Wolfgang Burtscher has been known for his steel furniture and steel sculptures for over 20 years. The extravagant furniture is heavy and yet light in its ingenious formal simplicity. The cold, smooth surfaces still seem to exude the sparks of the work processes invested. His technoid sculptures bow to assume an organic aura. Born in 1961, this Austrian artist loves to surprise. He likes to play; to juggle with aspects and allows contradictions to meet in hefty collisions. However, the results are light and easy; easily recognisable and easily comprehensible – like inspiration itself.
In this way he forces his favourite element, metal, to appear in some way transparent. Ultimately the commotion of the creative process, of welding, lifting and grinding, is replaced by the sight of a precise artistic statement – not actually in need of conventional literary description. The artist grants an exception while introducing the artistic context of his ‘Trip Marks’ project.
The dynamics of mobility and immobility, rotation and rest, the stationary and mobile workshop - are central sources of momentum for Wolfgang Burtscher’s work, as he enjoys staying on the move and relativising his point of perspective. Fairly early on in his twenty years of artistic output, and drawing inspiration from increasingly intensive bicycle tours, his extravagant furniture has made a transition away from the Latin mobilis for ‘portable’ and from items of permanent residence – generally referred to as seating – to a means of nomadification (see Burtscher’s 2009 project ‘Disposable Furniture). His works of art are no longer based on sketches in the sedentary environs of a studio; instead they become products of activity such as the on-the-road ‘ErFAHRungen’ project and are developed within performances of mobile metalworking conducted out in the streets. (Project ErFAHRungen: Burtscher, 2001)
It wouldn’t be the constantly reductionist material translation of Burtscher if one of his works, seen in the rear mirror of that moment, didn’t also provide the impetus for the precision of the momentum itself. Until February 2013 mobility and its traces will themselves form the thematic focus of his activities. In order to be able to expand greatly upon the limits of his travelling and stationary studios he swapped his means of notation and expression.
A steel bicycle he designed himself became the means of expression on his extreme one year bicycle tour from Austria through a total of 19 countries to Thailand. During the tour he produced 365 sequentially numbered 21 x 21 centimetre paper sheets as a form of mobility logbook; of experiential authenticity: Trip Marks!
The sporting achievement of conquering a total climb of 200,000 metres in altitude on a journey of 20,000 kilometres provides the necessary background of endeavour for the mobile workshop. There has also been scientific accompaniment to this project (see science). ‘Trip Marks’ is a different kind of travelogue, evidence of genuine experiences and, above all, a record of artistic output in the shape of individual tracks and traces – for an absolutely unique project in such a constellation.
Trip Marks has been put together in such a way as to be comprehensible beyond all borders. Exhibitions are being prepared in Austria and at other international venues.