Josef Kern

1953 born in Schiefer (Stmk.)
1972-79 Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

Sensuality, vitality and eroticism, these were also the impulses that were to lead out of conceptual art into the image-rich new painting. Kern undoubtedly tries to generate eroticism from painting. The act of painting is often equated with the sexual act. The blossoms and fruits are the sexual organs of plants, the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe was sure. When one looks at the way Josef Kern reproduces objects and bodies - even in their cropping - a highly charged mood of erotic desire becomes palpable. One could speak of "ambiguity" in the best sense of the word.

In the sculptures carved from wood, the human body is combined with vegetal forms. The impression of the exoticism of distant cultures and the surreal are close at hand. The reliefs are characterised in the same way by the ornamentality of the floral motif and by the sensuality of the forms, which bulge plumply out of the two-dimensionality of the picture and develop an even greater delicacy in the three-dimensionality of the sculptural. Josef Kern later pursued more of a surreal pictorial invention. This approach of the fantastic, the ornamental, where once again the vegetal is combined with the corporeal, has a long history in Austria since Art Nouveau.

Kern thus combines in his work essential traditions of painting, such as Expressionism, Realism and Surrealism, but is able to place this very skilfully in a present that we recognise. Thus his painting is by no means backward-looking, but is an expression of vital existence - from life.

Günther Holler-Schuster

Tulip drama

2020, Oil on canvas, 68 x 99 cm

Plant origin

2019, lime wood, wax, 31 x 44.5 x 4 cm

On hot stones

2021, oil on canvas, 150 x 210 cm



1978 Gallery Ariadne, Vienna
1981 Gallery Maier, Innsbruck
1983 Gallery H.S. Steinek, Vienna
1983 Gallery Bleich-Rossi, Graz
1984 New Gallery, Graz
1985 Gallery Richard Jakopic, Ljubljana
1985 Galleria Torbandena, Trieste, Treviso
1986 Gallery Bleich-Rossi, Graz
1988 Galleria Torbandena, Trieste
1990 Gallery Theuretzbacher, Vienna
1991 BAWAG-Foundation, Vienna
1991 New Gallery Studio, Graz
1994 Rupertinum, Salzburg
1994 "Only Flowers" Gallery Altnöder, Salzburg
1996 Gallery I&AC, Graz
1996 Gallery Menotti, Baden/Vienna
1997 "The Fauteuil" Art Forum, Hallein
1998 "Miniatures" Gallery Altnöder, Salzburg
2000 Portfolio Kunst AG, Vienna
2001 "Private Parts" Black Dragon Society, Salzburg
2002 Ulmerfeld Castle b. Amstetten
2002 Gallery Schafschetzy, Graz
2003 Gallery Jünger, Baden b. Vienna
2003 "Men in the Reeds" Gallery Altnöder, Salzburg
2004 Gallery Schafschetzy, Graz
2004 Art Trade Gölles, Fürstenfeld
2004 Gallery Gerersdorfer, Vienna
2006 Gallery Schafschetzy, Graz
2008 Gallery Schafschetzy, Graz
2009 Gallery Geresdorfer, Vienna
2011 Hayward & Kern. Gallery Altnöder, Salzburg
2013 Kern:Schmalix, Lower Austrian Documentation Centre for Modern Art
2016 "Silver and Gold", Kunsthaus Muerz, Mürzzuschlag
2017, Nulla dies sine linea, Gallery Gerersdorfer, Vienna
2021, "Josef Kern", Lindenhof Raabs an der Thaya
2021 "From life", Gallery Gölles, Fürstenfeld
2023, "thought up and painted off", Galerie Jünger, Vienna
2024, "Transparent intentions", Gerersdorfer Gallery, Vienna
2024, "Life still goes on", Gallery Gölles, Fürstenfeld


1978 Gallery Ariadne, Vienna
1980 Gallery Ariadne, Vienna
1980 New Gallery, Graz
1981 New Gallery, Graz
1981 New Gallery and Künstlerhaus, Graz
1982 Rhenish Regional Museum, Bonn
1982 Museum of the 20th Century, Vienna
1983 Galleria Torbandena, Trieste
1984 Krinzinger Gallery, Innsbruck
1985 Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Belgrade
1985 New Gallery, Graz
1985 Art Gallery, Budapest
1988 Palais Thurn and Taxis, Bregenz
1988 Musée de Toulon
1990 Musée d`Art Contemporain, Lyon
1992 Salford Museum and Art Gallery, Manchester
1992 Krinzinger Gallery, Vienna 1994
1992 Rupertinum, Salzburg 1998
1992 Lower Austrian Documentation Centre for Modern Art, St. Pölten
1999 "15 Years I". Gallery Altnöder Salzburg
1999 Ursula Blickle Foundation, Kraichtal
1999 Museion - Museum of Modern Art, Bolzano
1999 Rupertinum, Salzburg
1999 Lower Austrian Documentation Centre for Modern Art, St. Pölten
2000 "Flower Power Gallery Altnöder, Salzburg
2000 Gallery Schafschetzky, Graz
2000 Gallery Judith Walker, Ebenau Castle
2000 Ulmerfeld Castle b. Amstetten
2000 Castle St. Peter/Au
2000 Gallery Museum on Demand
2000 Gallery Jünger, Baden b. Vienna
2001 Gallery Museum on Demand
2001 Città di Lissone
2002 "Landscapes Gallery Altnöder, Salzburg
2002 Gallery Lang, Vienna
2002 Galleria d`Arte Moderna, Bologna (I)
2003 Gallery CC, Graz
2003 Gallery Lang, Vienna
2004 Essl Collection, Klosterneuburg
2004 Gallery Schafschetzky, Graz
2005 "Stone Print". Gallery Altnöder, Salzburg
2006 "Long live love". Gallery Altnöder, Salzburg
2007 Gallery Jünger, Baden
2007 "Art Austria II". Gallery Altnöder, Salzburg
2008 "small+fine". Gallery Altnöder, Salzburg
2008 "de natura", Gallery Altnöder, Salzburg
2009 "POSITIONS". Gallery Altnöder, Salzburg
2010 And there is always something missing, and that torments me. Art Group, Cologne / Germany - Salon Schmitz, Cologne
2010 Art Austria 10th Gallery Gerersdorfer, Vienna
2010 "Garden Art"/ Art Garden. Gallery Jünger, Baden / Austria - Garden Festival 2010, Laxenburg / Austria - Hanner, Mayerling
2010 Strong Heads. Blue and Yellow Quarter Gallery Mostviertel, Kulturhof , Weistrach
2010 I am another - The art of self-representation. Lower Austrian State Museum, Sankt Pölten
2011 Generation 1951±, Gallery Altnöder, Salzburg
2012 Gold, Belvedere, Vienna
2012 The Naked Man, Lentos Art Museum Linz
2014 30 years of the Altnöder Gallery, Salzburg
2014 FINIS, Altnöder Gallery, Salzburg
2016 "From the head and after life", Galerie Jünger, Vienna
"Imaging processes", gallery Schafschetzy, Graz
"Nulla dies sine linea", Gerersdorfer Gallery, Vienna
"An original by...(IV), Galerie Gölles, Fürstenfeld
"Painting in transition. The Ploner Collection", Neue Galerie Graz
2017 "The power of age", Lower Belvedere, Vienna
"Who are you? Portraits from 200 years", Neue Galerie Graz
"Continuity and ruptures. Paths of New Painting of the 1980s", Museum Liaunig, Neuhaus
2018 "Mountain and Valley", travelling exhibition Lower Austria
2019 "Still lifes and drawings", art dealer Gril&Neffe, Vienna
2021 "Sculptures", Gallery Schloss Damtschach
"Land(e)scapes", Kunsthaus Mürz
"Material", Belvedere, Vienna
2020 "Die steirische Breite III", Gerberhaus, Fehring
2022 "Art in Parliament 2022", Parliament Vienna
"Rendezvous with the Collection", Landesgalerie Niederösterreich
"STOPOVER - Points Of View" at the Austrian Cultural Forum Bratislava
2023 „Autumn Leaves“ Kunsthaus Köflach