|Name Norbert Pumpel|
Norbert Pümpel (born 1956 in Innsbruck, Austria) is a visual artist who lives and works in Götzis and Hohenems/Austria.
Norbert Pümpel's artistic career began with concept art at the end of the 1970s. He decided not to attend an academy of art and instead studied mathematics, physics and philosophy (without graduating). As an autodidact he developed pictorial concepts at the interface with the sciences. "For decades, Pümpel has been addressing philosophical and scientific questions, which are given pictorial form in his conceptual-oriented art. His thinking is determined by problems of time and space, which have been an intensive subject of art since the early 20th century, the materiality of manifestations, questions of quantum physics and the theory of probability." (Christoph Bertsch, 2007) His works have included entropic drawings (starting in 1976), laser projects (1980) and work on the theory of black holes (1981) and Schrödinger's cat paradox (2005/2008).
Reality has evaporated
“Since the 1970s he has developed an art that operates at the interface of natural science, philosophy and theology, circling – on continually spiraling paths of thought – the old question of the possibility and the limits of human knowledge and, by extension, orbiting the potential of the image and its powers compared with reality." (Harald Kimpel, 2011) What are at first questions of physics give way more and more to problems of philosophy and the theory of knowledge. It is evident that the artist, as a part of the universe, reflects on it and on himself: “Part of Universe Reflecting Part of Universe” (2004), a series of small diptychs first shown in the “Kraftwerk Peripher” exhibition organized by Christoph Bertsch in the Imst/Au power station. Some of the works now form part of the Liaunig Collection. Peace policy is a frequent topic in Norbert Pümpel’s work, starting with the monumental drawing “Probability Statement on a Guernica in the Late 20th Century” (1982). “In 1982, when N. Pümpel developed an infinite panorama of entropy under the title ‘Probability Statement on a Guernica in the Late 20th Century’, he simultaneously defined the beginning and endpoint for his future art. So completely had the artist eliminated the visible with his radical statement about the potential consequences of theory become practice, so fundamentally destroyed all form in shaping shapelessness, that – having depicted the irreversible state of chaos – there remained nothing capable of depiction. The very framework of matter had shattered and been dissolved once and for all in universal disorder. At an early point in his biography, therefore, the artist had adopted an extreme position with his views of nothingness, with an uncompromising message that could not but call into question any further form of constructive work.” (Harald Kimpel, 1990) The nuclear threat is also a recurrent subject with Pümpel the physicist. In 1989 he created the first Scientific Disaster Series (1990), his first ash works on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Between 2009 and 2011, too, Pümpel created large-format paper works under the title “Nuclear Solstice” on the subject of the nuclear tests conducted in the 1940s and 50s. Five large works from this group are now in the Liaunig Collection. In his latest series of works, entitled “Condensates”, Pümpel returns to the working methods of the natural sciences, employing laboratory-style test series to develop self-organizing image systems. “The works describe states of probability, blurring all spatial structures in new aggregate states and creating a liquid, fleeting, wave-dynamic image of the world.” (Harald Kimpel, 2014) From 1992 to 2002 Member of the Cultural Council of the Tyrolean State Government. In 2008 he moved to Götzis/Vorarlberg/Austria. In 2010 he was awarded with the Gold Medal for Merit to the Republic of Austria. From 2010 to 2016 he was a member of the Executive Board of the Professional Association of visual artist in Vorarlberg. 2011 opened a new studio in Hohenems, Austria.
"Reality has evaporated ': Karl Popper's theorem on the impossibility of objective knowledge in the face of the observation elusive reality seems not inappropriate working basis for an artist who has made the presentation of the impossibility of objective representation of reality to the task. Although the question of the image, so the relationship between reality and the modalities of their reflection, artists have always been challenged – but no one has asked them so consistently and used for artistic responses as Norbert Pümpel. Since the 1970s, he has developed a work that is at the border between science, philosophy and theology in new thoughts spirals, the old question of the possibilities and limits of human knowledge, and – by extension – orbiting the possibilities of the image and its performance compared with the reality.
Starting in 2012, Norbert Pümpel used abstract space, a "play of apparent nothingness and matter" (Kurzemann), to develop works in which material is – quasi accidentally – condensed, deposited and accumulated. These more clearly structured pictorial universes are suggestive of atmosphere and landscapes with sometimes clear and sometimes diffuse horizons. What is uncertain is whether this world is liquid, gaseous or solid. It is the image of a world that defies classification or equation with a specific region.
And in general, the indeterminate and fortuitous form part of the working method of Norbert Pümpel, in whose studio the sheets of paper and canvases develop over weeks and months as in a test series in a laboratory. The artist seems to set in motion processes for organisation and decision-making. He uses oils, bitumen and various solutions on very thin Chinese rice paper and on canvas.
Norbert Pümpel's series of Fleeting Memorials are approximately square works on paper of different sizes measuring between about 30 x 33 cm and 46 x 43 cm. They comprise two sheets of Wenzhou paper and bear a ten-digit number and a date. The number refers to the number of human beings on earth at the time of completion of the work. The works are subject to visible change in the course of time. Thanks to the materials used, the paper and the colours darken in the first twenty, thirty years. The paper will start to become brittle until, after a hundred years or so, it will perhaps disintegrate. The processes cannot be calculated precisely as they depend on environmental factors relating to the air, humidity and light
Norbert Pümpel bases his latest series of works on thoughts on Bose-Einstein condensation: the unorthodox behavioural pattern displayed by matter in an ultra-cold state. At such temperatures, quantum effects can for the first time be observed on a macroscopic scale and described as a wave function. A discontinuous view of the world is replaced by a continuum of superfluid material in the form of an oscillation with no defined localisation. The artist's works describe states of probability in new aggregate states blurring all spatial structures and offering a liquid, fleeting, wave-dynamic image. (Harald Kimpel, Kassel 2013, translated by Chris Marsh)
Since 1978 exhibitions in Europe, USA and Japan: