Arnulf Rainer is widely regarded as one of the most influential Austrian painters working today and is a controversial and divisive figure in the art world. He is well known for his anti-establishment sentiments and intensely unconventional methods. In his career spanning half a century, the almost entirely self-taught Rainer has merged an interest in fantastic Surrealism with the spontaneity of Art Informel. In the 1950s he began working toward a destruction of forms. This resulted in his most notable works, known as ‘overpaintings’ in which Rainer reworks – either partially or in full – paintings and photographs by other artists. This is done with a heavy impasto, thereby transforming existing works of art into his own with thick, gestural marks. On the topic of his overpaintings Rainer said: “the principles of my works—are the extinction of expression, permanent covering and contemplative tranquillity.” It is a technique to which Rainer constantly returns. Today Arnulf Rainer continues to commit himself to searching for new approaches to painting and constant development of painterly strategies.
Austrian, b. 1929, Baden bei Wien, Austria. Based in Vienna.