Michael Goldgruber

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Michael Goldgruber’s photographic and film works center on the human being and his view of nature, his foray into the countryside. As a hiker and mountain-climber, as an explorer and artist, Goldgruber investigates how humans create a cultural space. In the exhibition at the State Gallery of Lower Austria, the artist focuses his attention in particular on the natural and cultural landscape of Lower Austria, creating numerous new works especially for this show.

Goldgruber is fascinated, for example, by the “residual modules” of so-called wilderness that can still be found in Lower Austria – such as the Dürrenstein region – but also, and in particular, by the transitional areas from wilderness to cultural landscape. Michael Goldgruber wants to explore this while foregoing a touristic perspective. Using the Rax, Ötscher, and Yppsitzer Alpen mountain ranges as examples, he explores the field of tension surrounding clichéd concepts such as primitiveness, naturalness, and primeval landscape with photographic and film works. In this context, he is also interested in the wolf as a model of the wild animal that is again populating our part of the world.

The artist’s gaze is not that of an environmental activist or a social critic who denounces environmental sins, medialization, or the economic exploitation of nature with a wagging finger. But it is also not the uncritical, naive gaze of a clueless hiker, but rather the sharpened gaze of a passionate lover and observer of nature. Goldgruber wants to raise our awareness, to make us think about how natural spaces undergo a sustained cultural influence, how diverse natural cultural spaces can be today.

Curator: Günther Oberhollenzer

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