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On the occasion of Arnulf Rainer’s 90th birthday, Vienna’s Albertina Museum hosts the solo show Arnulf Rainer. A Tribute, until January 19. The Austrian artist, who rose to fame in the 1950s, is one of the country’s most renowned figures from post-war art and now, the museum pays him a tribute by showcasing its own rich holdings of his work.

Rainer searched for new means of expression through painting, for which he developed “radical new procedures from the very beginning”, the museum explains. Exploring colour, emptiness, surface and light, his works are always embedded with ulterior qualities. The exhibition at Albertina focuses on his early overpaintings, which were part of the artist’s strategy “for filling a deeply felt emptiness”, the museum describes. As important as these are the cross-shaped canvases, which were charged with the shape’s symbolism of death, mystery, religion and transitoriness. After these, the exhibition’s focus skips to the late-1960s and ‘70s, when the artist started exploring the photographic medium and intervening self-portraits he took at public photo booths. However, the exhibition is also completed with more recent works, which let the visitor understand the overall of Rainer’s body of work of the last seventy years.
The exhibition Arnulf Rainer. A Tribute is on view until January 19 at Albertina Museum, Albertinaplatz 1, Vienna.

David Valero

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