Karl Prantl is an exceptional figure of Austrian and European sculpture of the second half of the 20th Century. His unconventional concept of sculpture, based on his deep relationship to nature, represented a departure from academic practice towards freedom in thinking. He attempted to overcome the limitations in thoughts and reality by gathering artists from around the world at the international sculpture symposia he organised at Sankt Margarethen from 1959. It provided great opportunities for the sculptors of the former East Bloc countries to travel abroad. Therefore this exhibition is not only a tribute to his work but also a tribute to his service to art, which transcends any barriers.
According to Karl Prantl, sculptures belong to nature and should stand where they were created. And thus the majority of his sculptures “live” in nature. He was literally obsessed by stone. Prantl worked mainly with travertine limestone, sandstone, granite, marble and labradorite. His artistic concept and method of working stone reveal the life of stone in its primeval essence, retaining its essence – the block-like mass. By working its surface, he achieved an extraordinary concentration of energy and magical radiation. The titles of many of his works – “meditation stones” – express the artist’s principal intention. This also corresponds with their primary, minimising form, chiefly of a cuboid, a prism or a sphere.
The focus of the exhibition at the Danubiana is the world premiere of the Stations of the Cross, a series of stones as a form of “paving” symbolising suffering. This extraordinary series displays a light colour scheme of Amazon stone and plastic concave surfaces, and is complemented by interior “meditation stones” and fine linear drawings. The painters Uta Peyrer and her daughter Katarina Prantl undertook an initiative to invite Prantl’s closest friends V. Boštík, T. Huszár, M. Chlupáč, A. Klimo, T. Klimová, E. Kmentová, V. Kraicová, A. Rudavský, J. Seifert, B. Sartori, Z. Sekal, A. Šimotová, M. Uher, R. Uher and O. Zoubek to the exhibition.
Solo exhibitions (selection):
1978 Staempfli Gallery, New York
1981 Kunstverein, Frankfurt
1982 Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Wien
1983 Kunsthalle, Hamburg
1985 Galleria UXA, Novara
1986 Biennale di Venezia, Venezia
1991 Kunsthalle, Nürnberg
Galerie Stadtpark, Graz
1994 Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK
1995 Schlosspark Ambras, Innsbruck
1996 Academia Galerie, Salzburg
2001 Tschechisches Museum, Prag
2002 Städtische Galerie, Bratislava
2004 Museum Morandi, Bologna
2007 Institut für aktuelle Kunst, Saarlouis
2008 Landesmuseum. Mainz
2011 Galerie umění, Karlovy Vary (mit Uta Peyrer)
2012 Galerie Ulysses, Wien
2013 Danubiana Meulensteen Art Museum, Bratislava