psychical spaces between boredom and confusion

Austrian artist w.m. pühringer, once with his practice “zünd-up” one of Vienna’s most progressive architecture groups of the 1960s, forming part of a movement, that Peter Cook later on would call “The Austrian Phenomenon“, has, rather than eventually turning his focus to built architecture, been continuously working on pencil- and crayon drawings, sculptures and small-scale architectural interventions for almost 5 decades now, thus producing an impressive and multifaceted body of work. more than 30 selected drawings, exemplifying his work from the late 1960s to present will be on display in our office from october 21st 2013 until december 20th 2013. on the occasion of the opening a small catalogue will be published, that you can download here.

This is my introductory text to the catalogue, that accompanies the exhibition:

Psychical Spaces between Boredom and Confusion

Robert R. Neumayr (Vienna), 2013.

our architecture has no physical spaces, only psychical ones“, wolf prix wrote in 1969, as coop himmelblau, haus-rucker-co, missing link, zünd-up and other groups of young architects started to break up prevailing late modernist architectural concepts, mainly based on technocratic functionalism and fordist economisation,  to infuse long missed affective and sensory qualities. but while most of these young and upcoming architects, a loose group of raw talents that peter cook would later on call “the austrian phenomenon“, went on to realize physical spaces, it was w.m. pühringer who remained true to his vocation and aspiration to develop new design strategies, that no longer depended on technological aspects.

and while over the last 40 years new tools and technologies helped to develop new styles, w.m. pühringer still uses one of the most traditional techniques, the technique of drawing, to deconstruct classical geometries in order to bring them into a perfect, dynamic equilibrium, somewhere in between asymmetry and regularity, difference and repetition, proving gombrich’s famous words, that the delight of  aesthetic perception lies “between boredom and confusion“.

in the 1980s his deconstructivist small scale interventions already foreshadow a style, that philip johnson and mark wigley will only introduce to a wider audience in 1988. and while working on his baroque corrections in the 2000s w.m. pühringers already anticipates most of the contemporary anthropomorphic design strategies, that only have become fully available recently in the wake of the rise of digital technologies.

the exhibition “bleistift buntstift auf papier” displays a cross section of w.m. pühringers multi-faceted work of many years and testifies to its most striking characteristics: its projective nostalgia and retrospective innovation.

w.m. pühringer: bleistift buntstift auf papier
location: hoppe architekten, 1010 wien, stubenring 4/13
opening: 21.10.2013 19:00 (u.a.w.g)
duration: 22.10.2013 – 20.12.2013 (during office hours)