Gunter Damisch

Steyr 1958 - 2016 Vienna

From 1978 until 1985, painter Gunter Damisch, born in the Upper Austrian city of Steyr in 1958, studied at the Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien (Vienna Academy of Fine Arts) under Max Melcher and Arnulf Rainer. Damisch is considered a representative of the so called “Neue Wilde“ (Wild Youth) in Austria. This artists movement was named after the French “Fauves“ and is known for its subjective, carefree, life-affirming style of painting.
He articulated his universal artistic versatility in an extensive multimedial oeuvre, i.e. painting, drawing, sculpture and graphic reproduction, through an equally balanced examination of painting, ceramics, aluminium sculptures, bronze sculptures, drawing, photography, collages and serigraphy.

The colourful and rich in contrast micro and macro cosmos of Gunter Damisch

Gunter Damisch’s large-size oil paintings often feature a particularly intense colourfulness that is rich in contrast. The play of and with colours, contrast and space give Damisch’s oeuvre its distinctive character. The unlimited, cosmic pictorial spaces of Gunter Damisch are structured by a leitmotiv-like interference between the big and the small, the macro and the micro cosmic. “My pictorial system is strongly guided by the idea of transformation and metamorphosis. These ambiguities fascinate me.“(1) A latent proximity to organic natural forms, protean, mono cellular creatures with unfurling tentacles, crystalline growth forms as well as galactic, energetic concentrations or the starry sky with its black holes and vibrating stardust are inherent characteristics of his individual system of the pictorial world in which Gunter Damisch operated in an open and modularly manner with an increasingly high repertoire of shapes: “worlds“, “fields“, “paths“, “networks“, “flickers“, “stayers“ or “flimmers“: “In a next step, he created figures that defy gravity, largely lack extremities and seem to float – figures that find themselves in a floating, moving system. These are the so called flimmers, terminologically speaking, rather gaseous creatures, the mergers between the worlds.“(2)

Gunter Damisch died in Vienna in 2016, at only 58 years of age. Since 1992, he had been professor for graphic art at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.

(1) Gunter Damisch, Weltwegschlingen. Drawings / Paintings 1997–2010, Hohenems and Vienna 2011, p. 10.
(2) ibid, p. 8.