Arnulf Rainer’s Emotional, Avant-Garde Practices
Despite anti-establishment sentiments and intensely unconventional methods, Arnulf Rainer has achieved massive acclaim, his career spanning half a century, with monumental retrospectives and the establishment of a museum dedicated to his work. Almost entirely self-taught, Rainer merged an interest in fantastic Surrealism with the physicality and spontaneity of Art Informel in his early paintings, before moving towards abstraction and more experimental practices. From 1951 to 1954, he produced a series of “Blind Paintings” in which he played off the technique of Automatism by painting blindfolded. Rainer has continually returned to overpainting and reworking, painting over—either partially or completely—paintings by other artists or photographs of figures or nature, often building up heavy impasto. Intensely interested in physical expressions of emotion, Rainer has also painted with his feet and fingers, photographed himself in states of extreme emotion, studied the painting of chimpanzees, and tested the effects of hallucinogenic drugs on his practice.
Austrian, b. 1929, Baden, Austria