Untitled (fathers), 2017, mixed media on canvas, 202 × 267 cm, courtesy of the artist and of Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne (DE), photo: Jorit Aust
With Pils’s art, we are attending a filmic performance consisting entirely of segments of fade-out and fade-in, more blur than focus. The effect incapacitates our analytical powers while heightening and concentrating our emotional sensitivity. (Richard Shiff)
His pictures are paradoxes. Every artwork is at once process and product, gain and loss, impervious and transparent, planned and contingent. We see lines, graphs and various kinds of textures, combined with mechanical and organic forms. Figurative representation is suggested, though clear legibility is impeded. What remain are set pieces and fragments that evoke arbitrary metaphorical associations. Starting a picture with a specific motif, Pils remains open to anything that might happen during the ensuing process, so that ideally his own pictures finally seem foreign to him. He dispenses with chromatic colours, and heightens his concentration by working exclusively in grey tones. These form a central entity within his œuvre, generating characteristic, strange atmospheres. At the same time, the reduced palette indicates a conceptual approach similar to monochrome or purely gestural painting.
In conversation with Hildegund Amanshauser, Tobias Pils will talk about various aspects of his work – about the production process, as well as reception and his exhibition activity.
Tobias Pils, born in Linz (AT) in 1971, lives and works in Vienna. His pictures are paradoxes. Each work is at once process and product, gain and loss, impenetrable and transparent, planned and fortuitous. We see lines, grids, all manner of textures, combined with mechanical and organic forms. Objects are hinted at, but any clear interpretation is thwarted. What remain are only components and fragments which evoke for the viewer arbitrary metaphorical associations. Just as the interpretation goes its own way – depending on the viewer’s intuitive notions – Pils’s painting process is also an exploration of intuition. He dispenses with colours, heightening his concentration by working exclusively with shades of grey.
Solo exhibitions 2018 Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Kastro, Antiparos (GR). Josef Albers Museum Bottrop, (with Bernhard Fuchs, Justin Matherly), Bottrop (DE). 2017 Galerie Eva Presenhuber, New York, NY (US). Untitled (Room) & Marfa Paintings, Josef Albers Museum Bottrop, Bottrop. Untitled, Kunsthalle Krems, Krems (AT). Le Consortium, Dijon (FR). 2016Loge Nr 1, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne (DE). Chinati Foundation, John Chamberlain Building, Marfa, TX (US). Capitain Petzel, Berlin. 2015 Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich (CH). Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne. 2013Secession, Vienna Secession, Vienna.
Group exhibitions 2018Le Consortium Collection, Le Consortium, Dijon. Jay DeFeo – The Ripple Effect, Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO (US). Smooth Transitions, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich. Jay DeFeo – The Ripple Effect, Le Consortium, Dijon. Group Show, Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich. 2017Spiegelnde Fenster, 21er Haus, Vienna.
Publications Tobias Pils: Antiparos, DoPe Press, L.A./Paris 2018. Florian Steininger (Kunsthalle Krems) (ed.): Tobias Pils: Doves, Verlag für moderne Kunst, Vienna 2017. Josef Albers Museum Bottrop (ed.): Tobias Pils. Untitled [Room] & MARFA Paintings, exh. cat., Koenig Books, London 2017.