Martha Jungwirth Recent Paintings Martha Jungwirth Recent Paintings

Martha Jungwirth Recent Paintings

4 September—16 October 2021
Paris Marais
/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘My art is like a diary, seismographic. That is the method of my work. Drawing and painting are a movement that runs through me. The image is an intelligent structure of lines and blotches, nothing stuck. It’s about the fluid, the transparent, the open. I am not interested in the noble, but the sore, not embellished, uncensored.’

— Martha Jungwirth, 2012

 

For her first exhibition at Thaddaeus Ropac, Austrian artist Martha Jungwirth (born 1940 in Vienna) presents a new series of paintings of animal-like and abstract figures rendered with her characteristic palette of reds, violets, yellows and magentas. The works were made during the pandemic, almost like a diary of isolation, reflecting Jungwirth’s intimate connection to herself and the external world. 

What emerged are expressive, poetic and emotional paintings, ranging in size from smaller formats to monumental polyptychs evoking ancient myths, the limits of civilisations and the fragility of life.

 

Watch Martha Jungwirth discuss her latest work and the exhibition

Play
Pause
Watch Martha Jungwirth discuss her latest work and the exhibition
‘I was confronted with my own self during the pandemic, because I was completely isolated. I don’t live from reality,...
‘I was confronted with my own self during the pandemic, because I was completely isolated. I don’t live from reality,...
‘I was confronted with my own self during the pandemic, because I was completely isolated. I don’t live from reality,...

‘I was confronted with my own self during the pandemic, because I was completely isolated. I don’t live from reality, I live from art. The vitality of life, the sensations, all that was missing  the impressions from the outside world, from other art and artists. These interactions are very important for my work.’

— Martha Jungwirth


Memorial II (Triptychon), 2021
Oil on paper on canvas
238.5 x 882.5 cm (93.90 x 347.44 in)

Martha Jungwirth’s work draws on various sources  the human body, travelling, art history, mythology, historical, social and political contexts  capturing fleeting, internal impulses that are recorded in paint. Her compositions hover between abstraction and figuration, the unconscious and the intentional, unbound and free, only committed to their own truth.

Her monumental work La Grande Armée is inspired by the animal-shaped funeral beds discovered in the antechamber of pharaoh Tutankhamun’s tomb. Thought to represent a lion, a spotted cow and a third composite creature, here, all three are lined up, facing the same direction, as guards, onlookers and facilitators of the passage to the afterlife. The strikingly rounded curl of the lion’s tail recalls the elegant lines of typical ancient Egyptian depictions of animals.


La Grande Armée, 2021
Oil on paper
235 x 704.5 cm (92.52 x 277.36 in)

Martha Jungwirth's painting Der Affe (The Ape), is a reference to her 1988 poetic essay ‘der affe in mir’ (‘the...

Martha Jungwirth's painting Der Affe (The Ape), is a reference to her 1988 poetic essay ‘der affe in mir’ (‘the ape in me’), in which the artist describes the essence of her practice:

[...]

my pictorial
reality is charged with passion, a language tied to
the body, to dynamic movement. colourful streaks
and blotches in tangled relation, swiftly spontaneous,
blindly immeasurable, an irreproducible space for
action. inner images surface and sink, current
perception controls the motorics, the blotches and
colours that form movement, a system right within
itself, not conforming with the binding reality.

[...]

 

Der Affe, 2021
Oil on paper on canvas
248 x 215.5 cm (97.64 x 84.84 in)

'Martha Jungwirth's art is seismographic: it's about rhythm and freedom and it's about restrictions.'

— Hans Ulrich Obrist, 2021 

Bukephalos references the legendary war horse through a fragile silhouette, timeless and primeval; a sacrificed witness of the wars, tragedies...

Bukephalos references the legendary war horse through a fragile silhouette, timeless and primeval; a sacrificed witness of the wars, tragedies and natural catastrophes that have occurred over the course of many civilisations. Jungwirth was particularly struck by ‘the animals that perished miserably in the bushfires of Australia. There is something apocalyptic about that. First the animals burn, then the people.’


Bukephalos, 2021
Oil on paper on canvas
248 x 264 cm (97.64 x 103.94 in)

 

In her large-scale work Tutanchamun (Triptychon), fragile and skeletal animals appear to be standing at a halt, as though facing an uncertain destiny; suspended in limbo and on their way into other worlds. This monumental triptych is named after the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun, whose mummy and famous death mask have become symbols of the ancient rituals associated with passage between life and death. 


Tutanchamun (Triptychon), 2021
Oil on paper on canvas
238 x 900 cm (93.7 x 354.33 in)

Atmospheric image
["https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_000.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_001.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_002.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_003.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_004.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_005.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_006.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_007.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_008.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_009.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_010.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_011.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_012.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_013.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_014.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_015.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_016.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_017.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_018.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_019.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_020.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_021.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_022.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_023.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_024.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_025.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_026.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_027.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_028.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_029.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_030.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_031.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_032.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_033.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_034.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_035.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_036.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_037.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_038.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_039.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_040.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_041.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_042.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_043.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_044.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_045.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_046.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_047.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_048.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_049.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_050.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_051.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_052.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_053.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_054.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_055.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_056.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_057.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_058.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_059.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_060.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_061.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_062.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_063.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_064.jpg", "https://artlogic-res.cloudinary.com/w_1920,h_1080,c_fill,f_auto,fl_lossy,q_auto:good/ws-ropac/usr/feature_panels/images/1114/mj-scroll_065.jpg"]
Loading animation
Though Jungwirth has stated in the past that she paints in such a way that the subjects of her work...
Though Jungwirth has stated in the past that she paints in such a way that the subjects of her work...

Though Jungwirth has stated in the past that she paints in such a way that the subjects of her work cannot be identified, some of her new paintings are more openly figurative. Alluding to the shapes of a dog, a horse, a toad or an ape, the reduced pictorial language of these works recalls the preverbal world and the first lines drawn in cave paintings, acknowledging ties with the origins of art.

 

Der Hund, 2020
Oil on paper on canvas
189 x 249 cm (74.4 x 98 in)

Die Kröte, 2021
Oil on cardboard (corrugated board)
134 x 119.5 cm (52.76 x 47.05 in)

 

‘The artist’s interest in the ancient world corresponds with her career-spanning desire to take art back to direct experience, or what she calls, in a video on the gallery website, ‘the energy of painting’.’

— Review by Aaron Peck in Frieze, September 2021

‘When you are isolated you make a jigsaw puzzle out of your memories, some things are more animated and lively, they hang together like a mycelium. This context in which I had to live has had an effect on my life. My work was reduced to the gesture, the skeletal. Condensation.’

— Martha Jungwirth 

Jungwirth painted this series of works after discovering Alice Oswald’s 2011 book Memorial: An Excavation of the Iliad, in which...
Jungwirth painted this series of works after discovering Alice Oswald’s 2011 book Memorial: An Excavation of the Iliad, in which...
Jungwirth painted this series of works after discovering Alice Oswald’s 2011 book Memorial: An Excavation of the Iliad, in which...

Jungwirth painted this series of works after discovering Alice Oswald’s 2011 book Memorial: An Excavation of the Iliad, in which the author revisits the epic from the point of view of the ‘minor war dead’, offering biographies and descriptions of heroic deaths for those who are only briefly mentioned by Homer. She brings these characters to a kind of half-life on paper as angular, skeletal figures made tangible by the vivid flesh tones of the bodies and the scratch marks left by the artist’s own nails in the paint.


Detail of Memorial I (Triptychon), 2021
Oil on paper on canvas
238 x 563 cm (93.7 x 221.65 in)

‘Martha Jungwirth turns the pictorial object inside-out into expressive, sensual-titillating compositions giving rise to multiple readings.’

— Antonia Hoerschelmann, curator, Albertina, Vienna, 2017

 

Metope, 2021
Oil on cardboard
36.8 x 51.4 cm (14.49 x 20.24 in)

Metope XI, 2021
Oil on cardboard
23.5 x 35 cm (9.25 x 13.78 in)

Metope II, 2021
Oil on cardboard
31.5 x 40.5 cm (12.4 x 15.94 in)

The Metopen series is composed of smaller works and references the decorative friezes and spaces in between the supporting features...
The Metopen series is composed of smaller works and references the decorative friezes and spaces in between the supporting features...
The Metopen series is composed of smaller works and references the decorative friezes and spaces in between the supporting features...
The Metopen series is composed of smaller works and references the decorative friezes and spaces in between the supporting features...

The Metopen series is composed of smaller works and references the decorative friezes and spaces in between the supporting features of Greek temples. At once more abstract than the larger works in the exhibition, and more viscerally material, they seem to embody the missing visual links that join the imaginary structures emerging from Jungwirth’s fluid painterly process, where the artist is constantly seeking a transition from a material to a transcendent world.

Metope IV, 2021
Oil on cardboard
35.5 x 30 cm (13.98 x 11.81 in)

Metope XII, 2021
Oil on cardboard
22.5 x 27.5 cm (8.86 x 10.83 in)

Metope VI, 2021
Oil on cardboard
39.5 x 52 cm (15.55 x 20.47 in)

Metope XIII, 2021
Oil on cardboard
31 x 35.5 cm (12.2 x 13.98 in)

‘a blotch is a blotch is a blotch, a smart or stupid one, nothing else.’ — Martha Jungwirth, 1988 Metope...

a blotch is a blotch is a blotch, a smart or stupid one,
nothing else.’
— Martha Jungwirth, 1988

 

Metope VII, 2021
Oil on cardboard
39 x 52 cm (15.35 x 20.47 in)

Over the last few decades, the work of Austrian artist Martha Jungwirth, who was once described as a missing link...

Over the last few decades, the work of Austrian artist Martha Jungwirth, who was once described as a missing link between American abstract expressionism and European informal painting, has become more abstract, expressive and colourful. Pursuing her own, distinctive path, she forged a singular approach to abstraction grounded in the body and her closely observed perceptions of the world around her. Her work is revered by different generations of artists and is now exhibited and housed in the collections of significant institutions such as the Albertina Museum, Vienna, the Centre Pompidou, Paris, the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and the Ashmolean in Oxford.

 

Learn more about the artist


. (This link opens in a new tab).

    Atmospheric image Atmospheric image
    Atmospheric image Atmospheric image
    Atmospheric image Atmospheric image