press release

Sep 11, 2020 - Oct 24, 2020

Tobias Pils
3 Paintings 2 Drawings 1 Triptych

Eva Presenhuber is pleased to present 3 paintings 2 drawings 1 triptych, a solo exhibition of new works by the Austrian artist Tobias Pils. This is Eva Presenhuber’s fifth exhibition with the artist.

Pils’ painting process is characterized by planning, which then negates itself throughout its execution. In the process, representation shifts to abstraction, figuration becomes composition. Richard Shiff encapsulated this in one sentence: “Your imagery is more like that of an abstract artist who uses representation as the elements of abstraction.”

Pils’ work creates an unease of interpretation and challenges the notion of subjectivity in painting. His method is intuitive, created in the context of the painter’s everyday life. Yet, he never fulfills his plan; instead, he veers in different directions while painting. In doing so, Pils produces manifold forms within one canvas. Nevertheless, his practice is always accompanied by technical precision and pictorial thought. Pils creates works whose appeal lies in the ambivalence of interpretive uncanniness, discontinuity, and technical mastery.

The exhibition is built around Triptych Nr 1. The work consists of three large-format paintings, which define three different spaces or temperatures, through their backgrounds spanning from almost black to almost white. Recurring motifs from Pils’ oeuvre come together to form a composition that implies a certain symbolism as well as a narration, though neither are ascertained. The overall composition, like the cross in the left painting, also occurs in other drawings and paintings. Rather than representing a utilization of an iconographic visual language, however, it visually and formally locates the painter in Austria, where crosses are omnipresent, especially in triptychs. This comes into sharp relief in the painting Untitled (Crucifixion), which alludes, through its title and composition, to the crucifixion of Christ, while the painting as a whole cannot be interpreted as such.