150409: layr:wuestenhagen contemporary: Nick Oberthaler – The lost and found sky

layr:wuestenhagen contemporary: Nick Oberthaler – The lost and found sky Therein time and eternity In his current exhibition at Layr Wüstenhagen, Nick Oberthaler presents an entire range of references: Romanticism, Nationalism, the painter’s gesture, existential philosophy, rebellious youths – all of this is found in his paintings and sculptures. And it is never boring – everything remains, postmodern, in abeyance, never becomes too distinct. He quotes Soeren Kierkegaard: “The moment is the ambiguous (condition) in which time and eternity touch one another” – indeed, without confirming this dramatic assertion, he lets the character arrays hang in a black space, just like the planet, surrounded by circles. In one of them an athletic body stretches towards the sun, obviously a classicist sculpture; it is difficult to say if it is ideologically contaminated. In other works by Oberthaler, girls in traditional costumes and sturdy fellows leap around in front of abstract brush strokes - and even if the origin of these newspaper clippings is not apparent, it is obvious that they originated during the Nazi-era. The circle closes, if one considers the National Socialist’s weakness for everything romantic as well as their thoroughly calculated and tightly organized drills of youngsters. But Oberthaler is not trying to make a political statement – a cast of his forearm, which is heroically holding onto a staff, he makes fun of leftist revolutionary rhetoric as well as gestural painting. “Where rebellion and outrage degenerates to being staged, where youth becomes an empty gesture and deceives our own sensitivity like looking into a mirror”, is inscribed onto one of his paintings. But despite its density, Oberthaler’s (formally convincing) exhibition leaves enough breathing space. By Nina Schedlmayer layr:wuestenhagen contemporary 1010 Vienna, An der Hülben 2, until 30.04.09 www.layrwuestenhagen.com

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