Arnulf Rainer

Impulse and Correction, Concealing and Revealing

Impulse and Correction, Concealing and Revealing

Impuls und Korrektur, Verdeckung und Enthüllung

Arnulf Rainer harbors a dislike of classic passport photos of himself. Using a photo booth, he creates hyperbolic self-portraits and makes nasty faces, so as to guard against the numbing of his expression. Subsequently, the artist transforms the photo, in an ostensibly destructive act, painting over it in his characteristic vigorous style, scratching into the picture, and attacking it with fierce brush strokes. At the same time, he also magnifies the expression of the face. "I always immediately see only the bad parts in a picture," Rainer explains. "Concealing them, the weak parts, one after the other, covering up until I can’t see anything any more, that led me to the overpaintings. That is to say, love and a desire for perfection." In the process, the artist again and again tries to come to terms with his own fears, with annihilation and death; he works to the point of complete exhaustion and is keenly interested in the mental states of psychiatric patients.

The exhibition "Arnulf Rainer. Pinselrausch” at the Arnulf Rainer Museum in Baden, just south of Vienna, runs until October 30, 2016.

Arnulf Rainer, Tannhäuser, 1972/1973
Helmut Zambo Collection, Badenweiler and Vienna

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