The COVID-19 outbreak has imposed restrictions in movement. As part of an ongoing initiative, photographers of Magnum Photo are sharing information and new work made in these strange and difficult times.
The work of Heimo Zobernig (b. 1958, Mauthen, Austria) spans an array of media, from architectural intervention and installation, through performance, film and video, to sculpture and painting. His practice across all these forms is connected by an interrogation of the formal language of modernism, at its most familiar in the tropes of the monochrome and the grid, yet also concerned with Constructivism, colour theory and geometric abstraction. His riffs on these themes spill out from his paintings into sculptures, videos and room installations. Zobernig fundamentally subverts the high modernist ideal of the monochrome, compromising its aesthetic purity with the introduction of elements of the decorative, the functional, or the lightly comic.
An education in set design invested the artist with an interest in architecture and display: elements of mise-en-scène run throughout his practice, informing the way in which he installs and exhibits his multi-faceted oeuvre. He frequently uses fabric curtains or light to create monochromatic environments within which his works are installed. His playful and inquisitive sculptures, often minimal, expand this monochromatic field. Such subversive approaches to traditional gallery architecture and the unconventional use of space serves to underline Zobernig’s fascination with the framing of his art, both physically and conceptually, generating a performative quality that questions pre-existing art historical and ideological concerns.
[Simon Lee Gallery]