MULTIPLE SPACES: Latest works by Austrian painter Erwin Bohatsch go on show at Reinisch Contemporary

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More than ever before, Bohatsch’s new works move beyond categories such as ‘abstract’ or ‘representational’. His images play with both the illusion of space as well as with the role of the viewer in contemporary art.

MULTIPLE SPACES is the second solo exhibition Reinisch Contemporary dedicates to Austrian artist Erwin Bohatsch. In his latest paintings, the organisation of image elements – often determined by the materials used – conjures up the possibility of spatial perception. Suddenly, areas, spots and lines make up legible structures. Lines, areas and sparingly applied colour create the illusion of space – and, occasionally, assign room for the viewer within the space continuum of the painting.

Curator Günther Holler-Schuster:

“The multiple spatial structures in Bohatsch’s new works unfurl before the viewer’s eye, only to immediately transform again. The transformation of forms reveals their inherent rationality. Spaces emerge and build themselves up in front of us with the logic of universal growth. The participatory role of the viewer completes the visual experience and underlines the openness of this painting practice. Ever since the invention of perspective, the illusion of space has been one of the central motivations of painting. Its relation to reality, however, has changed in a myriad of ways. This has led to the development of a reality, which subjects painting to an own logic. Bohatsch’s multiple spatial structures, which oscillate between two- and three-dimensionality, speak of this image logic, which emerges from the painterly process. The simultaneity of various spatial structures within an image gives rise to an atmosphere which only exists as a memory of actual reality and challenges our imagination.”

The work of Erwin Bohatsch has always been determined by an analytical approach. With the postmodern simultaneity of artistic possibilities, new areas of inquiry opened up and began to question, among other things, the value of painting. Postmodernism placed the linear system of modernity, which ultimately formulated its central motivation as abstraction, under pressure. Suddenly, the rationality and possibilities of the medium of painting were being discussed in numerous ways. Umberto Eco speaks of a novel ‘organization of the material in hand’, thus launching a new inquiry into familiar problems in painting.

Against this backdrop, the free interplay of forms, the confrontation and interlacing of contradictory painterly realities, the use of cross-media and transgressive approaches, and the integration of unconventional materials became expressions of a painter’s self-conception, which still remain valid today.

Already in the 1950s, artists sought to overcome the fictitious image space of conventional panel paintings in order to create a link to real spatial surroundings. Essentially, this has not changed, although – as is obvious from the works shown in MULTIPLE SPACES – the ways and means to achieve this have become much more diverse.

Erwin Bohatsch was born in 1951, in Mürzzuschlag, Austria. He lives and works in Vienna and Beistein near Fehring, Styria.


Erwin Bohatsch

Opening: Tuesday, September 16, 2014, 7 pm
Ends: Saturday, October 16, 2014


More than 25 years ago, Austrian art dealer Helmut Reinisch began to collect, exhibit and trade contemporary Austrian and international art. Alongside works by promising new talents the collection also includes pieces by artists such as Arnulf Rainer, Hubert Schmalix, Erwin Wurm and Joseph Beuys.

Operating across genre boundaries, Reinisch Contemporary explores ostensibly disparate fields of work and the connections between them. From time to time, fields of resonance between selected pieces ranging from fine arts and sculpture to textiles and photography are brought to light.

Through exhibitions, residencies and cross-disciplinary projects at its locations in central Graz and nearby Kalsdorf Castle, Reinisch Contemporary creates links between artists, collectors, experts and the wider public.

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