Florian Pumhosl: Galerie Krobath Wimmer

By Huck, Brigitte | Artforum International, March 2006 | Go to article overview

Florian Pumhosl: Galerie Krobath Wimmer


Huck, Brigitte, Artforum International


What does Oskar Schlemmer's Triadic Ballet, 1916, have to do with the navigation of warships? Florian Pumhosl has explored this unexpected question in a new group of works. Pumhosl, an artist of great precision, is interested in the relationship between bodies and space, and he studies this relationship by way of superflat surfaces that he ultimately brings into relation with a superexact spatial balance: With just four works, Pumhosl succeeds in lending the small exhibition space of this Vienna gallery an air of breadth and elegance.

Pumhosl's footnotes to modernism seem austere, almost monastic. His examination of the rules and vocabulary of the modernist image-language takes place on a substrate more often associated with rural amateurs than with the crowning achievement of avant-garde art: Pumhosl paints on glass, or better, paints behind it. And yet the verre eglomise technique from which Pumhosl's is adapted was used by Josef Albers, among others. The avant-garde filmmaker Oskar Fischinger was a practitioner of the genre, as was the German artist, graphic designer, and leader of the Jena Kunstverein, Walter Dexel. The technique is intimately connected with the aspiration to modernize traditional crafts in the age of industrial production.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Pumhosl's finely differentiated and exactingly contoured personal method entails a very close look at abstract and reductionist traditions of modernism while at the same time referring to representation. He allows himself a positively romantic impulse with the use of old glass plates, complete with air pockets, to somewhat counter the tendency to be all too picture-perfect. Lines on monochromatic--black, white, or gray--back-grounds can be associated with Schlemmer's stereometric bodies, whereas in the painting titled Battle of Manila Bay (Turning Maneuvers) (all works 2005) the overlapping curves represent the movement of an American battleship. …

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