Klaus Pobitzer

When the man on the street becomes a work of art: Klaus Pobitzer’s giant “People” take over Museion Passage.

There’s a grungy girl in cargo pants and a cheeky-looking young lad, a bespectacled, pashima-wearing intellectual and a woman in a trenchcoat. The kind of people you pass in the street, in other words, but now on display in a museum. This is concept behind People, the project by the artist Klaus Pobitzer currently on show in Museion Passage: eight giant canvases of figures that are more than four metres tall and almost two across, have invaded the ground floor of the museum. The figures are drawn by the artist using a computer and printed on canvas in acrylics. The vibrantly colourful end result channels advertising graphics and comic strip style, evoking a return to pop art. The figures manage to convey something entirely familiar and common, yet diverse and unique, which is basically the essence of the individuals we pass on the street every day. The one-word title of the project also emphasises how the work appears to embody and fulfil Warhol’s prophecy of “15 minutes of fame” for everyone.

This work was exhibited for the first time in Pobitzer’s solo show at the Smak, the Stedelijk Museum voor Actuele Kunst in Ghent (Belgium) in 2006. It is a continuation of the modus operandi the artist began using in 2000, giving rise to various public projects including the huge installations he created for Milan’s new exhibition centre in 2005.

Klaus Pobitzer was born in Silandro in 1971, and lives and works in Vienna.