VIENNA.- The extensive retrospective of the Austrian artist Peter Kogler puts his unknown early works into the context of the computer-generated leitmotifs he has been developing since the 1980s. For the MUMOK show the artist has conceived two new installations for the interior as well as covering the entire façade of the museum with an invisible labyrinth for giant white rats.
Peter Koglers works are characterised by a media-, space- and architecture related approach and are influential as defining events in the international art scene. Contributions to important exhibitions like the Venice Biennale (1986) as well as documentas IX and X in Kassel (1992,1997) earned him a worldwide reputation. Koglers graphics and installations engage with the mediatisation and the increased proliferation of technology in our society and their potential and pitfalls. His walk-in room labyrinths with their biomorphic forms are just as well known to a wider public as his sensational interventions in public space. Against this background the MUMOK is hosting a mid-career show and is presenting his extensive oeuvre with over 100 works from 1979 to 2008.
Symbols and Metaphors - Inspired by the film classics of early modernity, Kogler discovered a connection between figures and architecture that can be seen in the early gouaches and cardboard objects. The uniform and pattern-like structuring of the pictorial motifs already points towards the computer-generated works that he developedin opposition to the mainstream Junge Wilde paintersat the beginning of the 1980s. Peter Kogler was very early in his choice of using media and computer technology as the basis for his installative and spatially defined works. In them, the identity and individuality of humans is deformed and volatilised in grid-like anonymous portraits. The artist found fundamental leitmotifs in ants and brains that unified the emblematic and the organic. They symbolise the interpenetration of nature and technology, reality and virtuality, and, in their effect as serial reproductions, act as succinct identifiers of his art.
Using the metaphor of the labyrinth for a society linked by media forms a further modular motif central to Koglers work. In a wealth of variations he connects virtual space with real space in the form of images on the walls or projections. In this way the artist transforms commonplace sites into virtual labyrinths with perspectives that are both infinite and bottomless and which appear to make the visitor disappear in their coils.
Virtual Rats - Kogler has designed a large scale exterior projection with white rats for the facade of the MUMOK. Here he is picking up a motif from his early works and convincingly translating it into a labyrinthine moving image that dynamically covers the cubic architecture. The rats which gradually reproduce themselves and spread over the basalt façade in predetermined pathways appear ambiguous, creatures that are simultaneously graceful and monstrous and remind one of the contradictions of a reality shot through with informational and data streams: heteronomy and manipulation on the one hand, and creative subversion on the other, outline the broad spectrum of possible outcomes of communication controlled by media technology which has been assigned an aimlessly purposeful symbol in the form of a rat.
The exhibition offers a comprehensive overview of the artists individual work periods and work groups and illustrates the development of techniques of painting, graphics and sculpture through to new computer-generated processes. Early pictures and objects which have never been shown before will also be presented along with room-modulating computer projections that have been specially conceived for the MUMOK.
Peter Kogler - Born in 1959 in Innsbruck, lives and works in Vienna. He studied and the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. He has been showing his work internationally since 1979 most recently at the 50th Venice Biennale (2006), the MOMA, New York (2006), the Shanghai Bienale (2006), the Kunstverein Hannover (2004), Galerie Crone, Berlin (2004) or Kunsthaus Bregenz (2000). His participation in two documentas (1992, 1997) with room installations made him one of Austrias most internationally significant artists. Since 1997 Peter Kogler is Professor of Graphic Arts at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich.
Exhibition Catalogue: A catalogue of the exhibition will be published (in German and English) with numerous illustrations and articles by Ami Barak, Jean-Francois Chougnet, Rainer Fuchs and Edelbert Köb as well as a conversation between Kathrin, Rhomberg and Peter Kogler. A multi-media guide to the exhibitiondesigned by young people in the workshop of the Overpainted Clubwill be available. Thanks to the following MUMOK partners: Air France, Dorotheum, UNIQA, Wittmann, and the media partners Der Standard, derstandard.at, Profil, Ö1 and Vormagazin as well as the sponsors of the exhibition ERSTE Bank, STRABAG SE and the Vienna Economic Chamber.