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About Josef PAUSCH 1948 - 2010

​The unknown Austrian mixed media art artist and photographer. Appreciated abroad, hardly known in Austria.

In America and Japan, art lovers would have an answer. Josef Pausch - that's the exceptional artist who learned and assisted with the greats and then became great himself. 

He was curator and co-founder of the photography department at the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA, N.Y.)

An Upper Austrian from Micheldorf, born in 1948, died prematurely in Linz in 2010. He lived in Mexico and America, among other places, and his works hang in, among others, the Museo de Arte Moderne in Mexico City, the Museum of Art in Santa Fe, the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, im Metropolitan Museum in Tokyo. 

He was assistant to John Coplans, founder of Artforum magazine. He worked with Horst P. Horst, one of the most important fashion photographers of the 20th century, who was celebrated for his portraits for the fashion magazine Vogue. He worked with Robert Avedon, one of the first American photographers who did not photograph haute couture in the studio but rather staged it in everyday situations. His own talent and the inspiration from his great role models gave Pausch a magnificent eye that always functioned like a lens. He saw everyday life as a collection of images, collages, productions. What might have seemed like mania was an absorption in art. 

However, his work was hardly noticed in this country. It was too extensive, too far-reaching, too untimely and too varied. It is often difficult for genius to be received because there is no language for something that points to the future. Pausch's eye looked into the future and created styles and worlds in the 80s that are now slowly becoming part of the zeitgeist. 

As part of his first solo exhibition in Salzburg in 1983, he was certified as having “optical intelligence”; his pictures/photographs “show both landscape and architectural components to the same extent and also a clear affinity for avant-garde art forms such as land, concept and and Minimal Art. It is a quiet poetry of matter-of-factness that we encounter here. He was an excellent photographer, painter, draftsman, graphic artist and reductionist, seeing and expressing dots and lines everywhere. Dots and lines, primary elements of every design. In everything he had not only the ability to see and relate to the created image, but also the ability to select, to omit. “Distinct preferences for details and things on the periphery, for the inconspicuous and quiet, promoted the selection process at Pausch, as Peter Baum noted. Pausch himself called it “the interest in seemingly trivial things and the elevation of the banal to the rank of images worthy of exhibition.” Because ultimately he addressed “the obvious, namely what surrounds me every day,” he said, “I prefer the trivial. This allows me to show a quality that is usually overlooked.”​




Whenever we meet, somewhere, we don't meet, said Josef Pausch. He's like 

his pictures, he is there, but something is being kept secret or so blatantly hidden that it 

seems intangible. It's like a magical force that attracts you strongly, but you know 

not where or why - and you don't know how or where you could hold on.


Images (image spaces) in which the spatial depth may have been lost. upper

superficial (sur-faces), behind which nothing would be expected. Storages (layers) to which the 

Origin of storage, which could have lost the time of storage - we know

 it's never exactly, and sorry, the expectation will never be fulfilled because it was already there,

before the picture/photo was “taken”, but because it only appeared when the picture/photo was already 

“existed”. This moment of time that negates time because there is no before or after, 

but only what is not there in this moment (which is not there) - that is what the picture/photo shows: it 

shows what is there while it shows what is not there. 

That would be art if that could succeed, it would always have been art if that were successful, it could always be art if that were successful: to make visible, what is not visible, to make the visible invisible, to make what is “hidden” secret, or conversely, to hide what is “secret”.

Joseph's pictures are emptied of any identifiable movement - the person is not really there, the artist/photographer is not really there - but you know that there must be the person, that there must be movement - that there must be “Something” and “Someone “It would have to be that there is a statement, a hope, a despair, a madness (in the sense of insanely intense).

Josef Pausch says: his pictures are always pictures that he carries around with him and that sometimes find a counterpart (in reality?).  He says: it sometimes takes years, and then a situation is captured, like a snapshot: he says: I want to create the “being-in-itself” of things. He shows the “being-in-itself” of the artist's pictures. (as Paul Klee said:...I am incomprehensible on this side...).


Pascal Schöning – London / Paris – April 2002


about my photography 

my photographs are nothing more and nothing less than snapshots. they are not snapshots. Too much violence is implied in this for me: snapping (like a mutt) - shooting (like a soldier). This is not included in the real situation in which things arise. There is no arrangement or embellishment. Maybe there is something like an unspoken contract between the people, animals, landscapes, etc. and me... . Hopefully there is still enough respect (and perhaps a shy calmness) to make arrogant (interventions) impossible for me. So I can't make every trivial thing into an event. Openness, spontaneity, fun, a succinct speed are not the opposite, because especially in such situations, concentration and accuracy are the most important things for me. this can happen anywhere. I don't need a photo studio.

What still interests me are still photos - “stills” - from (my) ongoing film.

Individual images from a story that I am and (“carefully”) direct, which I can also disassemble and reassemble... . The photos should remain free of anything lyrical, symbolic, etc.! I much prefer the so-called trivial. I can work with that. show a quality that is usually overlooked. For me, it's still about beauty (in all its masks) and about taking in something that hardly anyone else sees, touches, takes with them. This is not an explanation, it would just obscure, rather parallel thoughts (jumps) that probably arise in a similar way to photographs. 

Conversation with Walter Stuller, publisher N.Y. 

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