Walter Schmögner, Elftausendundeine Nacht, 2004.
To mark the occasion of Walter Schmögner’s seventy-fifth birthday, the Albertina presents a hitherto unknown aspect of the versatile Austrian artist’s production in its exhibition Sculptures and Objects. Recognized as a successful illustrator of children’s books and caricaturist of a cranky petty bourgeoisie in the 1960s, Walter Schmögner has been regarded as one of the exceptional figures in Austrian art history as a draftsman like Alfred Kubin, Fritz von Herzmanovsky-Orlando, or Walter Pichler since the 1970s.
From 1999 to 2011, Walter Schmögner came to create objects made from pumpkins, pig bladders, osiers, rice paper, and hemp twines, including representational sculptures in which he identifies with a grotesque dog skeleton, for instance: “I, crouching, thinking.” These objects and sculptures derive from drawing in terms of both their content and form. Schmögner’s hard pencil still makes itself felt in their sharp outlines as does the caricaturist’s tragicomic self-irony.
Whereas Schmögner paints spontaneously and does not use any preparatory drawings, he determines the shape, form, and color of his sculptures and objects as well as the material he will use beforehand. The artist distils man’s animal essence, as it were, exploring the continuing transformation of matter: a metamorphosis that results in ever-new forms and figures. This is also the subject of Schmögner’s other vitrine objects.
(Photo courtesy and © Walter Schmögner.)