Lois Weinberger is presenting works from over forty years at Galerie Krinzinger in a show titled “Die Rückseite der Landschaft”. A re-encounter – from nature.
Nature is difficult to grasp no matter where you draw the boundaries. For Lois Weinberger this GRASPING has, for decades, been associated with a land of curiosity, a realm of research and an artistic field. From November 20, it will be possible to trace this process of grasping at Galerie Krinzinger where Weinberger presented his work for the first time in 1983. Following numerous exhibitions that, in just the last couple of years, have led the artist to Athens, Kassel, Besancon, Paris, Berlin, Kathmandu or Tokyo, he has landed in Vienna once again and has now turned Galerie Krinzinger into a place of new – and renewed – encounter. 35 years following his first show at this gallery, the drawings, sculptures, notes and photographs exhibited in a show titled “The Backside of Landscape” offer a compelling look back at a long path featuring a number of artistic memories and new discoveries. An end to this path is not in sight. And that’s certainly good so.
Again and again Lois Weinberger, who has received multiple awards, is attributed with having art as his theme, but given the various fields that the artist cultivates and works in, this falls short. Weinberger is someone who reflects, observes, translates, researches, documents, discovers; he is an everyday archaeologist, someone curious, someone who takes others by surprise, analyzes and tells stories. His political-poetic approach covers all marginal zones like a net. He sees these zones as worthy of study and calls hierarchies into question in so doing. And don’t forget: At the Documenta X Weinberger covered a shut-down train track measuring a length of 100 meters with all manner of neophytes, that is, “immigrated” plants from South and South Eastern Europe. In the process he created an installation that became an internationally recognized metaphor of migration processes in our time, with ethnopoetic references that extend way beyond them. “Das über Pflanzen ist eins mit ihnen” (that about plants is one with them”), Lois Weinberger wrote this in connection with an installation mounted in front of the Kunsthalle Vienna in 1997. Weinberger’s plants, however, are not just one of his many tools. His preoccupation with things that he finds (or maybe it’s the other way around?) is something that he understands as “engaging with oneself and with our actions”. His gardens are sites of “observing” and “simply letting happen”. He studies the meaning of changes that relate neither with the profane such as the “Garden Eden” nor can be pinned down to aesthetic or local criteria.
Among Weinberger’s letters of his both consistent and surprising formal idiom one finds the nodding thistle as well as animal mummies, branches, steel, plastic bags, stones, horns, textiles, products from a DIY market, wild stonecrop or found pieces from the edge of a road all of which may become protagonists of Weinberger’s mise-en-scènes. There is no medium that seems foreign to him, if it is suitable for giving form to his treasure of knowledge. The artist moves this like a shield in front of him. Behind it he concocts one thing or another, creating references and expanding on them. They go by the name of fine arts as well as literature, politics, philosophy, ethology, history and otherwise.
The exhibition at Galerie Krinzinger is like every one of the artist’s shows arranged to be retrospect. This enables one to delve into, to see, to experience, to learn, sometimes even to be amused at Weinberger’s proliferating, often visionary world which since the early 1990s has contributed in a fundamental way to the debate on art and nature. Weinberger’s world is a veritable ‘wunderkammer’, cabinet of curiosities and a lab for ideas. The artist looks back so as to be able to look ahead, discovering things that he translates for his audience in order to reveal a story. The viewer’s interpretative sovereignty is challenged. Weinberger, a two-time participant at the documenta and Biennale Venice is a receiver, transmitter and wanderer on new paths that plant new standards and perspectives in the minds of the viewers of his work.