The latest work of the artist, born in Feldbach in 1973, who lives and works in Eastern Styria and Vienna, is an explosive amalgamation of antagonisms: cold and hot, static and dynamic, dry and wet, old and new are on a permanent collision course. A precarious celebration of the antithetical which generates works based on elaborate artistic casting techniques (lost-wax casting) and experiments with materials such as sand, aluminium, wax and bronze. Karner’s sculptural work addresses the process of formation, activates the recipient’s power for free association who, just like responding to a Rorschach test, is looking for figurative analogies; the works avoid definitive statements and an authorial positioning. The performance of form, which – from an art historical point of view – originated in August Rodin’s “The Gates of Hell” and arose almost heroically into figuration, is translated by the artist into apparently proliferating, archaic shapes, often combined with objets trouvés. Karner describes the approach to his art – which is fuelled by a dark colour palette and consists of heavy and solid materials – as playful: a hellish game in which the elemental and the artistic coalesce in a morganatic union.
The spatial setting of the exhibition that features next to the small, precious, sometimes soot- sometimes pastel-coloured works, also a tank with works of wax moulded under water, follows an aleatoric principle: Large and heavy aluminium plates accentuate the exhibition, they are propped against each other or put into a fragile equilibrium.
The small sculptures that, despite obviously being made, remind very much of primeval forms, rhizomatic structures and the vegetation of a jungle, dynamize the space and make static matter dance. One could also say that Karl Karner puts the abstract expressionism into the three-dimensional along the lines of Jackson Pollock and aesthetically condenses his performative work with Linda Samaraweerova by way of sculpture.