After his first show (1960), his work gained public attention (sculptures, paintings, etchings), which constituted a revolt against abstract art. The main topics of his artistic dialogue were references to history, as well as political polemic or acts of sexuality.
Alfred Hrdlicka – Austria’s great sculptor and graphic artist celebrates his 80th birthday. Already before the time when Hrdlicka committed himself primarily to three-dimensional art, he was in contact with plastic structures, in the form of dental impressions made of gypsum, during his apprenticeship as a dental technician between 1942 and 1945. It was in 1944 – in other words before Hrdlicka obtained his formal training – that he created his first sculpture.Between 1946 and 1952 Hrdlicka studied painting with Gütersloh and Dobrowsky at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna.
After obtaining his diploma in painting, Hrdlicka began to study sculpture with Wotruba, and he completed his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in 1957. Fritz Wotruba was renowned as the doyen of figurative cubism. His human figures are purely formal solutions, verging on abstraction. Hrdlicka, in turn, instilled human life into the marble block, turning it into human flesh – a portrait of a man marked by destiny. The difference between the two artists could not have been any greater. On the one hand a representative of modernism, on the other hand a classical realist.
Hrdlicka’s credo was to return to reality. Hrdlicka is an artist who is close to the classical sculptors of the western world – ranging from Michelangelo to Rodin. He finds truth in ugliness and in pain, but not in beauty. The best-known sculpture in the context of human violence in the oeuvre of Alfred Hrdlicka is the multi-piece memorial monument at Augustinerplatz in Vienna, in front of the Albertina museum. His Mahnmal gegen Krieg und Faschismus (Memorial Monument against War and Fascism) was unveiled in 1988 and ultimately completed in 1991. The artist wants to stir the emotions of onlookers, he wants to attack them and urge them to reflect on violence and the flesh.
Hrdlicka’s art is always physical and mundane, driven by instincts, sexuality and violence. It does not belittle or embellish. The artist has a supreme command of the language of exaggeration, of mannerism. However, the truth is always the essence.
Alfred Hrdlicka born in 1928 in Vienna, Austria
1945-52 studies Painting at Akademie der bildenden Künste- Albert Paris Güthersloh, Vienna
1953-57 studies Sculpture at Akademie der bildenden Künste - Fritz Wotruba, Vienna
1971-73 Appointment of Alfred Hrdlicka at Akademie der bildenden Künste, Stuttgart
1973-75 teaches at the Hochschule für bildende Künste, Hamburg
1975 Appointment at Akademie der bildenden Künste, Stuttgart
1988 Revelation of the first Part of the Memorial against War and Fascism at the Albertinaplatz in Vienna
1991Completion of the Memorial against War and Fascism at Albertinaplatz in Vienna
Dommuseum, Hommage an Pasolini, 11. 03. -10. 05. 2008
Kunsthalle Nexus, Saalfelden, 16. 05. - 30. 06. 2008
Galerie Welz, Salzburg, Festpielzeit 2008
Galerie Sikoronja, Rosegg, summer 2008
Schloss Hartheim, Alkoven, April, May 2009
Kunsthalle Würth, Alfred Hrdlicka, 19. 01. - 29. 06. 2008
Galerie Berlin, Alfred Hrdlicka, 19. 01 - 2. 03. 08.
Augsburg/St. Peter am Perlach - 6.2.-20.3.2008
Maler Zang Haus, Birkenfeld, June - July 2008
Hessisches Landessozialgericht, Darmstadt, 5.8.-31.10.2008
Schloss Gottorf, Schleswig, 8.2.-17.5.2009
Opening: Thursday, February 28th 2008, 7 pm
Dorotheergasse 5 - Wien