Heimo Zobernig’s video Nr. 19 (2001), an excerpt of which can be seen here, follows up on the examination of the human figure in Austrian postwar modernist sculpture. It was created shortly after Zobernig became professor of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, in so doing following in the footsteps of predecessors such as Fritz Wotruba and Joannis Avramidis, whose sculptural work revolved essentially around the geometrization of the human body. In his work Zobernig refers explicitly to Avramidis, whose lifelong artistic pursuit was the objective representation of the human figure, for which he sought a strictly rational, mathematical formula. Acting on Avramidis’s principle, Zobernig clad his naked body with a grid of blue adhesive tape. The camera wanders at close range along his body, which seems to dissipate over and again into abstract surfaces. The synthetic blue, used subsequently in the chroma key process, strengthens the effect of abstraction by merging the tape and the background into one.
Heimo Zobernig’s solo exhibition at mumok runs until October 17, 2021, on Level 2. The exhibition Figure and Sculpture (curated by Manuela Ammer), as part of Enjoy—the mumok Collection in Change, is on display in the auxiliary section of the exhibition floor and addresses the reordering of the body in the sculpture of Austrian postwar modernism. Both parts of Level 2 are architecturally connected, through Zobernig’s Weißer Kubus (White Cube, 2002). However, for his current presentation Zobernig has placed a partition inside the Weißer Kubus, which prevents passage (and the unrestricted view) between the two sides.
Manuela Ammer, Ines Gebetsroither