The art of the great draftsman, illustrator and author Alfred Kubin, appears more current today than ever before: for it was violence, wartime destruction, pandemics, natural disasters, the manipulation of the masses and other abysses of human existence that pervaded his highly narrational works. The oeuvre of this fantastical creator confronts us with pessimistic visions which delineate “the worst of all possible worlds”.
The catalogue is the first to attempt an exploration of Kubin’s oneiric worlds – which all too often enter nightmarish-somber spheres – in terms of their relation to the unconscious and the deep dimensions of the psyche. In this interpretation attempt, the psychoanalyst and psychiatrist August Ruhs will orient himself on works by Kubin selected by curator Hans-Peter Wipplinger with specific thematic emphases in mind. Kubin’s works are placed into a dialogue with works by artists of the 19th century and of Classical Modernism from which Kubin derived inspiration for his oeuvre. Kubin’s dystopian visualizations, which carry on from Symbolism and the fantastical art of the 19th century and may be considered precursors to French Surrealism, are composed of actual and imaginary reality: an ingenious synthesis, in which the uncanniness of these pessimistic realms is often seasoned with humor, irony and exaggeration.