Wolfgang Wirth

Vienna, 1966


In his exhibition Territory the Austrian artist Wolfgang Wirth shows a series of works reflecting on the present situation of Syria and the Near East.

The attempt to follow and understand the developments in Syria is constantly causing a feeling of mere confusion. Too many forces and interests seem to be involved in order to be able to get a clear image of what is going on; of what reality is.

The basis for Wirth´s series of works is a map by Auguste-Henri Dufour (1863) showing the state of the territory of the Near East in the middle of the 19th century with the present Syria in its centre and covering areas such as the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey, Cyprus, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, the north of Egypt, Iraq and parts of Iran. Since then this area has faced many developments and political changes that are in many ways responsible for its present situation.

Cartography is based on geometry; on lines that organize the territory – different from the lines though, that have been drawn throughout (colonial) history to create or redefine states. Territories have been cut into patches of political interests, ignoring given realities and causing long-lasting problems. Such territories carry uncountable inscriptions of reality. Maps try to show them, but always fail to comprehensively do so, not least as they leave out the faiths of people.

The civil war in Syria is inscribing countless new realities into its territory. New lines are drawn; front lines as well as those representing the movements of refugees, among many others. The Syrian people is divided, scattered and displaced.

The interior of the parliament building in Damascus, as home to the political representation of the Syrian people is excessively decorated with Islamic patterns. Some of them can be found throughout the Arab world, some of them are more local. Such a pattern appears behind the speaker’s desk in the parliament of Damascus. Several medial images show Assad in front of this wooden panelling. Its pattern distracts the attention away from the speaker, forcing the eye to get lost in its hypnotizing maze.

In Wirth´s series Territory patterns taken form the interior of the parliament in Damascus that are painted onto reproductions of the formerly described map. The individual works show up to five different patterns; some of them transparent, some of them fragmented or distorted and interwoven into each other. The territory represented in the map is carved up into many little patches. The different patters create a confusing and in the same time intriguing web of lines that makes it difficult for the eye to grasp the painted reality it perceives.



Austrian artist Wolfgang Wirth shows on Espacio Algeciras of Galeria Magda Bellotti his work Little Birds of Passage. After Los Angeles, Warsaw, Vienna and Insbruck; Madrid is the 5th city in which the artist shows his project of travelling pictures. The installation of these (site-specific) in the environment and the public areas of each exhibition space is documented with photograhs. About 30 small size pictures are exhibited together with his installation's photographs.

The pictures mostly represent large dark surfaces inhabited by birds or other actors painted in an almost realistic way although often only hinted. The pictures use the painted space as a possible space for a temporary location. From another point of view, his work is located within the pictorial system.

Wolfgang Wirth's work revolves around the matter of space, its external and internal borders and the possibility of trespassing them. Location and displacement, movement and pilgrimage, connetion, space crossing and migration, displacement and dissolution of boundaries are dealt with through painting, although painting itself as a material medium is at the same time and object of reflection.

Wolfgang Wirth's installations put his pictures in the context of the external reality, the real natural space. This way the approach the duality of paintings as physical objects as well as imaginary images. The photographs, mostly in black or white, become simulacra in wich the figures represented in his paintings, such as te the migratory birds, can change with apparent easiness from one reality to anothcer.


University of Music and Arts – Mozarteum Salzburg / Painting Department

University of Applied Arts – Vienna / MAS

Member of the artist´s collective Alpine Gothic

Lives and works in Vienna, Austria




Tiempos de Desamparo / ALCultura / Algeciras


STADT KUNST INNSBRUCK / Stadtsäle / Innsbruck/Austria


Linha de Sombra - Schattenfuge | Miguel Branco & Wolfgang Wirth / Galeria Belo-Galsterer / Lissabon/Portugal


Why Painting Now, curated by Gürsoy Dogtas / Charim Galerie / Vienna/Austria


Tiempos de Alegría / Galería Fúcares / Almagro


leaping stimuli / St. Claude Gallery / New Orleans/USA


LBOP #6 / Espacio AlCultura / Alegciras


Espacio Algeciras / Galería Magda Bellotti / Madrid 


das logikmodel / Andechsgalerie / Innsbruck/Austria


open space LBOP#4 / Stadturmgalerie / Innsbruck/Austria


LBOP#3 / Charim Galerie Showroom / Vienna/Austria


"Minimals“ / Stadtturmgalerie / Innsbruck/Austria


LBOP#2 – some place or other / lokal_30 / Warsaw/Poland


LITTLE BIRDS OF PASSAGE#1 / Alison Cortson Studio / Los Angeles/USA


Grenzziehungen? / Kunstpavillon / Innsbruck/Austria


Nominiertenausstellung Eisler Preis 2007 / Tresor – BA-CA / Vienna/Austria


acht positionen / RLB Kunstbrücke / Innsbruck/Austria


Wolfgang Wirth at lokal_30 / lokal_30 / Warsaw/Poland


Daniel Pitin, Wolfgang Wirth / Charim Galerie / Vienna/Austria


HangART-7 Edition 1 / Hangar-7 / Salzburg/Austria


come closer / Galerie 5020 / Salzburg/Austria


trans/archive, Schleifen des Bedeutens / Galerie 5020 / Salzburg/Austria


Artist in Residence / lokal_30 / Warschau/Poland