Martha Jungwirth



1940, born in Vienna (Austria)

Lives and works in Vienna (Austria)

Martha Jungwirth has occupied an important position in Austrian art
history since the 1960s. After her studies at the Academy of Applied Arts in
Vienna from 1956 to 1963, Jungwirth appeared in public with works in various
media, such as pencil drawings, watercolors, and works in oil and ink. In 1968
she was the sole woman among the founding members of the loose “Wirklichkeiten”
[“Realities”] group of artists, yet even then she pursued her own, distinctive
path, oscillating between gesturally abstract and formal compositions. […]
Jungwirth’s painting process emerges from a combination of intuitive
spontaneity and control of her aesthetic principles at the same time. This
tension between the unconscious and the calculated, between gesture, form,
trace and color, provides the environment for the artist not only to examine
mirror images of her inner moods, but also the essential basic principles of
painting. Her creative process is, in effect, one of continuous experimentation
with an open outcome: Reacting to sudden impulses, Jungwirth places energetic,
colorful marks on canvas or paper that then, through layering, overlapping and
blurring, all at once recede, as the ambivalent act of showing and hiding sets
the pictorial plane in motion. Her resolutely impulsive working method,
however, always comes through. Coincidence and energetic intuition, with all
the corrections, stains and streaks they bring to the painting process, remain
visible and create a richly varied atmosphere in works that range from the
seemingly ephemeral, transparent to the dense and pastose. 

Martha Jungwirth’s characteristic compositions, which perform an elegant
balancing act on the thin line between realism and abstraction, and distinguish
themselves through their eruptive, gestural style as well as their powerful
colors, are poetic and dramatic representations of experiences, emotions and
memories that convey a deep awareness of the immeasurableness of
reality. (Text: Hans-Peter Wipplinger in: Martha Jungwirth. Retrospective,
published on the occasion of the exhibition at Kunsthalle Krems 2014.) 

Martha Jungwirth studied at the University of Applied Arts of Vienna in
the class of Prof. Carl Unger. She taught in the same school between 1967 and
1977 and later at the International Summer Academy in 1991 and the Summer
Academy in Berlin in 1992. Through her artistic career, Martha Jungwirth
received several awards, among them the Oskar-Kokoschka-Preis in 2018. Some of her
major solo and group exhibitions include Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, Düsseldorf,
Germany, Museum Liaunig, Neuhaus, Austria, Kunsthaus Bregenz, Kunsthaus Zug,
Albertina Modern, Vienna, Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria, Leopold
Museum, Vienna, Austria, Belvedere 21, Vienna, Austria, Essl Museum.
Kunst der Gegenwart, Klosterneuburg/Vienna,
Austria, MUSA, Vienna, Austria, Kunsthalle Krems, Krems, Austria, Bank Austria
Kunstforum, Vienna, Austria, Museum Moderner Kunst – Stiftung Wörlen, Passau,
Germany, Museum des 20.
Jahrhunderts, Vienna, Austria, documenta 6,
Fridericianum, Kassel, Germany, Secession, Vienna, Austria, Österreichischer
Pavillon Expo 1967, Montreal, Canada, Secession, Vienna, Austria.