Karl Neubacher: Media Artist, 1926-1978
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Born in Hattenberg in Upper Austria in 1926, Karl Neubacher, along with Richard Kriesche and Peter Gerwin Hoffmann, is one of the pioneers of the avant-garde and of conceptual art in Styria. That something representative in this area developed in Graz in the 1960s and 1970s, its effects spreading way beyond the regional context, gives the protagonists relevance, lifting them clearly out of the narrow confines of provincialism. Curated by Günther Holler-Schuster of Kunsthaus Graz, "Karl Neubacher: Media Artist, 1926-1978" examines this almost forgotten artist, who lifted the city of Graz from a provincial backwater to the birthplace of regional avant-garde during the 1960s and 1970s. Many of Neubacher´s artworks reference the human body as medium and object of artistic expression. All images courtesy of Kunsthaus Graz.
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Karl Neubacher, Ohne Titel (untitled), about 1977, Photo collage, 29,8 x 20,9 cm. Courtesy private collection, Photo: Hans Georg Tropper, Graz
Karl Neubacher, Ohne Titel, 1970, Silk screen print, 32/36, signed, 84 × 60 cm. Courtesy private collection.
Karl Neubacher, Duan®—gegen Schmerzen aller Art (an advert for a pain reliever), until 1967, 62.9 × 43.8 cm. Courtesy private collection.
Karl Neubacher, Ohne Titel (untitled) Self-portrait, about 1972, Photography, photomontage. Courtesy private collection, Photo: Hans Georg Tropper.
Neubacher, who in 1969 joined up with Goeschl, Kriesche, Haberl, Hoffer and others to create the producers’ group pool, was mostly active as a graphic designer. Exhibition view of Karl Neubacher: Media Artist, 1926-1978. Photo: UMJ / N. Lackner.
Karl Neubacher, bücher box, 1969, Facade design, Graz, no longer existent. Courtesy private collection.
Exhibition view of Karl Neubacher: Media Artist, 1926-1978. Photo: UMJ / N. Lackner.
Karl Neubacher, Bundesbauerntag 1971 (National Farmers' Day 1971), 1971, 119.6 x 84.1 cm. Courtesy private collection.
As a graphic designer, he completed significant works for the art magazine Pfirsich, the avant-garde festival steirischer herbst, the shoe manufacturer HUMANIC and others. Karl Neubacher, HUMANIC franz, ca. 1974, 58.8 x 83.8 cm. Courtesy private collection.
Karl Neubacher, COFFO SELT (Migraine pain reliever advert), 1967, 95 × 65.8 cm. Courtesy private collection. Photo: Hans Georg Tropper, Graz.
The medium most used by Neubacher was photography. Moreover, his own body, which he employed in performances and which he documented using photographs and film, was just as important: he himself turned into a ‘public art figure’. Karl Neubacher, 12-Phasen- oder Zwangsjackenkalender für das Jahr 1972, 1971, 47.9 x 95.8 cm, Neue Galerie Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum Photo: Hans Georg Tropper, Graz.
Aggression I, 1971, Collage of 4 photographs, 45.2 × 32 cm, 65 x 46,4cm (frame). Courtesy private collection. Photos: Hans Georg Tropper, Graz.
The demand that everyday existence and all areas of life be permeated by art – in line with the equation “art is life” – renders Neubacher’s work most interesting today. Karl Neubacher, umweltfreundlich. Thermoputz (environmentally friendly ThermoPutz insulating render advert), 1971, 59.2 x 40,3. Courtesy private collection. Photo: Hans Georg Tropper, Graz.
In advertising the artist naturally saw the “lie”, which he wanted to confront just as critically as he did the “lie” of art. In Neubacher’s art, the key component was the social-political approach fitting to that period. Karl Neubacher, geh mit! JUNGE ÖVP, o. J.,83.8 x 59.4 cm. Courtesy private collection. Photo: Hans Georg Tropper, Graz.
Karl Neubacher, Übermalte Fotoarbeit (overpainted photography), 1971, Photograph, airbrush, 74.5 × 59 cm. Courtesy private collection, Photo: Hans Georg Tropper.
Karl Neubacher, Der Zwangsjackenmensch (straitjacket person), 1971, Photograph. Private collection, Photo: Hans Georg Tropper, Graz.
pool/photography club Buch factory Graz Auf, zum steirischen herbst! steirischer herbst ’72, 1972, 2 posters, 118 × 83.8 cm each, Neue Galerie Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum.
pool/photography club Buch factory Graz Auf, zum steirischen herbst! steirischer herbst ’72, 1972, 2 posters, 118 × 83.8 cm each, Neue Galerie Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum.
The short films created in the 1970s make Karl Neubacher one of the hitherto undiscovered avant-garde film-makers. His films also belong in the context of that period’s trends in terms of performative body art. They are an expressions of the intense struggle for the validity of artistic expression between avant-garde radicalism and realism. Karl Neubacher, Zertrümmerung einer Betonplatte, 1973, Directed, written and edited by Karl Neubacher, camera: Dieter Pochlatko, produced by pool, 16 mm film, colour, 25 fps, no sound, digitized, 30 min 21 s. Courtesy private collection and Multimedia Collections, Universalmuseum Joanneum.
Karl Neubacher, Zertrümmerung einer Betonplatte, 1973, Directed, written and edited by Karl Neubacher, camera: Dieter Pochlatko, produced by pool, 16 mm film, colour, 25 fps, no sound, digitized, 30 min 21 s. Courtesy private collection and Multimedia Collections, Universalmuseum Joanneum.
Exhibition view of Karl Neubacher: Media Artist, 1926-1978. Photo: UMJ / N. Lackner.
Exhibition view of Karl Neubacher: Media Artist, 1926-1978. Photo: UMJ / N. Lackner. Karl Neubacher, Selbstdarstellung in Halbkleidung (grandstanding in half wardrobe), 1973, Installation of 28 photographs, Dimensions variable.
Exhibition view of Karl Neubacher: Media Artist, 1926-1978. Photo: UMJ / N. Lackner.
pool/Gruppe Karlau, steirischer herbst '74, 1974. Poster, 82.4 × 58.9 cm. Courtesy private collection.
Karl Neubacher, news – contact – information. bücher box, ca. 1974, 59.9 x 83.8 cm. Courtesy private collection.
Karl Neubacher, Zimmerlinde (indoor linden tree), 1975, Directed, written, edited and produced by Karl Neubacher, camera: Wilhelm Gaube, 16 mm film, colour, 25 fps, magnetic sound, digitized, 8 min 57 s. Courtesy private collection and Multimedia Collections, Universalmuseum Joanneum.
Exhibition view of Karl Neubacher: Media Artist, 1926-1978. Photo: UMJ / N. Lackner.
Josef Richard Möse (Hg.): WER? WAS? WO? IM UMWELTSCHUTZ. Graz, 1976, Courtesy private collection.
ÖVP-Stadtparteileitung Graz (ed.): NEU. Graz, ca. 1975, Courtesy private collection.
Exhibition view of Karl Neubacher: Media Artist, 1926-1978. Photo: UMJ / N. Lackner.
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