October 8 – November 20, 2021
We are very pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new works by Austrian artist Otto Zitko at our Vienna gallery.
In Otto Zitko’s work, space determines form and content. The central design element is the seemingly endless line running across large-format picture panels, sheets, or walls, which is applied with paint rollers or thick oil pens. Behind the supposedly purely expressive character of his works lies a complex structure of self-organization, the sounding out of physiological movement in space, and different levels of consciousness and energy. If one thinks of this organizational structure as belonging to the work and puts it in relation to it, drawing becomes a medium that also brings the invisible before our eyes.
Zitko became internationally known primarily for his expansive in-situ drawings, whose lines across spatial distances, wall protrusions, and niches feature well- thought-out reference points to create the impression of an uninterrupted line from different perspectives.
The conception for his exhibition at Crone Vienna also refers to the architecture of the gallery, its spatial division, and rhythmic structure. The entrance area, the somewhat lower corridor, and the main room become a perceived physical unity with his typical multiple overlapping lineaments. The consistent color scheme here, a sky blue, RAL 5015—matched to the gallery's lighting conditions—supports this impression. Although they are autonomous works, they refer to each other, as if they were taken from an all-over room drawing, we can add to the gaps between the works in our imagination to form a continuous unity. Following the impulse of movement of the body in three-dimensional space, Zitko sets the line, sometimes in wide, circular movements, then again condensing, centering, sometimes sweeping, sometimes carefully groping—a gesture that leaves its graphic traces on large-format papers, aluminum panels, and recently also canvases.
In the next room, Zitko shows small aluminum panels with felt marker drawings of various colors. Whether acrylic marker or telescopic rod with painter’s roller, for Zitko these are graphic tools that merely determine whether it is a small gesture or one with a large radius of movement. Here, he translates the movement of the freely flitting hand onto the picture support and thinks beyond it into a space behind it. Lines and strokes are decisively set, at times losing themselves in a somnambulistic state, in the self-loss of which thematic aspects emerge from the depths of consciousness, only to regain control over the flow of the line.
Experimentation with different materials is instrumental in Zitko’s work. His way of drawing requires a hard surface on which the tools find resistance. Each change of material demands new approaches, shapes the character of a work, and tempts new solutions and a breaking of routines. Zitko accepts this challenge, not only in terms of changing the image carrier, such as the recently resumed work on canvas, but also as a change of material to acrylic markers or to different methods, such as drawing on sheets of paper lying on the floor, which shape the character and appearance of these new works.
For his solo presentation at the Crone Gallery in Vienna, Zitko chooses a very stringent concept that focuses on the relationships between the different materials, the opening up of space, and the illusion of a space lying behind the picture support. In his text Otto Zitko – Diaphan, Ulrich Look points out in this context a peculiarity of Gothic architecture: “In the Gothic, the wall is transformed into a grid of plastic elements backed by space; the closing wall surface is dissolved and acquires spatial depth.” The picture support is the membrane across which Otto Zitko imagines his gesture from a limiting interior into an infinite exterior.
Otto Zitko was born in Linz in 1959 and studied at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna. His works have been and are on view at numerous international art institutions, including the Art Museum of China, Beijing; the Museum of Modern Art, Mexico City; S.M.A.K., Ghent; the Museum of Art, Tucson, Arizona; Kunsthalle, Bern; Secession, Vienna; Manifesta, St. Petersburg; Triennale India, New Delhi; Albertina, Vienna; Lentos Kunstmuseum, Linz; and Deichtorhallen, Hamburg. Zitko lives and works in Vienna.