Artwork of the month July

Karl-Heinz Ströhle, Untitled, 1997

Karl-Heinz Ströhle
* 1957 in Bregenz, † 2016 in Bregenz, Austria
Untitled, 1997
Oil on handmade paper
60 x 44.5 cm
Contemporary Art Foundation / Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein, Vaduz

In Untitled (1997) by Karl-Heinz Ströhle, black strips of colour form a vertically structured sequence on an eggshell-coloured ground. The difference between this contrasty sequence is created by an interplay of geometrically drawn lines and the fraying of the black paint into the light material of the support. In addition to their precise, straight stringency, the repetitive stripes also run together gently, mutually penetrating each other. Within this optical structure, the contrast of colours presents itself as an element of equal importance. Black and white—dark and light—alternately come to the fore, supplanting each other and causing a sense of urgent vibrancy in what is an essentially geometrical arrangement. Or, as the artist himself puts it: “Where motion in the image also explores its limits.”

Ströhle’s reduced formal idiom, the economical use of artistic devices, and the line in its wide-ranging manifestations are fundamental aspects of his oeuvre: “What is in any case true is that my work, be it painting or sculptures, is profoundly informed by a graphical element. I would describe this as the red thread that runs through all of my work.” Despite this, the artist, who was born in 1957 in Bregenz and who passed away unexpectedly in 2016, did not work predominantly in two-dimensional space. He was a draughtsman, painter, performance, object and media artist and also carried out numerous art projects in public space, particularly in Vorarlberg. As such, Ströhle’s work evolves from the two-dimensional sphere into the relief and on into (moving) space.

Ströhle’s preferred material is spring steel, that is generally used in the packaging industry and with which he develops his “amorphous” objects that “draw” themselves into space in the form of lines. The sculptures, set in motion by an impetus, resonate with their intervening space, thus entering into contact with their counterpart.

Denise Rigaud
<b>Karl-Heinz Ströhle, Untitled, 1997</b>
Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein highlights a work from the permanent collection each month throughout the year. Works from the collection of the Hilti Art Foundation are also included in this series on a regular basis.