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Jakob Kirchmayr


One of Jakob Kirchmayr's new pieces contains the painted words "Längs der Grenze des Seins" (along the edge of existence), which the artist borrowed from a German translation of the poem Stenarna (stones) by Swedish poet and Nobel laureate Tomas Tranströmer. The painting depicts ice crusts, a frozen dark ground, and a yellow sky from which stones fall. The colors, ambience, and light convey the feeling of a Northern European environment, as those often found in Tranströmer's poems. In this painted landscape, the stones, which in Stenarna stand for human actions, fall to a ground that symbolized mankind itself to the poet.

In his new works, Kirchmayr completely turns his back to the cast of characters he had previously so diligently assembled. He abandons the interior space and sets out on an exploration of vast visual spaces and landscapes. Kirchmayr does not rely on existing motifs, but bases his subjects on imaginations from his own memories and experiences or translations of poetry into visual language.

In addition to Tomas Tranströmer, Kirchmayr draws inspiration from two other great 20th century lyricists: Polish Nobel Laureate Wisława Szymborska and Greek poet Yiannis Ritsos. The text fragments the artist uses in his works stem from one of these three poets. He subtly weaves words or sentences into his compositions, never mixes poems, and never draw from more than one poem per piece. In this case, he refrains from using poems as mere motifs. Kirchmayr paints and draws his way into the texts, while at the same time translating lines of vers into images. In the end, the works that result from this balancing act together with the cores of the lyrical texts. The text fragments that appear from this process are distillates of deeper explorations into topics that are inherent in the verses relevant to Kirchmayr, which he sometimes reveals in the form of sentences, and other times only hints at with individual words. In many cases, he completely forgoes any kind of textual layer and focuses entirely on the visual image.

Kirchmayr paints on huge wrinkled untrenched cotton canvases, which he washes and sews together in certain places. In doing so, these surfaces take on the appearance of relief maps - an effect enhanced by Kirchmayr's thick application of paint. For example, a landscape that the artist has created using several layers of painted and drawn black and blue surfaces transforms into a northern European mountain chain. The two-dimensional layers rise up from the surface of the painting and take on a sculptural quality. A similar effect occurs with his paper works, which, when treated buckle, become flexible, and gradually harden into spatial objects. The resulting works dispense with the usual borders of presentation and offer a perspective into a space that far exceeds the confines of the picture, further than the depicted image initially reveals. Kirchmayr places his vanishing lines so that they extend out from the edge of his pictures.

Like Wisława Szymborska's poems, which often seem to be taken from everyday life but contain philosophical issues or larger historical dimensions as well as their own life experiences of the Soviet Union and the post-communist era, Kirchmayr's works read like multi-layered compositions. By transforming fragments of poems - which in themselves already represent text forms that are condensed, abstracted, and reduced to their essence - into pictures, he enriches them with his own as well as other people's experiences. In doing so, his landscapes are always surfaces permeated by people and their actions, which represent metaphorical conditions, as well as the changes and geographical locations of individuals.

When Kirchmayr invokes Yiannis Ritsos' poetry, he blends his own childhood experiences in Greece with the atmosphere he encounters in his studio when he reads the poems, which inspire him for their tonality and descriptions of landscapes. They are memories of happy family vacations and extended recurring trips to Greece, in which the family lived in simple conditions and felt inspired by a different world view.

From the perspective of an adult artist, they also represent historical observations of the changes in Greece's socio-political conditions, which not long ago put the country in the economic and political spotlight. Yiannis Ritsos, in turn, experienced a completely different Greece. He was a pacifist, leftist, member of the avant-garde and chronicler of the resistance to the National Socialist occupation, and persecuted during the Greek military junta of 1967 - 1974.

The synthesis of Kirchmayr's own experiences with those Ritsos experienced and conveyed in his poetry is expressed in the artist's landscapes, which embody modern Greek history from its bloody battles to peaceful holidays: red earth, dry branches, light-blue horizons. The landscape preserves and perseveres.

In his exploration of Yiannis Ritsos, Wisława Szymborska, and Tomas Tranströmer, Kirchmayr spans a broad conceptual arc from Southern to Northern Europe. These three poets do not only differentiate themselves from each other by their poetological and conceptual directions. Although they lived under different conditions, they all represent the dynamic and world-changing 20th century: Tranströmer as a poet in a democratic country who had a job and lived comfortably; Szymborska as a author in a communist country, who was soon disillusioned by her initial ideological convictions, causing her to experience a change of heart; and Ritsos as a fierce resistance poet and persecuted artist. Kirchmayr captures these differences in his painted landscapes, which reveal a world in a state of flux, and establishes the origins of today's polarizing climate in the many upheavals of the 20th century.

Kirchmayr does not only use landscapes as metaphors for and projections of his own experiences, his various topographies are portraits of collective memories that evoke an emotional response in the viewer. The earth tastes different wherever you go.




     Jakob Kirchmayr at Art Cologne Represented by Galerie Ernst Hilger

     Jakob Kirchmayr at Kunstverein Horn Kunstverein Horn, Wiener Straße 2, 3580 Horn

     Jakob Kirchmayr at Volta Basel Represented by Galerie Ernst Hilger




     Gallery Ernst Hilger, high-rise Herrengasse, Wallnerstr. 5, 1010 Vienna



     Jakob Kirchmayr & Merlin Kratky at Skyscraper Herrengasse Vol. I + II May 1 - July 16, 2020 Supported by Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna Austria


Art Fairs 2020

     Jakob Kirchmayr at Viennacontemporary Represented by Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna, Austria



     Jakob Kirchmayr - In the shadow of the mulberry tree / In The Shade Of The Mulberry Tree (solo show), November 7, 2019 - January 17, 2020 Gallery Clemens Rhomberg, Innsbruck, Austria

     Jakob Kirchmayr - Black Tulips (solo show), September 18 - October 15, 2019, Bildraum Bodensee, Bregenz, Austria

     Jakob Kirchmayr - The Taste of Earth (solo show), March 2 - April 27, 2019, Galerie Hilger NEXT, Vienna, Austria


Art Fairs 2019

     Gallery Ernst Hilger at Viennacontemporary, September 25 - 29, 2019, Vienna, Austria

     Gallery Ernst Hilger at Expo Chicago, September 19 - 22, 2019, USA

     Hilger Brotkunsthalle at Volta Basel, June 10 - 15, 2019, CH

     Loft 8 at Art Vienna, Austria



     Borderless, curated by curator19.90 and Victoria Latysheva-Nasser, Beirut, Lebanon

     Jakob Kirchmayr - Black sky of metal (solo show), Gallery Ernst Hilger, Vienna, Austria

     Jakob Kirchmayr - What forced you to stand still on dilapidated stairs, in your fathers' house? An angel with a crystal finger knocks down at the gate (solo show), Brotfabrik Wien, Bildraum Studio, Vienna, Austria


Art Fairs 2018

     Jakob Kirchmayr at Viennacontemporary 2018

          Solo presentation - black dew dripping on your temples at Bildrecht, Vienna, Austria

          Selected works at Galerie Ernst Hilger, Vienna, Austria

     Gallery Ernst Hilger at Luxembourg Art Week, Luxembourg

     Gallery Ernst Hilger at Art Cologne, Germany



     Jakob Kirchmayr - border (solo show), Gallery Clemens Rhomberg, Innsbruck, Austria

     Artworks for life, Palais Dorotheum, Charity auction in favour of the mobile hospice of Caritas, Vienna, Austria

     Narkos, curated by Oscar Sanchez, 12-14 Contemporary, Vienna, Austria

     PARALLEL VIENNA 2017, Contemporary Art Show Gallery Statement (solo presentation), Gallery Clemens Rhomberg, Austria

     Visual arts for the 20th anniversary of the ORF RadioKulturhaus Vienna, Austria

     OSME Gallery Summer Group Show, Vienna, Austria

     Lichtenberg reloaded (group show), Old Town Hall Göttingen, Germany

     Jakob Kirchmayr - sunset in Kobane, Red Carpet Showroom Karlsplatz, Vienna, Austria

     The Art of Humanity (group show), Nick Treadwell Gallery, Vienna, Austria

     Tomi Ungerer Forever (group show), Musée Tomi Ungerer, Strasbourg, France


Art Fairs 2017

     OSME Gallery at Art Pampelonne, Saint Tropez, France

     OSME Gallery at Scope Miami Beach, Miami, USA



     A Garden of Earthly Delights, celebrating the inspirational art of Hieronymus Bosch (group show), Nick Treadwell Gallery, Vienna, Austria

     Rigor Mortis and other death dances (group show), Musée Tomi Ungerer, Strasbourg, France

     PARALLEL VIENNA 2016, Contemporary Art Show Gallerists Choice, Gallery Clemens      Rhomberg, Austria

     Lichtenberg reloaded (group show), Romantikerhaus, Jena, Germany

     Jakob Kirchmayr - the gods are gone, project roomatNEXT, Galerie Hilger, Vienna, Austria

     Spring (group show), Kunstkanal - Association for the Promotion of Transdisciplinary Arts & Technologies / LOFT 8, Vienna, Austria

     Jakob Kirchmayr - in a bar with Chinaski, Galerie Thomas Flora, Innsbruck, Austria


Art Fairs 2016

     Gallery Ernst Hilger at Pulse Miami Beach, Contemporary Art Fair, Miami, USA

     Gallery Clemens Rhomberg at WIKAM International Art & Antiques Fair Vienna, Austria

     Gallery Clemens Rhomberg at Art Bodensee, Austria



     Jakob Kirchmayr - it's so human, LOFT 8 - Art space in the bread factory Vienna / Austria

     Jakob Kirchmayr - all thanks to an ugly horse, Gallery Carmen Pratschke, Germany

     Lichtenberg reloaded (group show), Kunsthalle Marburg / Germany

     Lichtenberg reloaded (group show), German Museum of Drawing Art Hannover / Germany



     Jakob Kirchmayr - Panoptikum (museum staff), Kunstmeile Krems, Austria

     Jakob Kirchmayr - People's Images, Kunstraum Radio - ORF RadioKulturhaus, Vienna, Austria

     Jakob Kirchmayr/Astrid Langer, BV Gallery, Klagenfurt, Austria

     Best friends (group show), Kulturhof Nauwieser 19, Saarbrücken, Germany



     Jakob Kirchmayr - Drawings on Carinthian legends, Robert Musil Literaturmuseum, Klagenfurt, Austria

     Jakob Kirchmayr - carnivore, Gallery Thomas Flora, Innsbruck, Austria



     Jakob Kirchmayr - Drawings, Galerie Schmidt, Reith im Alpbachtal, Austria

     All the best (group show), Quratier 21, Vienna / Austria



     Off to the museum (group show), Cartoon Museum Krems, Austria



     Jakob Kirchmayr - by villains’ ghosts and ghosts, Gallery Thomas Flora, Innsbruck, Austria

     Jakob Kirchmayr - Drawings on Salzburg legends, Neuhauser Kunstmühle, Salzburg, Austria



     Jakob Kirchmayr - Drawings on Vorarlberg legends, Schattenburg Feldkirch, Austria

     Jakob Kirchmayr - Drawings of Tyrolean legends, ORF Landesstudio Tirol, Innsbruck, Austria

     Jakob Kirchmayr - Drawings of Tyrolean legends, Starkenberg Castle, Austria



     mumok - Museumsquartier Vienna / Austria

     Walter Koschatzky Art Award 2005

     Jakob Kirchmayr - Drawings of Tyrolean legends, Old Town Hall Kufstein, Austria

     Exhibitions as part of the Bologna Illustrators Exhibition 2005:


          ISHIKAWA NANO ART MUSEUM, Ishikawa, Japan


          ITABASHI ART MUSEUM, Tokyo, Japan

          BOLOGNA FIERE, Bologna, Italy

Schwarz Himmel von Metall

Schwarz Himmel von Metall

  Original title of the artwork: Schwarz Himmel von Metall / Black sky made...

Artist photo Jakob Kirchmayr Austria, Innsbruck
Der Zufall wendet das Kaleidoskop

Der Zufall wendet das Kaleidoskop

  Original title of the artwork: Der Zufall wendet das Kaleidoskop / Chance...

Artist photo Jakob Kirchmayr Austria, Innsbruck
Head I

Head I

  Original title of the artwork: Head I "Along the border of being" is a line...

Artist photo Jakob Kirchmayr Austria, Innsbruck
Schwarze Tulpen

Schwarze Tulpen

  Original title of the artwork: Schwarze Tulpen / Black tulips "Along the...

Artist photo Jakob Kirchmayr Austria, Innsbruck
exhale it

exhale it

  Original title of the artwork: exhale it "Along the border of being" is...

Artist photo Jakob Kirchmayr Austria, Innsbruck