Jürgen TaborVienna Downbeat – On the concepts and contexts of the exhibition Untitled (Flow)
Sabine SchaschlPartially Gone with the Wind
Fiona LiewehrTransitive Network Spaces
Cliff LausonSlow Flow
Matthia LöbkeWith a Black Ink – In the Studio of Herbert Hinteregger
Walter SeidlAesthetics of Reduction
Martin PrinzhornAdditive Abstraction
Fiona LiewehrHerbert Hinteregger & Michael Sailstorfer
at Georg Kargl BOX, Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna
Jürgen Tabor“To destroy an object to create a painting”
Günther MoschigHerbert Hinteregger – Color as Presence in Space
Fiona LiewehrKoenraad Dedobbeleer/Herbert Hinteregger
A sense of disquietude concerning the existing order of things
Elisabeth FiedlerA Transmedia Reduction of Means
Works by Herbert Hinteregger
Axel Jablonski(in the world of things)
Moritz Küng“It was through a documentation which Herbert Hinteregger sent me…”
In the first half of the twentieth century, abstract painting was predominantly characterized by a reductive program. According to some of its critics, this was meant to lead to enhanced purity so as to culminate in a deobjectified and dematerialized image. Such painting was posited within a progressive scenario that would inevitably reach a point of culmination. Although this conception of abstraction is questionable—being that it does not represent the only leitmotif of the painting of the time, nor is it really inherently conclusive—it is nevertheless the point of departure for discovering contemporary positions in abstract painting. What remains open after the last abstract picture? The monochrome canvas cannot be reduced any further. Yet instead of simply being put aside, the problem was pushed further in various forms. In the meantime, by way of mediating techniques of reproduction and alienation, the figurative likeness arrived at a point where it could even be read as abstraction since it appeared to have dissolved in its seemingly endless repeatability. Andy Warhol and his relationship with Abstract Expressionism is a perfect example of this, but also Gerhard Richter’s paintings of the standard color palette. With dematerialization perhaps not working out so well, minimalist painting was able to avail itself of a modern abstract language of form, while simultaneously bringing color and framing back into the image. Conceptual art, which was originally conceived as anti-painting, was able to access the painted image, for instance through the formal parallelisms of typography and abstract form. Installation art has likewise latched onto the picture, so to speak, and thus associated it with sculpture and its materiality. Over the years, the forms of modern abstraction have naturally become part of the world around us; through architecture and the functional design object, they have even become a part of the landscape. When they thus return to the picture, new meaning is generated, with their abstraction possibly no longer correlating with reality.
The antiquated image of painting repeatedly conveys the idea that (perhaps together with sculpture) it is situated at the center of artistic production, with everything else built based on or against it. Again and again it becomes an island of nostalgia, shielding itself against everything that developed in the course of modernism, or before. While the gate to the past may delight many an art historian, it remains far removed from contemporary art. The continuation of abstraction outlined above clearly contradicts this understanding of painting, as we notice how this medium can react to and elaborate on other mediums and art currents. It was modern abstraction that developed a reduced and clear vocabulary, which can serve as a starting point for investigations that integrate ideas originating outside of painting. Painting is based on considerations related to conceptual art, pop art, minimalism, installation, et cetera. But this doesn’t mean that traditional problems within the painting medium remain untouched. The formal aspects cannot be separated from the content-related ones. Minimal changes in the grammar of modernism can result in drastic consequences on both levels. Blurriness along the edges of a geometric figure or a brief gestural moment that pierces an otherwise clear division of space intensifies the image with completely new content. The blending or superimposition of various reductive aspects of abstractness engender meanings that are not decipherable within the former context. These additions are only comprehensible within the history of the past sixty years, and the references extend far beyond painting.
Abstraction had previously been a goal-oriented project that was designed to permanently establish the hegemonic position of the painted image within the realm of art. Yet this logic also caused painting to become isolated and then to only follow internal regularities. Additive abstraction implies that there is always an opening to a closed room. The inventory of form stays strongly limited, but even the smallest changes within this firmly set canon give rise to a powerful language. The frugality of this language is purely ostensible. Its symbols are not only those visible in the image, for the points of reference actually lie elsewhere, which is why they do not harbor their own autonomous grammar.