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Hubert Wurth - Poetical Art for Disturbed Era

2017-02-15 - 2017-02-28

Hubert Wurth - Poetical Art for Disturbed Era


Since the Dada movement, at the latest, the technique of collage, fragments of images and scraps of texts from advertisements, papers, magazines or other print products has penetrated the plastic and visual arts. From basic elements, unknown “Augen-Blicke”, or ‘flash-like glances’ can be extracted. This process carries ordinary fragments from their original meaning towards a new visual significance. Visual arts then had to digest these powerful taboo-breaks, leaving behind a tattered traditional way of looking and perceiving images. A similar process emerged in literature, for instance in John Dos Passos 1925 novel ‘Manhattan Transfer’, in which reassembling and pioneering experiments offered unknown paths to react to a rapidly evolving and ever more complex modern world.

Collage became a well-established technique through which contemporary artists, time and again, started to mingle proper painting with new aspirations, allowing them to venture eventually into a new territory, and thus into the realm of conceptual art. The Luxembourg autodidact artist Hubert Wurth is doing exactly this: while in his earlier works he strictly adhered to abstract painting, sticking to a geometry bordering on lyrical abstraction, he moved into developing a new vocabulary, providing the necessary margin to vastly extend his reach beyond mere constructivism. He did not satisfy himself with the known, just the opposite: he was driven towards the unknown.

He found his own overtures into hitherto unfamiliar creation in  ‘art-space’, through series aligning networks and grids, joining the complexity of the structure to the depth in space. Drawing mere lines became, in those days, of determining importance. And from lines he went on to building blocks, including architectural objects in three dimensions in the 1990’s, in a constant coming and going, guiding this work progressively towards a conceptual vision. The focus on forms and space seems to lead to cages, or walls or just to geometrically organized containers for an unidentified content. In parallel the quality of the graphic language evolved: lines of all sizes, many very fine, others rather like ropes, more and more of them, crossing each other, with a permanent increase in tension in the space. Finally, as it can be observed in this exhibition, the pure drawing or painting was complemented with lines or forms stemming from pre-existing press clippings, creating a dialogue between the hand-made and the technical and printed material. It has to be said that the latter material was fully alienated, torn away from its original content:  the abstract side of the torn or segmented images came into focus.

While painted surfaces got calmer and more serene, nearing the monochrome, the alienated photographs taken mainly from the daily press indulge in growing diversity. Painting, cuttings and tearing of images coexist and often enough are brought to a new life in a fully random and hazardous game. Quotes from the political, social realities around the world may still be distinguishable, but are not to be seen as representational: this art remains abstract. New visual accents emerge, a new reality starts breezing, and its abstract formal nature is in the foreground.

Does this mean that we contemplate here a hermetically closed universe? I see a different vision here. This process, its movement and vibrations and the impressive imagination we can observe lead indeed to a fascinating and very personal language. Here is a man at work who takes good care to connect his activity constantly to the ‘condition humaine’ (almost like Bosch might have been tempted to do if he had known abstract art?). From the initial disorder, even chaos, an approach led by measure and beauty in colours, and also order in life is established: a search for sense is constantly palpable, although, naturally, it remains unanswered.

Does this artist, who has also had a career in international diplomacy, merely illustrate immensely intimidating surrounding tensions, or does he provide reasons to persevere, in offering new paths enabling us to float in a permanent flow of sorrow and joy? His poetical art proposes forceful perspectives and structures, inspiring hope for the agitated and disturbing world of today.


Paul Bertemes

Junglinster in January 2017

(original text in german)


Artist biography:

Hubert Wurth (*1952 in Luxembourg) is an autodidact painter and artist. In 1966 he created his first abstract graffiti. He was awarded at the Biennale des jeunes artistes Luxembourgeois in Esch-sur-Alzette (L) in 1973. Participated in the „Salon du Cercle artistique“ in Luxembourg in 1984 for the first time. From 1985 participated in collective exhibitions and displayed his artworks also at solo exhibitions in several countries. From 2004 until 2016 Hubert Wurth was the chairman of the board of ‘Edward Steichen Award Luxembourg’ which he also cofounded. From 2016 he has been a Member of the board of the museum ‘MUDAM Foundation Grand Duc Jean’ in Luxembourg.

Hubert Wurth lived in Luxembourg (L), Aix en Province and Paris (FR), again in Luxembourg, then Moscow (USSR), The Hague (NL), New York (USA), Paris (FR) and London (UK). Presently he lives in Vienna, Austria. At this moment Hubert Wurth is accredited as the ambassador of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg in the Republic of Slovakia

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