Josef Mikl 1929 - 2008

Andreas Hoffer, Mela Maresch, Josef Mikl, Catalogue, Essl Museum, 2014

In his paintings, Josef Mikl often used the human body as a basis for the composition of his pictorial universe. Over the years, the painter's focus shifted to condensed fields of colour and from rudimentary body shapes to monumental compositions with brilliant colours. Ofte receding into the background and becoming unrecognisable, the shape of the object depicted serves predominantly as a structural element. Mikl's compositions are dominated by luminous primary colours. The canvas is an arena for a confrontation of monumental fields that spread out, open up or condense in concentrated form. The painting process, the handwriting of the artist's gesture, is ever present. While he permits chance occurences, such as splashes, drips and runs of paint, they are always subordinated to the well-directed overall composition. Mikl applies the paint in relatively thin, occasionally almost transparent layers.


In the 1980s and 90s, Mikl created various series of paintings on theatre plays by Ferdinand Raimund and Johann Nestroy and was also awarded the commission for the murals and the monumental ceiling fresco for the Großer Redoutensaal at the Hofburg Palace in Vienna. For this resplendent hall, Mikl created images resonating with colour, not developing a space from the figure, but creating space for the figure.


Andreas Hoffer, Mela Maresch

in: made in austria, statement by karlheinz essl, Vienna 2014