artist / participant
The exhibition by the Viennese artist Heinz Frank at Badischer Kunstverein forms a stage for the performance of a drama that is enacted by paintings, sculptures, objects, items of furniture, masks, carpets, and rocks, as well as found objects, one whose protagonists are (for example) “nothingness, the immensity of the hole, the circle whose center pledges its loyalty.” The exhibition is the most comprehensive presentation to date and shows a cross section of Frank’s artistic and linguistic figures of thought since the early 1960s.
For the Viennese scene, Heinz Frank is the grand master of the play of language and forms through which he—in his perambulation through the locales of the city, and clad in his idiosyncratic, dandyesque attire—pits a radical form of subjectivity against the conventions of the present day. While rubbing against these surroundings, Frank notates his own complex thought in uppercase letters on slips of paper in the form of micropoems and aphorisms which resemble haikus. These texts are the beginning and end of every work, a process of thought and its visualization through an object.
Inscribed repeatedly in the forms that emerge from these words are the imprints and impressions of Heinz Frank’s own body. One instance of this being the sculpture that gives this exhibition its title, through which imprints of the artist’s palate are brought to appearance in an ornamental fashion. Frank writes his body and those of his works from out of sensations, because he has already come upon these accidentally in some discarded thing, which Frank tries out in his casual, persistent way, until he has somehow thought it (through), and subsequently disposed of it as a work.
Heinz Frank is the eminent background figure of the Viennese art world of recent decades. Everyone knows him, and everyone has learned something from him. What? The thing that he knows best: the thing which, all in all, he manages only with the greatest difficulty: namely himself.
Curators: Hedwig Saxenhuber, Georg Schöllhammer and Anja Casser