In one of the last Florian Pumhösl’s movie, Untitled (Mixed Exhibits), images of a deserted city slowly unfold in a strangely timeless mood of expectation, threat and ending. The viewer is taken, by a slide show succession of dissolving images, from the outside walls of a huge fortress to a wild courtyard; in the back a motionless isolated Cyclops sits in semi-obscurity. Led back out to the open, the viewer then finds himself at ground level, in the mist of stone and concrete blocks. He gets transported abruptly from the artificially stone paved winter garden to the outside barren stone yard. Shown in a long barely moving frame, authentic outside stone blocks seem to acquire a sort of mineral density. Their radically motionless material aspect alludes back to the Cyclops, and encloses the viewer into a timeless, frozen like surreal space.
The Cyclops’s single eye, moving within its monstrous cavity, stares at us like a “camera eye” and projects us into a darkened empty place. This film then stands as part of an exhibition where walls have been covered with stretched out black canvases and the architecture entirely designed by the artist. Various elements, such as a black and white photograph of a Henry Moore sculpture, a hawk’s mummy lying behind a glass window and a series of almost monotonic black or white photogram inspired by Moholy-Nagy’s “collages”, contrive to create a space where every element relates to one another through Florian Pumhösl’s formal vocabulary, using his own personal aesthetic references, as well as historical and scientific quotations.
His investigations have led him through the 20’s, the 50’s and the 60’s. Periods, which have each time, considered the artistic work in its totality and from which he gets inspiration for his own showings. His more specific interest in abstract and experimental films- of both artistic and scientific nature- and particularly in a rather minimalist and concrete aspect of modernism have enabled him to develop a strong personal sense of abstraction.
At the Centre d’édition contemporaine, Florian Pumhösl will be exhibiting a body of work called Etudes abstraites, including a new edition of five black and white helio-engravings, and a recent film Tableau-horloge, env. 1830, Charles 1er avant son exécution, U.I. No.2553 (film 16 mm/DVD, 2 min. 2004). These two new productions are presented in the form of an installation exclusively put together for this show. The installation starts with an anonymous painting from the 19th century, part of the Vienna museum of miniature watch making’s private collection. This first “sculpture cinetique” can be considered as one of the mechanical era’s forerunners. This interpretation correlates the artist’s fascination for modern diagrams and 20th century abstract films, which he often uses as referential supports in his conceptual researches for new forms.