Kunsthaus Graz

Karl Neubacher

18 Jun - 19 Oct 2014

© Karl Neubacher, Selbstdarstellung in Halbkleidung, 1973
(grandstanding in half wardrobe), 1973,
Installation of 28 photographs,
Dimensions variable,
Photo: Hans Georg Tropper, Graz
Media Artist, 1926-1978
18 June - 19 October 2014

Curated by: Günther Holler-Schuster

Along with Richard Kriesche and Peter Gerwin Hoffmann, Karl Neubacher (*1926, Hattenberg, Upper Austria) is considered one of the pioneers of the avant-garde and of conceptual art in Styria. That something representative in this area developed in Graz in the 1960s and 1970s, its effects spreading way beyond the regional context, gives the protagonists relevance, lifting them clearly out of the narrow confines of provincialism.

Neubacher, who in 1969 joined up with Goeschl, Kriesche, Haberl, Hoffer and others to create the producers’ group pool, was mostly active as a graphic designer. As such he completed significant works for the art magazine pfirsich, the avant-garde festival steirischer herbst, the Company HUMANIC and others. His posters, which were always based on artistic concepts, were internationally renowned and awarded. The overall picture of applied arts and austere forms of fine arts created a unique tension that defined Karl Neubacher’s artistic practice.

The medium most used by Neubacher was photography. Moreover, his own body, which he employed in performances and which he documented using photographic and film media, was just as important: he himself turned into a ‘public art figure’. The short films created in the 1970s make Karl Neubacher one of the hitherto undiscovered avant-garde film-makers.

Although his output received international attention, his work today has almost been forgotten. The output was somewhat narrow, partly because of the the artist's early death, and never found acceptance in the art market, not least of all due to the artist’s own intransigent attitude. An extensive retrospective of this exciting and progressive work is thus highly advisable, and recalls Graz as the bastion of the avant-garde in Austria.

Tags: Richard Kriesche