1983 Maurer
1983 Maurer


MAURER_04_16.09.25 (51)

Quasi-Bild [Quasi-Image]. Photo: Dóra Maurer



Spatial painting

Wall, floor and ceiling painting using acrylic paint

Room dimensions: 400 x 320 x 370 cm

Design 1982, installation 1982/1983

Room: donjon, 1st floor

On her own artistic initiative, DÓRA MAURER set a project in motion whose relevance and impact have remained unchanged in the almost 40 years that have since passed. With the desire she expressed in 1982 to paint a room in the largely rundown and almost entirely empty Buchberg Castle on the river Kamp in line with her concept of ‘shifts’, she gave the crucial impetus for a process over the course of which the large site dating to the Middle Ages and early baroque has been furnished with a collection of over 30 permanent site-specific installations. […] Once she had come up with the idea and the possibility of concretisation became a reality, DÓRA MAURER conducted an experiment: in the context of a group exhibition organised by Exakte Tendenzen in 1982 at Vienna’s Modern Art Galerie, she created a three-dimensional Quasi-Bild [Quasi-Image] – emerging from the conditions of the gallery space – from painted packaging paper. The attempt was compelling: that very November, she started work on the Buchberg spatial painting, which was presented in 1983 alongside a small exhibition of her works in rooms of the castle that had been provisionally set up for that purpose.

DÓRA MAURER selected a space with a groined vault for her project. There she was able for the first time to systematically realise her idea of putting the viewer inside an artwork. The effect of being wrapped in a colour space, the tension between precise forms and diverse visual and emotional impressions that can barely be appreciated in their entirety, as well as the contrast between a setting that has evolved over the centuries and the contemporary artwork can only be fully experienced and savoured in situ. DÓRA MAURER had been pursuing this notion of conceiving an entire space with all its boundary surfaces as a Quasi-Bild [Quasi-Image] since 1977. Her ambition was not to design a living space that is intended to serve people’s well-being, but rather to create an experiential space whose aggressive, rationally almost unfathomable impact is intended to enthral the viewer.

With her artistic intervention, DÓRA MAURER ‘deconstructed’ both the existing space and the shape and colour system of herDisplacement series, which she had developed over the preceding years. This was achieved by superimposing the surface-folded limitations of the space – floor, walls and four-part vault – with a linear structure of cold and warm colours systematically arranged in two layers. The form of this ‘template’ defined the irregular section cut from the regular initial form. The intrinsically arranged linear system overlies the simple but formally uneven structure of the space seemingly at random. Laid on top of one another, two structures might complement each other to create a meta structure, or − and this is the case in Buchberg – subvert and distort one another. […]

DÓRA MAURER produced a film during and after the completion of the spatial painting at Buchberg. In the first part, she documents the many weeks of work in the ice-cold donjon room. In the second part, she makes the painting – conceived as a permanent installation –disappear entirely by returning the space to its whitewashed original state and hence deleting the work with filmic techniques. With this short-term collision of two alien structures, she points to the instability of deconstructivist systems overlaps, which only exist as a visual manifestation but not as a genuine phenomenon. This difference between material fact − here the two independent arrangements − and optical effect is one of the characteristic features of the picture concepts subsequently developed by DÓRA MAURER. The quasi-perspectival pictures she created in the 1980s and 1990s are reminiscent of views into the groined vault of the work from 1982/83. At the beginning, there is a portfolio of screen prints produced soon after the space was completed, for which the artist compiled details of the spatial painting, which can serve as a precursor of a series of later pictures.

(Excerpt from the text by DIETER BOGNER in DÓRA MAURER. SNAP-SHOTS, Museum Ritter Waldenbuch, [ed.], Heidelberg 2014)

First presentation in the context of the exhibition Raumkonzepte Schloß Buchberg am Kamp [Spatial Concepts at Buchberg Castle on the River Kamp], 26th June to 31st August 1983


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