Fritz Panzer


The works of Fritz Panzer refer to everyday life, from which he takes quotidian objects and depicts them in his drawings, paintings or sculptures. Ranging from a kitchen or a car to lamps, shoeboxes or milk cartons, Panzer examines these objects from his own private universe in order to fathom their formal structure. The outlines of the objects are reduced to the essentials and, in recent years, Panzer has introduced varying degrees of abstraction into his work, only alluding certain forms.

For over a decade, the wire sculptures – which are reminiscent of Environments from the 1960s – have become symbolic of Panzer’s work, mirroring the artist’s environment with their spatial form. Like sketches, the shapes and dimensions of each object are formed with black wire, outlining the exact geometrical edges and corners, curves and arches. The loose ends of the excess wire imbue the sculptures with a certain buoyancy, like objects that have overcome solemn proportionalities.

While Panzer’s kitchen environment from 2000 uses wire structures to depict the exact details of all geometrical shapes, his latest sculpture of a trailer only shows blurry details of the originally three-dimensional structures of the real object. The wire lines are looser compared to the previous sculptures, thus producing an increasingly abstract portrayal of space. From an art history perspective, there are parallels with the works of Karel Malich, who started to introduce abstract drawings into the three-dimensionality of space with his wire sculptures in the 1960s, but was influenced by the utopian tendencies and style of that period. In Panzer’s work, too, drawings and/or paintings are merely a point of departure for his artistic intervention, before they are turned into spatial constructions.

The current exhibition at the Krobath Gallery features sculptures, drawings and paintings, while it is primarily the latter that evokes a total degree of abstraction of the depicted objects. The distinguishing point between Panzer’s drawings and his paintings is the fact that colour is frequently a prominent feature of his paintings, while he keeps his pencil drawings purely abstract and in black and white. The extensive use of colour in the paintings creates geometrically abstract layers of colour, eclipsing the reality of the depicted objects and makes the concrete form of the objects only discernible as ephemeral structures. Unlike the paintings, the linearity of the pencil drawings are a direct reference to the wire sculptures, since their characteristic style corresponds to the wire lines and the minimal use of black lines on a white surface adds a spatial element to the drawings.

The motifs presented in the exhibition vary according to the media used. In addition to the deconstructed trailer, there is another sculpture of a construction site lamp. Its outlines are more defined and its protruding wires transform it into a robot-like figure. As a spatial environment, the drawings, paintings and sculptures come together to form a whole, which addresses three-dimensional structures and the definition of space on various levels of abstraction using different media.

Walter Seidl
(English translation: Mandana Taban)