Hamburg

Josef Bauer, Körpergalerie (Body Gallery), 1974, photographic print, 29 1⁄2 × 21 5⁄8" (framed). From the series “Körpergalerie” (Body Gallery), 1974.

Josef Bauer, Körpergalerie (Body Gallery), 1974, photographic print, 29 1⁄2 × 21 5⁄8" (framed). From the series “Körpergalerie” (Body Gallery), 1974.

Josef Bauer

Galerie Karin Guenther

Josef Bauer, Körpergalerie (Body Gallery), 1974, photographic print, 29 1⁄2 × 21 5⁄8" (framed). From the series “Körpergalerie” (Body Gallery), 1974.

A woman awkwardly and rigidly clutches a giant letter k to her chest as though it were her greatest treasure and she fears it might abandon her. The object is not much smaller than she is, and there is something touching about how its cumbersome bulk yields to her forceful embrace. The black-and-white photograph is part of a series titled “Taktile Poesie” (Tactile Poetry), 1965–, by Austrian conceptual artist Josef Bauer, whose work since 1964 was presented in this survey exhibition, titled “Taktile Poesie—die Sprache des Zeigens” (Tactile Poetry: The Language of Showing). Bauer’s “tactile poetry” is best understood as a variation on the explorations of language as a material for art that emerged in the 1950s as concrete poetry—for example in the work of the poets of the Wiener Gruppe (Vienna Group), among them H. C. Artmann and Gerhard Rühm.

Unlike them, however, Bauer

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