Work and life

*August 12, 1947

Johann Garber’s depictions of a paradisiacal world can be found in numerous ink drawings that overflow with details. The entire spaces depicted in his pictures are fi lled with a consistently dense array of fi gures, objects, ornaments, and writing. Above all, it is nature that spreads out before us in his works, in depictions of people, fl ora, and fauna. Garber usually works on multiple drawings and objects at the same time. Characteristic pictorial elements include, among other things, the sheets’ richly varied drawn frames as well as depictions of the sibling unity of sun and moon. The means that Garber uses to create art extend beyond the areas of drawing and writing: He has devoted attention to photography, painting, the decoration and creation of objects, and the artistic transformation of his surroundings. In a manner that can certainly be compared with August Walla, Garber appropriates objects and his surroundings by painting them – or, to use a less ambiguous term, “painting on” them. This is also how the artist arrived at the exclusive situation in which he works: his own workshop in the cellar of the House of´Artists, where Garber tinkers, hammers, and paints at all hours of the day and night on works including his Krickerl animal trophies and Bird Tables.


Born in Wiener Neustadt on August 12, 1947, Johann Garber initially grew up with his grandmother and then later in orphanages. After attending school, he began an apprenticeship as a painter and house painter, but he quit before completing it, having decided to work for a construction company. Garber’s first stay at the “Lower Austrian State Mental Health and Care Facility at Gugging” was in 1966, following the completion of his nine-month compulsory military service in the pioneer corps. In 1968, at the age of 21, he moved to the facility permanently and has remained there except for one year. In 1981 Garber was part of the group of artistically talented patients who moved into what is now the House of Artists on the basis of Leo Navratil’s initiative. The first drawings made by Garber are documented from 1977 onward.
His first sheets were created using crayons, gouache, and colored pencils, and they are colorful depictions of people, animals, and machines. There is almost no hint of the complex networks of text and image that would follow later. He created his fi rst pen-and-ink drawings. in 1979. In the early eighties, Garber began to create pictures based on reproductions of artworks (including prints by Albrecht Dürer). By turning his attention to the visual worlds of others, Garber succeeded in developing his own visual worlds.

My Visit

0 Entries Entry

Suggested visit time:

Send List