Dominik Steiger

26 Nov 2016 – 23 Dec 2016

Berlin, Germany


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Dominik Steiger (1940-2014, Vienna), born into a baker’s family. father in russia. bakery is sold to a farmer with a limp. father accidentally dies under the hands of bad doctors. attends secondary school with a focus on classical languages. allied occupation ends. begins skipping school. mother forces continuation of school attendance. flies to paris at seventeen for first suicide attempt. stomach pumped. flees towards france soon after in order to join the foreign legion (with no passport and no money). arrest near salzburg. one week in jail. pickup by mother and brother. another escape on the way home. second capture after karlsruhe, two weeks in jail then return transport. mother forces completion of schooling. final examination in 1958. registers for political sciences(!) and slavic philology. gives up after two months and travels to marseille and enlists with the foreign legion. infantry training. interrupts by suicide attempt. stomach pumped. punishment? head of hospital arranges for commitment to psychiatric care and effects an early discharge from legion. decides to become a writer. homecoming. odd jobs. new difficulties. melancholy. another attempt at dying in the summer house. saved again. admission for electroshock therapy. favourable outcome. begins reading. horror of schoolbooks subsides. first book of poetry self-published in 1961. paris visits. meets people of his own kind. decides to go to turkey with two other idlers and join the kurdish freedom fighters. the friends drop out and he travels to istanbul on his own with 250 schillings. looks for a job as a sailor. ends up with the austrian mission. placed as a correspondence aide with shoe dealers. saves money for three months and then travels on to persia, pakistan, india, hitchhiking, on foot, by train. returns to vienna and meets kurt kalb, konrad and traudl bayer, oswald and ingrid wiener. gradually learns to read better, begins to write more regularly. makes his debut with ‘Die verbesserte Große Sozialistische Oktoberrevolution’ with berlin publisher rainer pretzell upon recommendation from gerhard rühm. success with two paperbacks of crude short stories with publisher suhrkamp, still not happy. the black bag mood reappears. finds his way out of the hole by drawing. günter brus publishes first drawing efforts from 1971 in his “schastrommel”. then writes several books without much trouble, which are put out by the maverick publishers hundertmark (berlin) and seedorn (zurich). ad hoc musician. first lp of songs ‘Wiener Lieder und Gemischte Waisen’, published by dieter roth. several self-published audio-tapes. after that, international exhibitions and artistic cooperations. from 1997 his literary works are published by droschl verlag. receives austrian literary prize in 2004. art award of the city of vienna in 2008.

Exhibiting artists

Dominik Steiger


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