Oswald Oberhuber - artist

Two approaches or statements may be made:

One regarding your person and one regarding your work; and because one has something to do with the other, they cannot be looked at separately. Art is a very personal thing. The person themself plays a part in art, existing in conjunction with his/her thoughts and acts. Equally importantly, we need to take a look at the artist's critical faculty, sensitivity and need for quality. These are important prerequisites for the production of good work, because without critique both inward and outward there is no satisfactory production, and in your case there is plenty.

Hence, knowledge, experience and insight into all processes is a prerequisite for being in a position or indeed able to produce art in the first place.

The second statement, which is much more important, particularly for you, but also for those who consume art, is your own work.

The issue of one’s own work and the struggle for it, always characterised by the self and all the crises, are just a starting point, because you did not actually start out as a sculptor.

In your case, a process is evident, indicating that you have been moving in a particular direction and prioritising what seems important to you – like someone leaving the single dimension of a sheet of paper or canvas in order to achieve a four-dimensional formulation. The latter is much more complicated and difficult in itself, and then again simpler because there is spatiality to work with. One can use the space-related statements to interpret or see oneself, and I find it great that you have gone from surface to spatial moments, and in a number of different dimensions at that.

As we know, art is a practical, not just a theoretical, moment: unless it is executed, a work of art has no visibility or importance. In the end, as primitive as it may sound, the critical thing is what emerges from the combination of theory and practice, because art always depends on the execution. For those creating art, the idea is often simpler to grasp mentally and easier to define. The essential factor is whether it can be transferred to the viewer. And from this follows the question of whether the idea has been perfected to an extent that leads to a satisfactory identification for both parties.

For you it is not only critical that the material outgrows itself, because you also have material grounds and use material that enables you to execute great and various dimensions. That means you need to make the material graspable, be it wood or expanded polystyrene. In your case, the material is a basis for something that is only fulfilled once you give it some liveliness by using colour. I have witnessed your struggles and the resistance that is important for you, the considerations in relation to space (the space in which your sculptures are created) in order to execute something. Because, unlike the viewers, you actually live in this world into which your sculpture is growing.

The creation of any work of art requires or is predicated upon mastery of the material, because the material is part of a stimulus causing you to choose a specific formulation. The question, then, is: is the formulation meaningful? Is what moves and affects the artist important? The meaningfulness may, of course, lie in the fact that the meaning results from yourself.

However, I cannot break through a block and create a completely different world from it when the material urges me towards a certain strategy of perception. This is the most difficult point, and it is this which then yields the meaning, that is, the meaning manifests itself in the language of the executing artist and the resistance of the material – and those are two separate processes.

Naturally, any description of a work of art is governed by a subjective interpretation. I do not know how close you can come to the idea of the person executing the work of art. The concept of sculpture, which plays an important role in your work, seems clear to me: sculpture, having a volume, sculpture characterising a solid, or sculptural form being a solid, which in my view is the basic idea behind these sculptures, namely to control the space with these elements that have been formed in detail by you.

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