VIENNA.- In the 1980s, Gunter Damisch (born in Steyr/Upper Austria in 1958) became known in the wake of the »Neue Wilde« or »New Wild Ones«, a loose group of young artists responding to the internationally proclaimed downfall of painting with expressive, colourful pictures. Within his extensive oeuvre, Damisch has conceived a highly individual iconography and mythology that oscillates between figuration and abstraction and by which he fathoms his pictorial worlds. Since 1992 the artist has held a professorship in printmaking at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Within the framework of this exhibition, his recent production of monumental woodcuts, monotypes, and printed collages will be on public view for the first time.
Gunter Damisch came to intensely face the challenge of large-format plates in 2009. He has created more than one hundred woodcuts, unique color prints, and collages to date, sixty of which are displayed in the present exhibition for the first time. Sixteen monochromes printed from wooden plates showing all-over compositions served as his starting point. These prints constitute an alphabet that Damisch derived from key motifs and subjects of his hitherto developed pictorial worlds. In a second step, he created unique multicolour prints from individual plates. It is a symbiosis and vari ation of individual motifs in utmost condensation verg ing on the dissolution of the original motifs that the artist aims at as he says. The erstwhile significance is to be broken up in favor of high density and complexity, of a network of layers, deep spaces, and overlapping areas, of a dance of signs and an effect com-mitted to thinking in musical and painterly structures as well as insights into micro and macro-realms and their representation. In the third and most recent step of his working process, Damisch focused on collages in which he playfully rearranged information and visual material isolated from its context in an intuitive manner. The collages combine parts of his works with elements isolated from quite different historical, philosophical, artistic and literary spheres. The various components are brought together to new compositions in transparent overprints. This facilitates, as Damisch points out, an interplay between construction and deconstruction, an oscillation between detail and overall structure, dissolution and new formal solutions.