October 1, 2015 - Neue Galerie Graz – Universalmuseum Joanneum - Wolfgang Hollegha
October 1, 2015

Wolfgang Hollegha

Wolfgang Hollegha, 2015. Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner.

Wolfgang Hollegha
Nature is Within

October 9, 2015–February 7, 2016
Opening: October 8, 7pm

Neue Galerie Graz
8010 Graz

T +43 316/8017 9100


Wolfgang Hollegha’s painting is based on the awareness of objects. In his work, the painterly gesture does not hold intrinsic value; rather, it fulfills the task of visualizing subjective perceptions and sensations in the picture. His inspiration is drawn from actual objects: he begins by drawing in an attempt to capture the object physically. During the process of painting that follows, the motif then disperses into blotches of colour. This reconfiguration of forms produces an equivalent of the original object. The relationship with the object is thus augmented with—and almost replaced by—a new artistic reality. 

“It is by lending his body to the world that the painter transforms the world into painting,” asserted the philosopher Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Thus a duality of internal and external perspective evolves in terms of pictorial perception. So drawing and painting become the internal of the external world, and the external of the internal world. Both the visual process—the eye as a self-moved instrument—and the hand, whose movement carries out the transformation into the picture, serve to alter vision. 

With this exhibition, the Neue Galerie Graz recognizes one of the most significant painters after 1945. There are few figures from Austria who have helped to shape the development of painting within an international context in quite the way that Hollegha has. By not accepting Clement Greenberg’s one-dimensional view of painting and turning to an essentially differentiated complexity within his art, he was soon seen as a “European” painter when set against the American painters. Today this difference can be interpreted as a right decision on the part of the artist, given that we are now greatly occupied with the question of the picture, and of the place where the picture was created. In Hollegha’s case, we can also speak of the body functioning as the medium and recorder of images, transforming and reproducing them.

In this exhibition, Hollegha’s artistic journey is meant to be traced by means of central works, some of which have never been exhibited in Graz, others never anywhere before. Meanwhile, the context will be established through the joint presentation of his work alongside that of contemporaries like Morris Louis and Sam Francis, enabling us to see clearly the true greatness of the painter Wolfgang Hollegha.

Curated by Günther Holler-Schuster

Neue Galerie Graz – Universalmuseum Joanneum
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