gilbert bretterbauer


01.02. – 02.03.2024 / Current

Exhibition view

Selection of exhibited work

About the exhibition

gilbert bretterbauer


(textile narration)


With SAY IT !  gilbert bretterbauer continues his series of embroideries last shown under the title treasure (SONG 2021). While the previous exhibition focused on the depiction of spaces in ornamental figurations, geometric shapes or abstract patterns, the new show is about narrative content: can a textile image, beside its very own materiality and the obvious use of craftsmanship, tell a story through the embroidery technique? Can a visual language convey the unspeakable through its narrative content?


Embedded in the artist’s own techniques of weaving, sewing and embroidery, which he has developed for many years, abstract figures emerge for the first time, whose posture, doll-like form and repetitive appearance convey anonymity, interchangeability and namelessness.


A speech bubble emerges from some of these figures, but its contents are empty. The actions of the dolls, which carry coloured discs or balls presented as gifts in front of them, that express the unspeakable, represent our actions, the execution of externally determined specifications, elevated into a mystical gesture of meaninglessness.


The figures wander up and down. A female figure fits into a formal architecture of spaces that seems to dissolve all metaphysical messages into interlocking colour elements. The embroidery emphasises the meaning of the questions, and the technique thus transforms the content into a spiritual realm.


The small-format painted works shown at the same time, take on the intensity of the colour mosaic, whereby the content is enriched with further elements such as faces, eyes and mouths. While the artist has already shown that new meanings can be added to the pictorial language with sewn lips through haptics and the tactile element of textiles in the kisses & more series of works, he is now supplementing his work with textile objects in a further step.


The discs carried by the little figures in the embroideries appear here as textile spheres with mouths and colourful lips stuck to them. A globe? A mysterious gift with a message that is incomprehensible to us?


The connotation of tenderness, closeness, perhaps even love, which is obvious in kisses & more, finds a further counterpart in the spherical object: perhaps art can provide us with a remedy in a world in which individuals are alienated from one another, in a world in which much is “meant” but little is said? In this sense, the invitation, indeed the call to SAY IT !  ultimately pertains to art as a medium to give everything, if not a meaning, then at least a content.


Lobkowitzplatz 3, 1010 Vienna


01.02. – 02.03.2024 / Current