Günther Schützenhöfer was born in Mödling, Austria, in July 1965. As a six-year-old he arrived at the former Gugging clinic and spent his life at various care facilities until 1999, when, aged 34, he moved into the Gugging House of Artists, where he produced his first drawings; he presently visits the galerie Gugging daily, at least in the afternoon, to come and work at “his” desk. He appreciates the opportunity to dedicate himself to his works undisturbed.
During the first years, he worked very cautiously, and mostly in small formats; over time, the formats grew larger, and his very fine lines gave way to strong, determined strokes. Günther Schützenhöfer works in pencil and coloured pencils on paper and cardboard. Before putting his pencil to paper, he rolls it back and forth between his thumb and forefinger until he gets a really good grip. He sketches out his theme in a few lines, then uses strong strokes to bring it to life. He likes to fill large areas in pencil, giving them a fascinating life of their own. Sometimes he applies so much pressure that the lead of his pencils cracks and breaks; for this reason he keeps at least 5 sharpened pencils next to him, and once he has used them all, grabs any other pencils lying around on the table. This constant change in pencils with different hardness grades and the varying amount of pressure he applies while drawing result in idiosyncratic shadings, which make his works exciting and alive. Sparingly and skilfully he places additional accents in coloured pencil.
Schützenhöfer chooses his themes spontaneously, often related to the current season or situation. Lately, he repeatedly asked for a print-out of his motive - be it a TV-set, a radio, a lawn mower or the Eiffel Tower - to serve him as a template. But then he only glances briefly at the image, says, “Yes, I know”, and commences his work. His approach is particular and entirely focused on the essence, the gist of his theme. Limiting himself to the vital elements, he produces abstract drawings that are unique in their overall elegance.
Over the past 15 years, Günther Schützenhöfer has developed his unique, unmistakable style, which never ceases to amaze the onlooker. With his view of things around him, portrayed stylized and devoid of perspective, he creates enigmatic drawings, pervaded by Schützenhöfer’s subtle humour. He is a great illustrator and interpreter of his surroundings, a world he very much enjoys living in, he says.
Schützenhöfer’s works have been on show worldwide since 2001 and are represented in numerous private and public collections such as the Lower Austria Regional Collection, the Museum of Everything, the Peter Infeld Private Trust, and the Arnulf Rainer Collection.
© Nina Katschnig