In Austria in the 1950s, Arnulf Rainer developed a particularly obsessive way of drawing and painting. In 1951, with the artist Maria Lassnig, he visited André Breton in Paris. His work, initially influenced by surrealism, evolved towards a sort of informal, radical art. In the early 1960s, he worked on his own image, furiously modifying photo booth shots, photographic self-portraits where he adopted deliberately grotesque poses. He thus was recognized as one of the main protagonists of Viennese Actionism. Then overpainting (Übermalung) became his trademark: his works are made from successive layers of paint that cover an initial image, sometimes to such an extent that it is no longer visible. This is not just a simple game, but a sort of intense ritual mobilizing all the painter’s energy.
The Ex Nihilo exhibition gathers the most recent paintings from the artist, today aged 92. A series of prints is also displayed at the bookstore. The catalogue is introduced by Corinna Thierolf, art historian.
Arnulf Rainer was born in 1929 in Baden (Austria) where a museum dedicated to his work opened in 2009. He lives and works in Austria and Tenerife.