Franco Kappl

(Klagenfurt, Austria, 1962 - )

Europe, Austrian

Franco Kappl was born in Klagenfurt, Austria in 1962 and lives and works in Vienna. He studied painting from 1982 to 1989 at the Academy of Fine Art, Vienna, with artist Arnulf Rainer. In 1987, Kappl was awarded the Max Weiler Prize. In 1988 he studied at the Royal College of Art in London, and spent five months working in New York City in 1991. In 1994, Kappl was awarded first prize from Strabag Bau Holding Art Forum. In 1997, the artist returned to New York City for six months. An heir to Abstract Expressionist painting and immediate successor to Neo-Expressionism and graffiti art, Kappl is primarily interested in process and surface. In his black and white paintings of the early 1990s, the textured black canvas served as a wall on which the gestures left their mark, as with graffiti or newspaper collages. About these works Kappl has said, “…the most crucial thing for me has always been the borderline between sumptuous paint and its graphic aspects. When you reduce painting to black and white, for instance, paint and material application, brushwork, the process of painting itself automatically become more important.” Kappl goes on to explain that script and numerals do not convey any direct message but serve as formal elements. Similarly, his titles do not reference any specific content but are rather elusive descriptions of general emotional or intellectual states. In his more recent work, Kappl has explored the tension between the flat picture plane and the desire to create three-dimensional space. Yet the expressive, graphic mark and the essentially black and white palette remain central even while he introduces color into his abstract compositions.

Vienna, Austria

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