The Artists of Gugging

25 October - 8 December 2012
Press release

Ricco/Maresca Gallery is pleased to present The Artists of Gugging.This exhibition focuses on the dynamic and emotionally innovative work currently being produced at the Gugging House of Artists outside of Vienna, Austria. Since 1981, Gugging Artists have gained an internationally renowned reputation due to the high quality of their drawings, paintings, photographs and writing. This aesthetically complex and dynamic body of work is drawn from ten of Gugging’s most impressive residents who, through emotional intricacy and technical precision, have carved a path becoming some of the most important representatives of contemporary Art Brut. Reductive forms are placed in sophisticated compositions creating an overwhelmingly affective oeuvre of art that marries talent, imagination, innocence, and ingenuity.


The history of the Gugging House of Artists began with psychiatrist, Leo Navratil, in 1954. After taking an educational interest in his patients’ work and administering diagnostic drawings tests, unexpected high-quality drawings began to be produced, subsequently, sparking a fervent interest in the art world. In 1970, the Gugging Artists had their first exhibition in the Viennese Galerie nächst St. Stephan. By 1981, all artistically talented patients were housed under one roof – the Centre for Art-Psychotherapy. Exhibitions of their work began to be mounted all over Europe. Eventually, the Centre’s name was changed to House of Artists. Psychological analysis of their art no longer took center stage, thus, emphasizing individual talent as opposed to mental illness. Navarti’s successor, Johann Feilacher sought to promote the artists’ work on the international art market, enhance their reputations, and allow them the chance to revel in the opportunity to communicate beyond Gugging’s walls. To date, the drawings, paintings and objects by Gugging Artists have been part of more than 250 exhibitions in galleries and museums worldwide.


The current exhibition includes some of the most celebrated works by residents Johann Hauser, Franz Kamlander, Johann Korec, Franz Kernbeis, Henireich Reisenbauer, Arnold Schmidt, Günther Schützenhöfer, Oswald Tschirtner, August Walla, and Karl Vondal, all of which epitomize the raw talent and artistic integrity proliferated at Gugging.


The New Yorker magazine review

Installation Views