Dominik Steiger (b. 1940) has been described as an eigenwelt artist and poetic Universalist. He would refer to himself as a “quantum-fanatical foot soldier of the imagination.”
And although it was awarded the 2003 “Austrian Art Prize for Literatur” and the 2008 “Prize of the City of Vienna for Visual Art”, his work, which he creates in private and far from the hustle of the art world, is still considered a discovery.
Drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, video, music, and literature—Steiger blurs the boundaries between genres. In doing so, his means are as unconventional as are his results: “drawings of the ossicular type,” “cultural collages, “dough-rolling pictures,” “letter fall videos” or “interplays with artist friends” like, for example, Günter Brus, Dieter Roth, Gerhard Rühm, and Oswald Wiener. Featuring works from five decades, this retrospective solo show offers a comprehensive survey of his “surreal transformation of reality” (Peter Weibel).
Already in the mid-1960s, Steiger became friends with the writers of the “Viennese Group.” He was also part of the circle of the “Viennese Actionists” and took part in their 1967 “ZOCK Fest” under the pseudonym of “FNUFI.” Influences of both movements are palpable; nevertheless, Steiger’s versatile oeuvre developed outside the area of firm categorizations. From 1961 he published prose writings and poetry, which in their experimentalism are related to the Surrealists’ Écriture automatique and nonsense poetry, and in the early 1970s he first brought out drawings.
His playful take on language is continued in Steiger’s visual artwork. Sometimes subtle and restrained, sometimes informed by subversive irony or stunning hilariousness, his word and visual art speaks of the seen and heard, the never happened and the unheard-of.
Curator: Hans-Peter Wipplinger
Concept: Susanne Längle, Hans-Peter Wipplinger