Herbert Hinteregger -- Get the picture
Herbert Hinteregger (in the world of things .)
Starting from the assumption of what the American painter James Abbott McNeal Whistler has stated, according to tradition and regarding the question of the influence of genetic material and environmental/political circumstances, “Art happens”. Art does not exist but happens in a moment of perception. Jorge Luis Borges tells this story about Whistler in his lectures on poetology, (This craft of verse). In a world of physical objects the art work is only a physical object. And in the moment of perception the dead item changes into an object of comprehension and realization.
The concentration of Herbert Hinteregger’s paintings and objects and the fluidity of our perception are the initial point of the following statement: Along the edge of Hintereggers paintings the colour application is clearly withdrawn. On the face side the grounded canvas remains visible as a white frame along the perimeter of the picture. Therefore the illusion prevents a painting per se as a pre-existing entity. The stretcher bars and the canvas is the object or the “image carrier”. Thus the coloration receives a different emphasis. With this deliberate setting the colour itself becomes the pivotal point of perception.
The medium Herbert Hinteregger is using are various types of ball-pen ink. They are available in a multitude of colours and densities. They can appear delicate and translucent like a glaze or dense and opaque. The application of the paint usually is applied with sponges creating structures and overlays. The coloured surface is iridescent allowing each position a different impression.
At times the colour appears velvety and soft, and at other times hard like that of a ceramic glaze. Hinteregger’s paintings appear familiar like the designs of the 1950’s as well as oriental designs and architectural structures yet they are not. The steady change of appearance does not allow for ambiguity. Our use of graphical interfaces of “windows” on the screen coupled with the illusion of foreground and background while changing between programs makes us skeptical. The viewer consistently demands a picture and the reference to its materiality. The immanent visible structures go beyond the painting or enter from outside. A single painting could also be seen as a manifesto of a certain time and place within a process of bigger dimensions. Thus a series of paintings produce an image of time and spatial structure, of an artistic process that is a continuum. Therefore as the smaller paintings appear to be “faster” and the larger canvases seem “slower”, they can always be read in a context.
Drawing and wall-painting complete the spectrum. Again the center of reference is outside the “picture”. Regardless of typographical signs and existent pictorial material or lines, continuity takes place in the head. The lines reminiscent of roadmaps are strictly defining while the coloration appears softer and more organic. These seemingly rational delineations, being structure, overlay other structures while in the painting they act as an additional dimension.
A more radical thought possibility is the artist’s swimming pool “liquid painting” and its coloured content challenging; where is the picture? Is it the coloured water contained with in the circular frame of the pool’s structure or the reflective surface of the amorphic mass? Or a sphere made of ball-pens whose ink is already spent? Where is the picture that these ball-pens have produced? Herbert Hinteregger proves that the stretcher bars and the canvas are only one possibility to act as an image carrier for the painting. And that paint as an artistic act is also applicable in other media.
Absent pictures as a possibility to continued thinking.