March 23 - April 21, 2023

Elisabeth Plank & Josef Ramaseder

Opening: March 23, 2023, 6 to 8 pm

Artist talk: April 13, 2023, 6 pm

The exhibition DOUBLE PROJECTION brings together the works of Elisabeth Plank and Josef Ramaseder with their different painterly approaches. The two artists were connected by a decades-long friendship, and yet they pursued divergent paths in painting. While Plank traverses the elementary vocabulary of the painting process in a permanent exploratory movement, Ramaseder deconstructs painting conceptually – but using painterly means. A juxtaposition of these two artistic positions is presented for the first time at Galerie Ruberl.

“I’m actually always trying to do something new, something that can’t be categorized right away. Something that is able to surprise me.”
Josef Ramaseder, 2015

Josef Ramaseder (1956–2022) engaged in a critical relationship to painting in the 1980s. This resulted in two central groups of works. The first was his series of encaustic paintings, created over a long period of time. Made with liquid wax, these partly large-format paintings are formally reduced, adopt text, language, and gestures from popular culture, and are intellectually underpinned by post-structuralist linguistic theory.

The following group of works comprises the so-called fungal spore paintings. In these pictures, Ramaseder largely leaves the creative process to the colored spores of various species of fungi. The painterly gesture and the artist’s hand are again radically withdrawn. Despite formal reduction and conceptual abstraction, the paintings reveal a material sensuality in the treatment of color, surface support, and pictorial subjects.

“For me, the concept of the unknown is much more obvious than the concept of the new. For me, it encompasses impetus and liberation.”
Elisabeth Plank, 2017

Since her artistic beginnings in the 1980s, Elisabeth Plank (b. 1960) has been exploring fundamental possibilities of the painterly process. In an unflinching affirmation of the medium of painting, she deliberately dispenses with narrative elements, and instead declines basic painterly principles such as color, form, structure, and space in a continuous and subjective interrogation.

In the early paintings shown here for the first time, Plank already worked with an air brush, which she would also repeatedly use later on. Despite the thin and matte application of paint, the pictures achieve their very own effect through colorfulness and material sensitivity. What the stylistically divergent groups of works have in common is their abstract quality and direct emergence from the artistic process itself. Plank works without preliminary drawings or sketches; free decisions arise as she paints.

Plank and Ramaseder met in the late 1970s while studying with Oswald Oberhuber at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. They quickly formed a friendship that lasted despite numerous stays abroad. Although the two artists chose different approaches to painting – the one affirming, the other criticizing – they shared a continuous engagement with it. It is precisely the juxtaposition of Plank’s processual-intuitive and Ramaseder’s conceptual-metaphorical abstraction that allows a new approach to each work. DOUBLE PROJECTION.