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Siggi Hofer, Still Life | Installation view, Secession | 2022 | Photo: Michael Strasser

The munchies art club presents in our viewing room the exhibition Still Life from the artist Siggi Hofer at the Secession in Vienna, Austria.

Siggi Hofer | Still Life | Secession

March 4 – June 12, 2022 Hauptraum 

In Still Life, Siggi Hofer has conceived an immersive installation in dialogue with the Secession’s characteristic architecture: we enter a large tableau composed of numerous and diverse works that in many ways reflects the baffling complexity of our contemporary reality. 

Having come to look and moving about the room, we find ourselves cast as actors and co-creators of the exhibition; we need to get our bearings, make sense of the arrangement, tease out interconnections and meanings. 

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Siggi Hofer, Still Life | Installation view, Secession | 2022 | Photo: Michael Strasser

Still Life builds directly on the earlier exhibition gift basket, in which the titular object served Hofer as a metaphor for his reflections on relationships, family, identity, and recollection.

In the still life genre, the artist once again chooses a universally familiar trope. 

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Siggi Hofer | Glass of milk and jug | 2020 | Varnish paint on MDF | 50 x 50 cm | Photo: Michael Strasser

Even more than the gift basket, which complements the handsome gesture with a handsome presentation shaped in part by pragmatic considerations, the still life is defined above all by aesthetic questions of composition and color: Which objects make interesting neighbors, what fits with what, and what happens in these various constellations, what happens when one changes them? 

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Siggi Hofer, Still Life | Installation view, Secession | 2022 | Photo: Michael Strasser

Hofer’s versatility is evident in the diverse media, details, small gestures, and subtle creative choices in the exhibition, which gathers works from different periods in his oeuvre, as well as an installation outside the Secession and an artist’s book in the form of a newspaper (the “Deutsch-Gotisch” typeface is a nod to the daily “Dolomiten,” which the artist grew up reading) with contributions by Hofer himself. 

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Siggi Hofer | Drum 4 | 2021 | Varnish paint on MDF | 70 x 70 cm | Photo: Michael Strasser

The literary writings he produces as he works on his exhibitions bring into focus the significance of autobiographical reflection— searching meditations on memory, childhood, identity, and emancipation—in his art. 

Alternating between sober- minded analysis and humor, the texts are unsparingly candid while leaving room for doubt. 

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Siggi Hofer, Still Life | Installation view, Secession | 2022 | Photo: Michael Strasser

Playful self- reference and quotes that link the presentation to earlier works are recurring motifs throughout the exhibition. 

Together with the new pictures, altogether four hundred wooden beams painted in pastel shades constitute the presentation’s core. 

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Siggi Hofer, Still Life | Installation view, Secession | 2022 | Photo: Michael Strasser

No component touches the building’s shell, the walls—everything is suspended from the ceiling or rests on the floor. 

Not for the first time, the artist toys with conventions of exhibition-making and the ways in which art is staged and showcased. 

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Siggi Hofer | Butterfly 6 | 2021 | Varnish paint on MDF | 38 x 40 cm | Photo: Michael Strasser

Every hook, every grommet was chosen with care and is part of the installation. Echoing the style of graphic design and executed in grid patterns, the pictures in loud colors show animal and plant motifs and mundane objects. 

Visual axes shift, adjacencies are reshuffled with each step we take inside the installation; new visual compositions emerge suggesting new readings and contexts of meaning. 

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Siggi Hofer, Still Life | Installation view, Secession | 2022 | Photo: Michael Strasser

The motifs are drawn from various sources: self-quotes are interspersed between visuals inspired by the works of other artists. 

Some, like the men’s suit, the soccer ball, the eagle, may be read as gesturing toward patriarchal and nationalist stereotypes; others, meanwhile—the butterfly, the rose, but also the soft hues chosen for the exhibition display—hint at an alternative vision. 

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Siggi Hofer, Still Life | Installation view, Secession | 2022 | Photo: Michael Strasser

The artist does not tell us what to make of all this. A line from the writer and artist Herbert Achternbusch—“Kunst kommt von kontern,” roughly: “It’s called art because it’s a retort”—underscores Hofer’s recalcitrant attitude. 

Illustration templates on graph paper are a peculiar format some visitors may remember from childhood: patterned trims and decorative moldings as well as depictions of animals and other popular subjects that can be easily reproduced even by untrained young artists thanks to the grid overlaid on them. 

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Siggi Hofer | Orange 3 | 2021, | Acrylic paint on chipboard | 50 x 50 cm | Photo: Michael Strasser

For Hofer, working with grids is also a strategy of deliberate unlearning that shifts attention away from displays of artistic bravura and toward the content. 

Meanwhile, some of the one-meter construction timber beams painted in cheerful colors are enhanced by decorative pencil designs, and compositions made of wooden beads embellish the steel suspension cables: further instances of strategic crossover between high and low and the artist’s resolve to confront the media and materials of art with those of the technical trades, do-it-yourself practices, and the hobby-art industry. 

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Siggi Hofer, Still Life | Installation view, Secession | 2022 | Photo: Michael Strasser

By reiterating, superimposing, camouflaging, and recombining motifs, he weaves a dense web of references that deftly challenges the reduction of what is seen to straightforward meanings (or solutions). 

The installation of three workplaces that will be in active use from time to time—new works will be completed and added to the presentation—adds a performative dimension to the show. 

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Siggi Hofer, Still Life | Installation view, Secession | 2022 | Photo: Michael Strasser

The built environment, and especially the city as a complex social fabric and embodiment of utopian visions, a scene of grand hopes and safe haven, a place that beckons with diversity and freedom, is a motif that appears in the artist’s work early on. 

Even as a child he was drawing himself out of the mountains around his hometown in the Alps and into the big city—as an early drawing by the future artist on view in the exhibition demonstrates. 

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Siggi Hofer | Football (yellow) | 2021, | Varnish paint on MDF | 70 x 70 cm | Photo: Michael Strasser

It is shown side by side with later depictions of fictional cities, created, one might say, in a dialogue between the grown-up artist and his much younger self. 

One picture that appears only on the invitation card and the cover of the artist’s book is a kind of secret key to the show: an illustration from a children’s encyclopedia that has Hofer spellbound even after decades. 

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Siggi Hofer, Still Life | Installation view, Secession | 2022 | Photo: Michael Strasser

It is an apocalyptic scene, an illustration of the aftermath of an earthquake, with burning buildings and cars being swallowed up by the earth. 

The picture spells out what is actually the keynote of the exhibition, although the latter’s show of playfulness might suggest otherwise: “Disaster strikes somewhere else”—but strike it does. 

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Siggi Hofer, Still Life | Installation view, Secession | 2022 | Photo: Michael Strasser

Siggi Hofer was born in Bruneck (Brunico) in 1970 and lives and works in Vienna. 

Programmed by the board of the Secession

Curated by Bettina Spörr 


Artist’s book 

siggi hofer. still life 

Format: 39.5 x 28.5 cm
Details: unbound, newspaper fold, 120 pages Concept, visuals, and texts (d/e): Siggi Hofer ca. 120 illustrations
Secession 2022
Distribution: Revolver Publishing
EUR 26,40 

“I wanted a newspaper, the picture in my head was of someone slapping a fat stack of paper on the table in front of you, in your face, saying: Right, now it’s happened.” (Siggi Hofer) 

The versatility that distinguishes Siggi Hofer’s exhibitions is also evident in a publication accompanying his current show at the Secession: still life, an artist’s book in the form of a newspaper (the “Deutsch-Gotisch” typeface is a nod to the daily “Dolomiten,” which the artist grew up reading) with literary writings by Hofer himself. 

They bring into focus the significance of autobiographical reflection—searching meditations on memory, childhood, identity, and emancipation—in his art. 

Alternating between sober-minded analysis and humor, the texts are unsparingly candid while leaving room for doubt. 

One picture that reappears on the book’s cover is a kind of secret key to it: a drawing from a children’s encyclopedia that has Hofer spellbound even after decades. 

It is an apocalyptic scene, an illustration of the aftermath of an earthquake, with burning buildings and cars being swallowed up by the earth. 

The picture strikes a keynote that belies the show of playfulness: “Disaster strikes somewhere else”—but strike it does. 

Follow the artist Siggi Hofer on Instagram:

Further information | Secession:

Current exhibitions 

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Artists’ books 

Permanent presentation 

Opening hours Admission
Press contact Secession 

Press images 

Siggi Hofer Still Life
March 4 – June 12, 2022
Dineo Seshee Bopape Lerato le le golo (...la go hloka bo kantle March 4 – June 12, 2022
DIS How To Become A Fossil
March 4 – June 12, 2022 

siggi hofer. still life, unbound, newspaper fold, 120 pages
ca. 120 illustrations, € 26,40
Dineo Seshee Bopape. Secession, thread stitching, scented print varnish 256 pages, € 15,00
DIS. Everything But The World, softcover with metal clasp, 144 pages ca. 800 illustrations, € 26,40
Gustav Klimt, Beethoven Frieze
Beethoven – Painting and
Music in cooperation with
Wiener Symphoniker 


Tuesday – Sunday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Adults € 9,50 | Students, seniors € 6,00 | Free admission for children under ten 


Julia Kronberger
T. +43 1 587 53 07-10, julia.kronberger@secession.at 

The exhibition by Siggi Hofer is sponsored by Arbeiterkammer Wien. 

Public funding and supporters: 

Cooperation-, media partners, sponsors: 

Biografie / Biography Siggi Hofer 

1970 geboren / born in Bruneck (Brunico), lebt und arbeitet / lives and works in Wien / Vienna. 

Einzelausstellungen (Auswahl) / Solo exhibitions (selection) 

to your help, Unger und Klein (Projekt: Ronald Kodritsch), Wien (2022); auf einem kleinen floß treib ich Steuerlos, art space Memphis Memphis, Linz (2021); Meine Sicht ist eine Andere, Wandarbeit für die Architekten Bergmeister/Wolf, Brixen, Italy (2021); GIFT BASKET, VE.SCH Kunstverein, Wien (2020); Am 2. Freitag im April, WOP Gallery / works on paper, Wien (2020); ADA is Siggi Hofer / Flat Flat, ADA/ artistic.dynamic.association, Wien (2019); Idea, Kdewe, Künste der Welt, Kunstraum, Esslingen am Neckar, DE (2018); Reduzierte Lösung, Boltensternraum, Galerie Meyer Kainer, Wien (2018); Pravo i Sprawiedliwosc, Law and Justice, Galeria Sztuki Wspolczesnej Pastula. PL (2018); ewery piece of art has it ́s own title, New Capital Projects, Chicago, USA (2017); Die Verwandlung, Siggi Hofer/Franko Kappl, Kunstverein Schattendorf, Austria (2017); The brave artist/der brave Künstler, Gallery Statement ( Galerie Meyer Kainer (2016); JACKHAMMER & THE HOLE, Bernhard Brungs/Siggi Hofer, Kunstpavillon, Innsbruck (2016); MY MOTHER SOLD CIGARETTES IN THE MOUTAINS, Kai Matsumiya Gallery, New York (2015); LAB, ES-Gallery, Merano/Meran IT (2014); WOOF / 1970-1992 u. 2014, Galerie Meyer Kainer, Wien (2014); ich werde sterben, aber nicht an Durst/ moriró, ma non di sete, Österreichisches Kulturforum, Krakau PL (2012). 

Gruppenausstellungen (Auswahl) / Group exhibitions (selection) 

ArtFest 2021 „Kolekcja - Sammlung” prace z kolekcji Małopolskiej Fundacji Muzeum, Sztuki Współczesnej i prywatnej kolekcji Jana Pastuły Sammlung Pastula BWA, Tarnòw, PL (2021); Ain’t no mountain is high enough, kuratiert von Mari Otberg, Galerie Gaugy, Wien & Ze Tux Gallery, Tux/Tirol (2021); Arm reich, kursiert von Johanna Schwanberg, Dom Museum, Wien (2021); La traduzione come processo creativo/the poetry of translation, curated by Judith Waldmann, Kunst. Meran Merano arte, Meran (2021); me my self and I, curated by Claudia. Larcher, Digital art gallery, Wien (2021); Komisch Wetter Zwei, dans op de tafel, Kunstverein Schattendorf, Schattendorf AT (2021); Ein Museum auf Probe, kuriert von Esslinger Kunstverein und Leander Schwazer, Villa Merkel, Esslingen DE (2020); Sonderausstellung 25 Jahre Strabag Artaward, Strabag Haus, Wien; Cruel Summer Camp, Part 1 and Part 2, Exile Gallery, Wien; unlearning Categories, Ausstellung zu den Kunstankäufen 2012-2018 des Landes Südtirol, Museion, Museum für zeitgenössische Kunst in Bozen/Bolzano IT (2020); dans op de tafel (Siggi Hofer und Michael Strasser) Komisch' Wetter, kuratiert von Siggi Hofer, Galleria Doris Ghetta IT (2020); Coloring Quarantine, Exile, Wien (2020); Discrete Austrian Secrets, kuratiert von Margareta Sandhofer, Galaxy Museum of Contemporary Art, Chongqing, China (2019); Kunstsammlung der Reifeisenbank Kitzbühel, Kitzbühel- St.Johann (2018); Sammlung Raiffeisen, Stadtgalerie Bozen, Bolzano/Bozen IT (2018); 90er Jahre, ein Wiener Diwan, Kurtatoren: Brigitte Borchhardt-Birbaumer, Berthold . Ecker, MUSA (2018); Bilder der Sprache und Sprachen der Bilder, Dommuseum, Wien (2017) 


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