Gunter Damisch

(Austria) *1958 in Steyr; †2016 in Vienna

The painter and sculptor Gunter Damisch is one of the leading contemporary Austrian artists. He represented his country at the 1985 São Paulo Biennale, and from 1998 was a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. His work is characterized by a unique repertoire of forms, extending to his painting as well as his sculpture. His patinated bronze sculpture in the Bad Homburg castle gardens in Blickachsen 11 is typical of his formal language: amorphous growths, with spiky-looking small human figures sprouting from them, condense on its more than three-metre high trunk into an organic whole. “Großer Weltbeulenstamm” (Tree of World Boils) calls to mind the characteristic shape of the African monkey-bread tree, or baobab, a symbol of untouched nature both in African legends and European literature. Primaeval poetry, as well as forms taken from different natural worlds and cosmic constellations are repeated motifs in Damisch’s work. These are never straightforwardly depicted; rather, they are transformed into a pictorial world straddling the boundaries of figuration and abstraction.