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Prof. Dr. Manfred Wagner: "Images of Man" (ENGLISH), 1987

Images of Man

Franz Schwarzinger’s works are images of man. Technic and form are of no concern: the object of interest is always the same - the human being, especially as a head combined with dislocated pieces of the rest of the body, is the focal point of the picture. This is why Schwarzinger does not require a title, and even if he events one, it hits the nail on the head without being concrete.

Non-concrete like his images of people. No one is meant in particular, even the similarities with himself are more sporadic than in the case of many other artists that - purposely or not - integrate their attributes in the face constructions. Schwarzinger has never painted anything other than people, and if one could speak of a development, then it is in his case a movement towards security, formulating and answering once posed questiones. The head, the limb, or even sometimes the whole body becomes in the mean time a type of „space-factor“, which means that the empty space and the solid object become strongly dependent on each other. Schwarzinger prepared this point of view long ago, he has decomposed and ornamented the background, created categories contrasting with the parts of the body to create a form of the space-distribution between the indicatively human and the abstract. Now the distributions are exact - they radiate a security and definition on the partition of space, leaving no open question, or a notion of change.

The sketches, often done with charcoal and Indian ink, point more strongly to the past than the pictures. Through them one can feel the wounds that the person Schwarzinger had gotten, there is the power of the fantastic that seeks confrontation, there are these partly uncanny, farcical and unusual creatures, cross-breeds between animals and dream-symbols, thus the rest of a formerly animative world. It is also peculiar though that even in these potentials of conflict no stories are put through, no views that allow a before and an after and thus the sketch is a snapshot. Schwarzingers pictures give the impression of being cast or frozen, rigid in state and thus unyielding with respect to past and future. This rigidness is probably a correlation with security, a characteristic of his pictures. Or more extremely: the balancing of objects within the area sucks more power and is more attractive than the symbolic effect of the single objects. So much energy has been spent on this positioning, that despite a visual world the contents themselves fade in favour of the position of the described objects within the plane format.

If one did not know Schwarzinger’s works and his methods, then one could probably expect him to be a much older and experienced artist. It may be early aging that makes Schwarzingers work now unique, but it could also the theme he choose for himself, wich has led him to his present phase at the present time. In a couple of years, a look back will show whether Schwarzinger’s definition of man in the years 1986/87 was the last stage in his picture of man or a phase leading to a more trimmed reduction. Anyhow, we are assured that Franz Schwarzinger will stick to the subject „Image of Man“, to his image.


Prof. Dr. Manfred Wagner, University of Applied Arts Vienna

(in Catalog "Schwarzinger", Chobot Gallery, Vienna)

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