Cornelius Kolig

Vorderberg/ Gailtal 1942

Cornelius Kolig was born in 1942 in Vorderberg an der Gail. Cornelius Kolig is a painter, object and concept artist. He is Anton Kolig’s grandson and Franz Wiegele’s great-nephew.
From 1960 to 65 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna under Josef Dobrowsky, Herbert Boeckl and Max Weiler. As early as 1963 and 1968 he exhibited x-ray sculptures, tactile and temperature sculptures and light-objects at Monsignore Otto Mauer’s Galerie nächst St. Stephan. 1979 saw the commencement of the PARADIES in Vorderberg, a project conceived of his life’s work and a total work of art (a garden and complex of buildings housing the artist’s works created between 1962 and the present day).
At the same time, the PARADIES is a workshop, display store and an archive of all works planned for this space. ‘What (asks Kolig) is artistic creation, if not the processing, refining, condensing, distilling of things encountered in everyday reality?’ Fascinated by modern technology, he has developed equipment and machines that enable the staging of nature and the body – ‘Metal sculptures, photographs and videos with manuals’, as he calls his main works. Fundamental aspects of life that are often taboo, such as sexuality, the functionality of human excretions as well as the broad sensuality of actionist art, are central to his work. Picture-like flower reliefs, often composed of colourful, fleshy, but unscented, artificial blossoms refer to the basic decoration found in traditional paradises. ‘FLUSH, for Kolig, denotes a wide conceptual spectrum of blushing – from psycho-physical processes of reddening evoked by shame and anger, from red as a device used in advertising and a warning sign in zoology and botany, to the sentimental feelings of transience regarding certain natural phenomena such as a glowing sunset.’

1 Arnulf Rohsmann, ‘cornelius kolig – das PARADIES, die praxis’, in: Cornelius Kolig, Flush. Neue Arbeiten für das Paradies 1985–1990, Klagenfurt 1990, pp. 7-16, here: p. 15