Nowadays modern arts overshadow classic ones. That is why this theme receives attention from the various spheres of life, philately is not an exception. This particular item released by Austrian Post shows "Vexations" by Gregor Schmoll, who is frequently referred to as the "Monsieur Surrealist" of Austrian contemporary art.
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From the "Photography in Austria" series, this commemorative shows "Vexations" by Gregor Schmoll, who is frequently referred to as the "Monsieur Surrealist" of Austrian contemporary art. The artist, born in 1970 in Bruck an der Mur, and who studied at the Academy of Fine Arts under Michelangelo Pistoletto and Heimo Zobernig, blurs the distinction between reality and imagination in his works. The apparently every day is placed in surreal and absurd contexts in his photographs – thus it is only at second glance that one sees the face in the outline of a vase.
References to psychoanalysis, philosophy, literature and the cinema are not unusual for Schmoll. As is often the case, his art is not easily put into words. Schmoll himself says that his aim is to investigate the bizarre, the hidden and the mysterious. He sees this as being due to an experience in his childhood when, at the age of nine, paintings lost their innocence for him, as he put puts it.
In the London Tate Gallery, he saw Salvador Dali's painting "The Metamorphosis of Narcissus". Since then, he has been concerned with the question of what is appearance and what is reality. For this, he makes use of the medium that is said to have the greatest objectivity, photography.
Using photos and sculptural works, he often stages complex installations. For him, the question of what determines our view of a work of art is very important. To what extent is our view influenced by what has already happened, what we already know from art history? For this reason, the observer sees quotations in Schmoll's works. Schmoll has already staged himself as Fantômas and Pygmalion – and by taking up well-known subjects intends to break away from them.
He also questions the extent to which pictures transmitted from the past determine the perception of the self. Stephanie Damianitsch, who together with him organised the hitherto largest individual exhibition of his works held in Austria in the Kunsthalle Krems, states: "By having recourse in his work to pictures from the reservoir of the cultural pictorial memory that he places in apparently every-day or absurd scenarios, he impressively succeeds in demonstrating the pictorial construction of reality".
In addition to Krems, Schmoll has already exhibited in Berlin, Graz, Zurich, Salzburg and Vienna, and has been awarded the Viktor Fogarassy prize, the State Bursary for Artistic Photography, the Photography Sponsorship Prize of the City of Graz and other awards and bursaries.