Jos Pirkner – Material, Form und Raum.

Festival exhibition

During this year’s Festspiele Hangar-7 presents an exceptional artist – Jos Pirkner. In addition to his paintings, Pirkner, the sculptor from East Tyrol, has repeatedly surprised the public with his brilliant sculptures. The exhibition will display recent works, as well as examples of a completely new group of works – monumental bulls in bronze. A detailed catalogue will be published to accompany the exhibition.

The life and oeuvre of artist Jos Pirkner is comparable with few others. He trained as a sculptor in Graz and Salzburg. Then he went to Hollands “free college Utrecht”, where he worked with the Brom studio, a widely renowned gold and silver sculpture workshop. Pirkner rapidly achieved success in Europe and the USA with his silver, bronze and glass sculptures. For more than 25 years he lived in the Netherlands, where he opened his own studio, before returning to East Tyrol in 1978, where he has lived and worked ever since.

Pirkner has always been preoccupied with the human figure – as a torso, in individual figures, but also couples or groups of people, intertwined or exhibiting dynamic movement, for various contexts, interiors or public spaces. The artist himself says “It’s not the anatomy that challenges me, not the body itself, but its language. It is at once significant and explicit.” The large figures for a fountain complex in Wattens, the monumental fountain in Innsbruck’s Sparkassenplatz, or the grave of author Julien Green, based on the story of the journey to Emmaus, in Klagenfurt’s municipal parish church, St. Egid, are all examples of this. Green (who died in Paris in 1998) was buried in Carinthia, and wanted his grave to be designed by Pirkner. In recent years sculptures of horses and bulls, as well as ancient mythological themes, have increasingly come to the fore. As far as Jos Pirkner is concerned these in particular include the visionary Daedalus and his son, Icarus. The sculptor’s great powers of imagination are obvious in the works, his powerful content and form, and finely tuned balance he achieves between narration and abstraction: Daedalus wanted to escape from Crete, and the power of Minos, with his son, but land and sea routes were blocked, so the only option open to them was to take to the air – an outrageous thought, because only the gods could fly.

But the tireless artist is really stimulated by the supposedly impossible, and apparent problems, and so he most recently embarked on creation of a 14-part group of charging bulls, 2 examples of which can be seen at the Hangar-7 exhibition. The entire group will first be exhibited at Red Bull’s headquarters in Fuschl am See, because this structure is also based on Jos Pirkner’s concept and design. This is architecture as an extension of sculpture, to which Pirkner says “As a sculptor I have only three means of expression – the material, the form and the space”. The exhibition at Hangar-7 in Salzburg runs until middle of September 2010.

In August 2010 Collection Rolf Heyne is publishing a detailed, richly illustrated catalogue to accompany the exhibition, showing the process of casting the bulls at the Noack bronze foundry in Berlin, and including copy contributed by the following authors amongst others:

Gert Ammann, art historian, author (former director of the Tiroler Landesmuseum, Innsbruck);
Andreas Hapkemeyer, art historian, curator (Museion – Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Bolzano);
Katharina Helwig, art historian and critic, Berlin;
Elke Krasny, cultural theoreticist and author, Vienna;
Herbert Völker, journalist, Vienna.

Further information

Exhibition period and opening hours

31 July to 5 October 2010

Every day from 09:00 - 22:00 Uhr

A real Pirkner in your home?

The art book “Jos Pirkner. Material, Form und Raum” was published for the exhibition and is available at the Hangar-7 Online-Shop or at the bookstore.

(Collection Rolf Heyne; ISBN 978-3-89910-472-1).

Visit Hangar-7 Online-Shop 

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