Walter Obholzer

Vertical Panoramas

28 May - 18 June 1997

The Austrian artist, Walter Obholzer, presents a specific work at the space of 10-12 rue du Priez in Lille, as part of a series of projects organised by artconnexion in 1997 around painting.

If it is sometimes said that painting is in a fragile state in the face of the current radical transformation of the notion of the image, Walter Obholzer's intention is to force us to reconsider the possibilities of painting.

The strategic field for this exploration is the white wall. The immateriality of painting as practised by Walter Obholzer means that the picture painted directly on the wall merges with the wall surface. The paintings are not "hung" on the wall, they "take place" in a defined space, as an event, causing an interaction between them and the viewer.

The series of Vertical Panoramas (1989-1994), syntheses of painting, drawing, ornament, sculpture and architecture, is an invitation to step back and see how painting changes the perspective of the space around it. These are site-specific panels, covered with decorative motifs. They are paintings of interiors glimpsed, fragmented or suggested on aluminium panels, surrounded by a thin support frame. Doors open to a hidden world, with a "promise more promising" than the surface of the wall; a reflected image of something behind us, of a forbidden pleasure.

In Walter Obholzer's work, pleasure becomes the watch word, the painting is so fine that the viewer feels a little guilty about his desire to look closer. These paintings explicitly appeal to visual pleasure. What seduces us in these discreet interventions in space is the skill of the art.

Having accustomed the viewer to the cat-and-mouse game as regards the seriousness (or otherwise) of the work, it is ultimately the in-between, the position between the sacred and the sweet, that he prefers. Faced with the certainty that we live in a post-modern age, Obholzer offers a new framework for the modern, producing art that creates its own context.

In the work presented at artconnexion, a stencil painting on the wall, the focus is as much on the motif as on the active pictorial composition, both linguistic and sensual.