Pictures without Sounds

EXHIBITION Rudi Stanzel 1981
EXHIBITION Edith Mostböck 1983
EXHIBITION Alexander Rinesch 1983
EXHIBITION Frederick steinmann 1984
EXHIBITION Chris Britz 1995
EXHIBITION Heinz Lindinger 2007
EXHIBITION Crespo & Zugmann 2015 / Galerie im Ersten



Opening address of W. Michael Satke:

“Why this New York exhibition had to come to Vienna.

It is good to bring exciting artists to Vienna, exciting in the truest sense of the word. Chris Britz is one of the first artists in the US to engage in New Political Art. Visual artists have failed to take positions on social developments and social policies for years if not decades. Things probably had to go this far downhill to have New Political Art emerge as a new and ever stronger movement.

Chris Britz reveals the immorality of society in his work. He takes public statements from politics, industry and business that appear as ads, posters and TV spots and implements them in his own formal language. In doing so, he makes the grim contents clear.

American society has been very slow in showing a willingness to come to terms with its own nationalism, racism and fascism. That is EXHIBITION FREDERICK STEINMANN 1984 EXHIBITION CHRIS BRITZ 1995 EXHIBITION HEINZ LINDINGER 2007 why I think it is an opportunity for the artist and his work; after New York to show this exhibition, now in Europe, and with Vienna as the first venue.

These subjects are of burning interest, especially in Austria, given the awful events of recent months (letter bombs, bomb attacks) and the proximity of the war in former Yugoslavia.”

The exhibition was extraordinarily successful in Vienna and went from here to Düsseldorf. Chris Britz died in Ireland in 2009.

THANK YOU to Sigi Menz for making the Ottakringer Hefeboden available for this exhibition.

Speech by Professor Paul Blaha at the opening of the Chris Britz exhibition on 19 September 1995

I am presenting a painter of a special kind to you today and will get right to the point: His name is CHRIS BRITZ. He is an Austrian who lives in the US and comes originally from the former Yugoslavia. He paints war.

Others do that and have always done that, too.

War painting, the portrayal of war, has undergone a fundamental change in terms of art history and social history: from the glori cation of war to the depiction of its horrors, its cruelty, its ugliness; from the shininess of medals to their ip side; from the glori cation of war to its damnation.

Britz does something else. He UNMASKS war. He shows it for what it is; not what it ALSO is, namely, MISFORTUNE caused by ideological or patriotic uproar, not steel bath for some and apocalypse for the others, but a PRODUCT of SPECIAL INTERESTS. Of special PRODUCTION interests and their supplementing partners: special MARKET interests. The economy brings forth war and war nurtures the economy. That is what Chris Britz shows us. That is what he paints. He paints a gas stove with GUN BARRELS projecting from its oven and we know the great extent to which the arms industry and the peace industry are made of one and the same material.

He paints a heavy bomber formation in the shape of a cross and we know what little di erence there is between crusades and other types of wars. He paints a re-spitting tank, entitles the picture “Research and Development” and we know how irresistible an ADVANCED FLAME THROWER CAN BE.

This work pictures hypocrisy of a special scale. That fact requires no separate mention. Needless to say, where hypocrisy occurs, offcial rhetoric has a hand in the game, as does propaganda and advertising. It is no secret in Chris Britz’s painting that moral questions and questions of a society, a culture, are being raised; that it brings to light immorality, inhumanity – and this special type of economically situated fascism.

That is its content. Its determined intent.

In other words, Britz is not a naïve paci st who merely deplores the awfulness of wars. He is a stalwart cultural critic who reveals the mechanism of wars. He is a consistent moralist and humanist who ferrets out the warmongers right where they dwell: in the INSTITUTIONS. They are the warmongers. And SPECIAL INTERESTS. Both are dedicated to the spoils of war.

It is no accident that the subjects of his pictures are AMERICAN – nor is it a special case of anti-Americanism either. These large, vast, sometimes violent panels of his-- these realistic, witty, malicious acrylic paintings saturated with color bluntly convey their message to the beholder, and make use of the highly American, perhaps cynical (but I would say more likely naïve) practice of advertising for war as if it were a PRODUCT. Or – less naïvely: FOR a product WITH war.

Britz uses America’s PATRIOTIC PRODUCT ADVERTISING from World War II and thereafter to illustrate the subjugation of people to the dictates of the market. Humankind is at the mercy of special interests. It is humanity being sold out in favor of power. “Marketing for power” as Britz wrote somewhere.

Britz is not likely to be given the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art anytime soon. He CLASHES with the institutions. He is dedicated to EXPOSURE ART. He has remained a child of the Enlightenment. He engages in enlightenment about an acute present. His riveting paintings draw from the arsenals of advertising, from poster art, and reveal unctuous commercialism. They ridicule the power and pathos of advertising, are satires on a culture of total, not to say totalitarian PR. A culture where the sun never sets – particularly in the Western World.

This approach is witty in a higher sense. It is MORALITY APPLIED IN A POSTER-LIKE WAY. “MARKETING for morality” I would call it.

His painting is technically akin to realism. It takes its eeriness from GOYA. It is timeless. Timelessly important.

Chris Britz is an Austrian.

It would be good if there were more Austrians like him in the country.


All my life, you have set my soul vibrating and excited my brain with your images. This exhibition was long overdue.

THANK YOU, Wolfgang Exner, for making available your gallery and THANK YOU for your dedication.

The book and exhibition “Transromantica” would probably have never come about without the ideas and determination of Michael Satke. He was the person who had the energy and unconditional faith in the project to convince me that it should be done (which really says something!). I would like to thank him very sincerely for that. I have no better friend than him and not just since yesterday. My wife Pilar and Michael were what you might call the “Duo Infernal.” They kept breathing down my neck and propelling me forward, to render clear what had been unclear, to gain knowledge from confusion and strict order from my personal chaos. I can only thank them for that.

Heinz Lindinger

Exhibition Crespo & Zugmann 2015 / Galerie im Ersten