bechtold’s career was difficult for two reasons: he lived in the provinces, near the German and Swiss border; and he pursued an aesthetic largely unrecognized in his own country. Along with Peter Weibel, Valie Export, and Richard Kriesche, Bechtold belonged to a small group of artists who rejected Austrian Expressionism in all its manifestations, from painting to Actionism, adopting instead a conceptual stance with a more international orientation. Although his work appeared in the 1972 Documenta, he had no solo shows outside Austria since 1966, an injustice that was confirmed by this recent retrospective.

In his early work Bechtold analyzed language and image: in Farbwörter (Colored words, 1966), for example, he wrote the names of colors with corresponding crayons and then listed the same words using different colors. These issues of identity and difference

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