Fritz Hagl © 2012

FRITZ HAGL Painter 1928 - 2002


Notes by Fritz Hagl

Fritz Hagl in his studio Forty years of paiting on the island brought me to my theme, which now, in many variations, is my work.

During the first years, after building my house, I conquered the manyfold world of forms of Elba, already looking closely at the finely structure details. The beaches were a true treasure trove - a cosmos of combinations - one only needed to look and bring things into the appropriate order. I found that the world consists entirely of details, which already carry the large whole within themselves. This piece of earth surrounded by the sea was now the place where I really lived; the restricted radius of movement, this seclusion, almost total isolation during the sixties guided my attention toward the existing untouched element of nature.

And that became my material, which I integrated more and more into my work.

Nature became my teacher and I welcomed this teachings: I was ready to start anew.

Since I wanted to remain a painter, I never actually included organic braids or minerals into my paintings but used them as departing prints.It was an ongoing process, by starting wih the discovered forms and continuing throughout the surface of the painting, quite playful, without preconceived ideas, but in a concentrated way. This course of action was a very happy, because it also gave me a sense of safety and self-confidence. And I never had a doubt in my mind, that my doings were good and justified.

I was not very interested in the final result as a goal; the happening itself had me completely captivated. Whatever ideas came up during the work: I could always realize them immediately. I never involved myself in grand schemes. I discovered that during painting a lot of ideas presented themselves as the respective answers to my actions. And I would pursue the dialogue until the living stream was breaking down and I felt that I had to leave the process for a moment. Since I had many canvasses prepared, I could continue with another one, taking the push of energy from the last work with me; so I didn't have to always invent anew. I got used to have several paintings going simultaneously. This prevented me from working on one paiting for too long, which would lead to constant re-painting, to several unresolved conditions: a tightly stringent painter's diary, of which only the cover exists.

I have a number of pieces of my pre-Elba period; they're mostly drawned in oil, no transparency, no more light. I like the open diary and in my studio there are works, which I would describe as "states": unresolved, as they appeared to me already when they came into being. I left them that way (as well as I could) and they shine and are a constant well of new inspirations because of their openess.

Because my paintings have a trasparent, almost aquarelle-like use of color, I prefer bright backdrops and tempera foundations. This works very well for my colors. They receive their light from the depht of the picture. The covering layers that create the form elements are suspended before the viewer and move forward out of the painting. This creates a kind of perspective of layers, which sometimes sartes to move slightly, when cool and warm tones of color stand next to each other. Such a painting gives the realistic impression of moving towards the viewer.

Over time I discovered more possibilities of construction by creating chaotic transient states I then gave more and more order leading me from a stimulating rough mix to the painting's final form.

Since there were few connections to the outside world, no exhibitions, no information from the art scene, I was totally dependent upon myself; and I embraced all means possible to encourage myself to continue painting and not to loose my step in this tight- rope walk.

It was not easy at first to find my personal rythm. There was not only the painting - in our large garden and the houses there was enough to do - and I had to find out when I was good for what. My row energy wanted to romp in the morning; so this was the time to build, to cut trees, to dig etc... After 3 PM, slightly tired, my senses for the finer aspects awoke.

I knew from experience that I was not supposed to go into the studio in the morning after the nightly pause of activities. My forceful way did not work with my paintings. Only in the afternoon a state of contemplation took hold of me, and that was really good for my paiting work.

Being free and independent, I was thankful for the privilege to be able to organize my time.

My paitings don't have titles; therefore the viewer has the freedom to discover his own interpretations and his own place in the painting: action not being influenced by a title. This way he takes part in my work and takes care of its existential survival.

(Translation: Ingrid Sertso, musician)