Herbert Hinteregger’s works are condensates. Condensates of time and space. In current works, artificial and natural temporal processes converge. Hinteregger lets the ballpen ink he has been using since the early nineties drip out of individual ballpens onto his paintings for hours or days. An absurd process that runs completely counter to the original invention of the ballpen, a writing instrument that was intended to be available at all times and quickly without an inkwell or a fountain pen. Neither is there is a more viscous paint than that in a ballpen. It therefore takes up to one month until one of Hinteregger’s works is finished. A process of extreme retardation and deceleration in a time of increasing acceleration and impermanence.
In recent years, the artist has been contrasting his works with another material that has a different temporal dimension: sand. Sand originates over a period of more than a million years by means of erosion and weathering processes. A timespan that points to an age far before the history of humankind and makes Hinteregger’s tedious work process with ballpoint pen paint look like the blink of the eye.
The meaning that Hinteregger assigns to material makes the works seem more like objects and less like painting. As is the case for sculptural works, he composes and rhythmizes the encounter between two entirely different materialities. Even the canvas is not just the ground, but the different materiality and chromaticity of the materials used—which he, sewn together, in some cases combines in a work—are part of the overall composition. It is a process of construction that places emphasis in particular on the architecturally artisanal side: the geometric fields are defined with the aid of adhesive tape for the purpose of concretizing them with the application of material.
However, Herbert Hinteregger does not only condense abstract, indeterminate time in his works. They also recapitulate, reconstruct, combine, and concentrate various influences from twentieth-century art history. Besides references to Constructivism, his handling of the substance of the materials and the formal geometric language of the compositions is reminiscent of the Vienna Workshops, which took up the arts and crafts movement at the beginning of the twentieth century and, like the Bauhaus later on, attempted to join together (artistic) craftwork and modern design.
The contrasting handling of the untreated materiality of the canvas and the materiality of the paint brings to mind Color Field Painting or the use of sand in the minimalistic interventions of Land Art. What overlie and consolidate in Hinteregger’s works are different layers of time.
In the exhibition at Bernhard Knaus Fine Art, Herbert Hinteregger integrates his condensed, concrete, constructive pictorial objects into an overall spatial configuration. The strips of adhesive tape that he actually only uses in his work process as a constructive aid extend the painting into the space, directly incorporate it, and similarly shape, counteract, reconstruct, and comment on it.
The spatial combination of individual works to produce overall compositions in past exhibitions also emphasize Hinteregger’s Constructivist approach. His works do not remain in the two-dimensional, but can be understood as objects in time and space and hence as components of a new configuration.