The exhibition will bring together Rainer’s Red and Black Overpaintings [Übermalungen], dating from 1953 to 1971, and Proportion Studies [Proportionsstudien] from the early and mid-1950s.
Following the exhibition at Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac in Salzburg in the summer of 2016, this presentation provides an impressive insight into the artist's early work, in which the field of tension between Surrealism, American Minimalism, Abstract Expressionism and European Informel reaches a climax.
Arnulf Rainer is regarded as a pioneer of Austrian Informel, a movement which moved away from geometric abstraction toward a more intuitive form of lyrical expression. In the 1950s, he developed his Übermalungenseries, influenced by the surrealist principle of écriture automatique, lying somewhere between ‘aggression and therapy, destruction and correction’ (Hans-Jürgen Hafner, 2016).
Rainer labelled the Übermalungen a dialectic reaction to his previous series Proportionen (1953/54), which were, in turn, an antithesis to his earlier figurative drawings, the Kritzelexpressionen [scribble expressions] and Blindzeichnungen [blind drawings], dating from between 1949 and 1952.