FRIDAY, 29th of MAY 2015, 7 PM


Route from Graz / Route from Vienna

The opening speech is held by Günther Holler-Schuster, the artist is present.

Human existence is cocooned in a web of relationships and conditionalities. Dense in some places, widening and permeable in others, this netting can seem inescapable. Hubert Schmalix appears to give visual form to these, often enigmatic, connections of inter- and co-dependency. As a painter, he sees decoration, or rather, ornament as a metaphor for existence, for a multifarious totality. Generally, an image is a condensation of ideas, imaginings and perceptions for the purpose of constructing or rigging what we understand as reality.

So when new paintings by Hubert Schmalix attribute special significance to carpets, it becomes apparent that they function metaphorically. After all, carpet patterns consolidate notions of being and existence. Reality is stylised, made tangible and yields to visual pleasure. In this system, humans – often in the form of female nudes in Schmalix’ paintings – completely shed their characteristics and, resting in themselves or left to their own devices, enter the cosmos of the ornamental. The archetypal human, here stylised as a female nude, is itself perceived as a formal element. Its positioning within the pattern is, on the one hand, that of a caged creature and, on the other, that of an inhabitant of paradise. Human existence appears to play out within this dialectic.

The visual language of Hubert Schmalix’ new landscapes is similarly radicalised. Image patterns, or rather, visual imprints, at whose mercy we have been throughout the long history of visual perception and its substantiation in various media, manifest here in questionable idylls. In this context, Schmalix operates within the tradition of the cartoon (Disney), but also borders on romantic, often even symbolist (Roerich) visual concepts. Well-trodden clichés taken from American visions of the Alps (Sound of Music or Heidi) unfold here. In his latest works, Schmalix, as a neo-Californian with deeply European roots, fuses these seemingly divergent visual traditions. It is a simple, noiseless kind of painting; one that does not torment the medium, but instead increasingly heightens and compacts a certain visual sensuality.

With Turn Face Towards Me, Reinisch Contemporary presents new paintings by Schmalix – albeit not in the usual format of a contemporary art show at a gallery, but as an attempt at an installation-like implementation of painting. The artist’s approach to decoration/ornament opens up the possibility of further escalation. Analogous to the use of carpets in the paintings, the historic ruin of Kalsdorf Castle offers an additional dimension and tries to substantiate painterly spaces, amplifying their perceptibility. The spaciousness of the architecture and the romantic-symbolic context of the castle ruin enable a heightened, one-off experience of Schmalix’ paintings. The installation will be on show for one night only – a chimera, a vision, a phantasmagorical episode.

Günther Holler-Schuster

Reinisch Contemporary