George Siejka

1946 · Austria

Artist biography

George Siejka is an established artist, who was born and brought up in Austria, like other famous artists such as Liselotte Höhs , Kurt Ryslavy, Johanna Magdalena Guggenberger, Rudi Wach, and Bruno Gironcoli. George Siejka was born in 1946.

Historical Context of Austria

At the turn of the twentieth century, Austria was among the most pioneering 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 an important bridge between the nineteenth 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 founded 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 international artists, 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 vehemently opposed to the dominance 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 significant exodus of creative talent who decided that their interests would be best served by relocating to London or New York. In the 20th century, important 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 George Siejka

Born in 1946, George Siejka's creative work was predominantly influenced by the 1960s. Artistically, the decade began with the twin movements of Pop and Minimalism emerging alongside each other. On one hand, Pop championed the visual culture of the mainstream and mass media, and of products and consumerism. The work of art by artists like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann and Claes Oldenberg was inspired by the popular culture of the rapidly developing Capitalism of the United States, taking things like advertising, comic books and ideas surrounding celebrity culture as their primary visual inspiration. A parallel movement developed on the West Coast in California - a strain that also related to language in art, and is viewed as the very first blossoming of conceptual art. Minimalism developed a formal language with no external references, based solely on line, colour and geometric form as key components of both painting and sculpture. The significant figures of Minimalism included Frank Stella, Donald Judd and Agnes Martin. Pop Art was an influential offshoot of minimalism, a discipline made famous by through the work of artists like Victor Vasarely and Bridget Riley. Globally, many artistic movements resonated the artistic concerns of the above mentioned movements, often with regional specialties and nuance. In Italy, Lucio Fontana and Piero Manzoni established Spatialism, and in Germany the Zero group under the leadership of Gunter Uecker adopted similar ideas. The influential school of Existentialist Philosophy was an important source of inspiration for creatives, with artists like Francis Bacon and Alberto Giacometti becoming known worldwide for their distinctive approaches to the human form and the angst related to the human condition.

George Siejka

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