Christoph Schirmer

1979 · Austria

Artist biography

Christoph Schirmer is a mid-career established artist, who originates from Austria, like other prominent artists such as Johanna Kandl, Andrea Lüth, Peter Kapeller, Tina Ribarits, and Verena Dengler. Christoph Schirmer was born in 1979.

Historical Context of Austria

At the start of the twentieth century, Austria was among the most innovative and culturally progressive countries. It fostered important developments in the Arts and Crafts Movement and Art Nouveau, called Jugendstil in German, from around 1895 to 1910, forming a key bridge between the 19th century and the onset of modernism. This kind of progressive, avant-garde thinking led directly into the Viennese Secession movement, one of the key art and design movements of the early twentieth century. It was formed in 1897 by a group of Austrian painters, graphic artists, sculptors and architects, including Josef Hoffman Koloman Moser, Otto Wagner, and Gustave Klimt, when artists resigned, en masse, from the Association of Austrian Artists in protest against its support for more traditional artistic styles. and an exchange of ideas with artists outside Austria, disputing artistic nationalism, renewing the decorative arts and, most crucially, creating a "total art (Gesamtkunstwerk)" that unified painting, architecture, and the decorative arts. The group was fervently opposed to the domination of the official Vienna Academy of the Arts (the Vienna Künstlerhaus), and official art salons, with their traditional orientation toward Historicism. Ultimately the group broke apart, the decorative artists choosing instead to focus on a new guild called the Wiener Werkstatte. In the late 1930s, Austria was annexed by the rising force of Hitler's Nazi Germany, an act known as the Anschluss, and which organised Austria into a province of a greater German Reich. During this period, like in Germany, the Avant-garde was named 'Entartete Kunst', translating to 'degenerate art', and was oppressed with only 'official' social realist art being approved, or even allowed by the state. Consequently, there was a great exodus of creative talent who determined that their interests would be best served by relocating to London or New York. In the 20th century, central Austrian artists included Josef Hoffman, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Herbert Bayer (the typography and graphic design pioneer of the Bauhaus), architect and designer Josef Frank, Oskar Kokoschka, Alfred Kubin, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Maria Lassnig, Hermann Nitsch, Arnulf Rainer, Franz West and Erwin Wurm.

Further Biographical Context for Christoph Schirmer

Born in 1979, Christoph Schirmer was predominantly inspired by the 1980s. The 1980s were a turbulent period culturally, and were marked by growing global capitalism, global mass media, significant discrepancies in wealth, alongside a distinctive sense of music and fashion, epitomised by electronic pop music and hip hop. Artists growing up during this time were heavily influenced by this cultural culture. The 1980s were an important decade politically, marked by the African Famine and the end of the Cold War, which was signified by the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Neo Geo and The Pictures Generation became leading art movements during the decade, alongside Neo-Expressionism which became popular in Germany, France and Italy (where it was known as Transavanguardia). Artists such as Anselm Kiefer, Jörg Immendorf, Enzo Cucchi, Francesco Clemente and Julian Schnabel were primary artists of the era, alongside Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf, who established the street art and graffiti movements.

Christoph Schirmer

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