The exhibition of collected works by Markus Prachensky is dedicated to the artist’s 80th birthday. He is one of the leading figures in Austrian art from the second half of the 20th century. Together with Wolfgang Hollegha, Josef Mikl and Arnulf Rainer, he was the initiator of the avant-garde movement associated with the legendary Galerie St. Stephan, founded in 1954, and an important representative of Austrian Art Informel and Tachisme. Prachensky perceived painting as an active process and open formal system. He has developed his abstract expressionist idiom with an exceptional inner unity since 1956. In 1959 he captured much attention with his “Peinture Liquide” when he poured hundreds of litres of red paint directly onto the wall of a theatre. His art developed towards monochromy: red, his key colour, on a black, white or grey ground. The painterly gesture, also inspired by eastern calligraphy, creates a seemingly organised system of verticals and horizontals. He largely drew inspiration from the architectural forms and landscape while travelling widely in Italy, Egypt, California, Mexico, Bali and other countries. The artist’s abstract series of paintings were named after the places he visited (Etruria Meridionale, Bali Trumpet, Luxor Swing). However, he was not concerned with visual memory but rather with the association between the picture and the location. His work has become an integral part of the international language of Art Informel.
21 March 1932 Innsbruck – 15 July 2011 Vienna
From 1952 to 1956 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, and worked there as professor from 1983 to 2000. In 1954 he founded together with W. Hollegha, J. Mikl and A. Rainer the Galerie St. Stephan Group. Between 1967 and 1970 he lived in the United States. In 1992 he received the Ehrenmedaile in Gold der Bundeshaupstadt Wien. In 2007, the President awarded him the Grosse Goldene Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um die Republik Österreich. Apart from numerous solo exhibitions, he participated in many exhibitions of 20th century Austrian and European art.