Florian Pumhösl’s work is constituted by a constellation of historical references encoded within a visual language that appears purely formal. The apparent abstraction of his paintings, films, and installations is anchored by specific archival sources: 17th-century kimono designs, avant-garde typography, WWI military uniform patterns, cartography, Latin American textiles, and early dance notations. Through the selection, reduction, rearrangement, and reproduction of his source materials—unsystematic and subjective modes of transcription—the artist arrives at a vocabulary that is at once abstract and semiotically motivated.

 

Through attention to the social, political, and geographic genealogy of given forms, his works reveal that the modernist fantasy of complete self-referentiality was always already haunted by irreducible specificity and cultural instability. “I am calling into question to what extent it is possible to act within a space defined by the artist himself – a space that emerges from the hierarchy between my own authorship and its research sources, between historical references or concrete borrowings and what I can depict,” Pumhösl states. “My medium is the physical and historical space that I create using painting, architecture, film or photography.”

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Florian Pumhösl (b. 1971, Vienna) lives and works in Vienna. Solo exhibitions of his work have been staged at Kunsthaus Bregenz (2012); Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen (Düsseldorf, 2010); Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean (Luxembourg, 2009), Stedelijk Museum (Amsterdam, 2008); Neue Kunsthalle St. Gallen (2005); Centre d’édition contemporaine (Geneva, 2004); Kölnischer Kunstverein (Cologne, 2003); Secession (Vienna, 2000); and Salzburger Kunstverein (1998), among others. His work was featured in Documenta 12, Kassel (2007), São Paulo Biennial (2006) and the 50th Venice Biennale (2003). Recently, Pumhösl’s work appeared in group exhibitions at the V-A-C Foundation (Venice), Pinault Collection (Venice), Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Haus Der Kunst (Munich), City Gallery Prague, Museum Abteiberg (Mönchengladbach), Generali Foundation (Vienna), MACBA (Barcelona), Raven Row (London), Künstlerhaus Vienna, and Museum of Modern Art (Warsaw). He has had solo exhibitions at Miguel Abreu Gallery, Galerie Buchholz, Berlin and Cologne, Lisson Gallery, London, and Galerie Meyer Kainer, Vienna, and his work is in the permanent collections of Tate Modern (London),MAK –  Museum of Applied Arts (Vienna), Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), MUMOK (Vienna), Generali Foundation (Vienna), Kunsthaus Bregenz, Pinault Collection, V–A–C Foundation (Moscow), BSI Collection (Lugano), and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Madrid), among others. Several monographs are dedicated to Pumhösl’s work: Florian Pumhösl: Works in Exhibitions 1993-2012 (Kunsthaus Bregenz, 2012), Florian Pumhösl: 678 (Buchhandlung Walther König, 2012), and Florian Pumhösl (Lisson Gallery/Galerie Buchholz, 2008).

 

 A two-person exhibition with Vincent Fecteau, I hear the ancient music of words and words, yes, that’s it., was on view at the MAK Center Schindler House, West Hollywood in 2021–22, accompanied by a publication of the same title. An iteration of the exhibition traveled to Galerie Buccholz, Berlin in late 2022, opening in tandem with his solo exhibition, Florian Pumhösl, also at Galerie Buccholz.

Publications

No One's Voice
Florian Pumhösl
Rhombus Press, 2016
Spatial Sequence: Works in Exhibition 1993–2012
Florian Pumhösl
Walther Konig, 2012