Nick Oberthaler

    July 28, 2016 - September 24, 2016
    Waagplatz 1a 5020 Salzburg

    Opening: Thursday, July 28 at 6.30pm

    The Traklhaus, the XVIth century built house where the famous Austrian Poet Georg Trakl (1887-1914) was born, invites Austrian artist Nick Oberthaler for an exhibition.

    He is interested in the necessities of painting. – Carl Andre on Frank Stella

    Necessity and Eventuality – not his slogan or his artistic motto, but certainly of similar significance for Nick Oberthaler. Someone like him, working today in the field of abstract painting, is constantly confronted in the background with an old and powerful system of necessities and conventions surrounding the painted picture. This keeps open the question of what is necessary if one is to carry on realising possibilities for relevance. For many, this question would itself be irrelevant, as a relict of avant-garde thinking, but for Oberthaler, who has made a close study of the development of painting in recent decades and beyond, the historical dimension plays a definite role, since it is a matter of fundamental aspects of painting: the artist's own application of one colour beside a different colour on a material in a restricted form on a wall in a room before a viewer, and subsequently of what happens or what is signified when individual or all sizes are varied or deactivated. Then he slips into the narrow straits of art-historical referentiality. Or is this a deliberate step into confrontation? Actually, the entire programme comes to mind: the modernist reflection on (image-)seeing, the ironic refraction of this self-exaggerating reflection through postmodernism and postminimalism, the picture's opening up to its spatial context, painting as object and display, Olivier Mosset, Tom Burr, Heimo Zobernig, Marthe Wéry, and so on. Such a wealth of influences increases the risk of comparison, and failure becomes a real and distinct possibility which must be taken into account. The self-doubt of an abstract painter at the beginning of the 21st century, whose earlier works, relating mainly to sub-cultures, are often surrounded by a strangely romantic melancholy, are then only consistent, though they by no means constitute an entire programme. Nevertheless, their presence or their (marginal) thematisation gives Oberthaler's minimalism a decisive psychological turn, which in places seems to lighten once more into self-irony. Take for instance the four oblique parallel lines lying within an invisibly drawn grid and let loose upon four lines going in the opposite direction; but because of their staggered position and divergent colours they absolutely refuse to overlay these, instead, as a significant "X" at their point of intersection, forming a rectangular  composition, as though there were no escape from the grid. This is slapstick and despair, lightness and aporia. Even the mirrors frequently used as picture equivalents or supports, with the aim of spatial expansion, attacking the dogma of the two-dimensional picture, then become simple objects that merely return a dull reflection to the view. Similarly the deconstruction of a mirror-screen, originally planned in three parts, which in an earlier exhibition[i] divided the room with impressive elegance, and now in its separate parts has lost something of its dignity, but seems more flexible, unpredictable and "mercurial". There is a strong signal here – showing, as in the new works consisting of waste material, the quintessence of the exhibition: more is possible; abstraction is not yet finished. In the event...


    Maximilian Geymüller

    [i] RIDEAUX/blinds, Institut d'Art Contemporain/FRAC Rhône-Alpes, Villeurbanne/Lyon, 6 February – 3 May 2015


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  • Noir Dedans
    February 26, 2016 - May 22, 2016
    Le Manoir de la Ville de Martigny
    Martigny, Switzerland

    Curated by Thomas Julier, Martin Jaeggi and Anne Jean-Richard Largey
, this group exhibition will feature installations, videos, photographs, sculptures and paintings especially created for the space.


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    February 6, 2015 - May 3, 2015
    Institut d´Art Contemporain Villeurbanne/Rhône-Alpes

    From 6 February until 3 May 2015 Nick Oberthaler will participate in the group exhibition "RIDEAUX/BLINDS" at the Institut d´Art Contemporain Villeurbanne/Rhône-Alpes. The show questions the legacy of modernism, of abstraction and of the monochrome, ownership of what remains, the film of images in an awareness of the means of mechanical reproduction; painting with photography, film and screens.

    "RIDEAUX/BLINDS" organizes the space into a path wherein the works of art become structural links. They limit and create the space, they dialogue with the walls, and the holes in the walls. Perhaps the idea is to turn the space inside out, like a glove, and enter through the back of the painting, from behind the fence, from the other side of the canvas." (Marie de Brugerolle, art historian and exhibition curator).

    For more information about the exhibition please click here

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  • Book Launch
    December 4, 2014 - December 4, 2014

    On 4 December 2014, the accompanying publication of Nick Oberthaler´s exhibition "Calculated Reserve" at the Hendrik Christian Andersen Museum in Rome will be launched featuring a text by curator Pier Paolo Pancotto.

    The exhibition, presenting works that analyze the fundamental values ​​of creative language: space, light, color, has just been prolonged until 30 November 2014.

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  • The blackbird must be flying.
    October 12, 2014 - January 4, 2015
    Centre D'Art Bastille, Grenoble, France

    Thirteen stanzas, many stories and situations all connected by the symbol of the blackbird. However, it is not this symbol that inspired Nick Oberthaler and Thomas Juliers for their joint exhibition. What interested them in this poem by Wallace Stevens, is the way the author superimposed concentric circles, one could say layering his narrative, connecting the nature mentioned in the beginning of human society before returning to its starting point, a rare snowy environment mentioned in the first stanza. If each part of the poem has its own writing rule, all point each time in the direction of the blackbird as a focal element of these stories. Thus each of the thirteen ways of looking at the blackbird seems like a new realization of the poetic imagination of the author.

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  • Calculated Reserve
    September 20, 2014 - November 30, 2014
    Hendrik Christian Andersen Museum, Rome

    From 20 september to 16 november the Hendrik Christian Andersen Museum, Rome, presents the exhibition "Calculated Reserve" dedicated to the Austrian artist Nick Oberthaler. Curated by Pier Paolo Pancotto and spread over two floors, the show presents works analyzing the fundamental values ​​of creative language: space, light, color. By adopting different materials, such as canvas, paper, paint, ink or photocopy and techniques Nick Oberthaler puts them in relation to each other giving rise to non-figurative compositions.

    For more information about the exhibition please visit

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  • Anton-Faistauer-Award 2014
    March 14, 2014 - April 5, 2014
    Landesgalerie im Tracklhaus, Salzburg, Austria

    Nick Oberthaler won the 15th prize of Anton Faistauer 2014 Land Salzburg award, which praises artists aged below 40.

    The jury was composed of Erwin Bohatsch, painter and professor at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, Tobias Pils, who won the Faistauer award in 2011, and Florian Steininger from the Bank Austria Kunstforum in Vienna. At their first meeting in January 2014, the judges selected 10 candidates from 66 artists.

    The successful candidates exhibited their works at the Museum of Traklhaus.


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  • Nick Oberthaler
    March 1, 2014 - June 1, 2014
    Amsterdam, Holland

    The eighteenth-century manor house Frankendael is like a time capsule where forgotten stories and secret histories await their final form, to be determined through the encounter with the visiotr. Nick Oberthaler and Dieuwke Spaans create new works in which times seems to have dissolved, inside and outside merge effortlessly. Just like the old manor, however, the works never reveal all their secrets.

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  • vers une hypothèse
    September 14, 2013 - February 23, 2014
    Fort du Bruissin
    Francheville (Grand Lyon), France

    In this 19th century fort - satellite venue of the 12th Lyon Biennale - the curator Andrea Rodriguez Novoa has invited artists to realize an in situ work or performance.

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  • Eventuality of an Attempt
    February 11, 2012 - March 25, 2012
    Ghent, Belgium

    The attempt in question is one Oberthaler will undertake to attain a condensed atmospheric experience through the use of mixed techniques on paper, sculpture and the integration of a spatial intervention. The title of the ghent's KIOSK exhibition also stresses the precariousness of this attempt and the idea that the exhibition’s form will never be fully realized or ‘complete’.

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