Selected artworks from the exhibition 29 October — 22 November 2008
Flinders Street Gallery, Sydney

An exhibition of 40 artworks including recent drawings from the ‘Fantastic Still-Life’ suite and selected works 1998–2008.

This mini-retrospective traces Kurt Schranzer’s creative trajectory over a decade as well as presenting new work. Known for his meticulous line drawings containing both subtle and overt homoerotic imagery, Schranzer also presents delicate abstract compositions and whimsical collages.
Quoted from Tracey Clement, ‘NSW Wrap’, Australian Art Collector, Issue 46, October-December 2008, pp. 259-260

His exhibition at Flinders Street Gallery in November, featuring a new suite of ‘fantastic still life’ drawings and selected drawings from the last ten years, revealed an artist so idiosyncratic that it would be no exaggeration to call his work unique. Although his titles happily announce debts to Klee and Ernst, and he is a post-modern artist in the sense that his works would be inconceivable without the foundation of Surrealist thought and Bauhaus theories of form, his work arises from concerns that are decidedly personal…. His main preoccupation is the male body, and the excitements and anxieties it arouses in him. When he is not looking directly at penises and anuses (as in the series of nude skateboarders ‘Le Cul Mecanique’, 2006) he is seeing them in plants and machines (‘Phantastische Stilleben’, 2008) or finding implications of them in pure abstract forms (the smaller drawings of 1998 to 2002). The intensity of this preoccupation can be uncomfortable for the viewer, and psychological unease comes through in many of the works, especially the new ‘Phantastische Stilleben’, with their unrelenting profusion of forms, none as neutral as they first seem. A personal obsession is illustrated in these drawings, through an intriguing series of expositions (flayed penises in the foreground of one drawing), and sublimations (shafts plunging through holes in the background of another), but it is tempered by a care for beauty that ensures each drawing is handled with restraint and intelligence. ‘Sailor from the Port of Erotic Misery’, the title of a drawing from 2004, gives some indication of the atmosphere of melancholy in much of Schranzer’s work, and yet the simple joy of drawing is always present. … Intensely intricate or artfully simple… one marvels at his craftsmanship….
Extracted from Joe Frost, ‘Drawings: Kurt Schranzer & Tony Tuckson’, Artist Profile, Issue 6, Autumn 2009, p. 89

In a general way formalism represents a scientific description of line, form and colour. In a specific way it seeks to turn form into a fetish. Kurt Schranzer’s drawings and collages reveal that he is a connoisseur of the relationship that binds form to fetish. His incredibly precise and sometimes 'obsessive' works of art constitute a boys own journey into modernism. By appropriating mechanical drawings from early twentieth century technical manuals and combining them with veiled references to many of the Modern Masters including Klee, Ernst and Leger, Schranzer has developed a diagnostic model that acts as a speculum providing an in depth analysis of masculinity.

The language of Schranzer’s form is confirmed by its content. Graphic images of marine life, carnivorous plants, medical equipment and anal sphincters exist in profusion alongside one another. It wouldn’t be difficult to imagine a traditional formalist saying “Kurt you have gone too far” but in reality he hasn’t gone too far because his menagerie of images has been constructed and resolved using the steely determination, discipline and restraint of a true formalist.

It would also be all too easy to dismiss Schranzer’s work as the scribbling of a mannerist. What prevents this is his choice of subject matter. Over the past decade Schranzer’s drawings have evolved from suggestive minimalist depictions of what appear to be inflated rubber rings in works such as 'Scrum' produced in 2001 to full blown homoerotic or more accurately homo-social images of “skater dudes” displaying all and a little bit more in a series of works titled 'Le cul mecanique' (The mechanical arse) from 2006. With regard to their subject matter these works appeared in a nick of time at Schranzer’s last solo exhibition, just at the moment when the art world fetishisation of skateboard riders was in full swing.

In the spirit of Luce Irigaray’s influential text 'Speculum of the Other Woman' which aimed to critique a series of psychoanalytic conventions including castration, penis-envy and anal eroticism Schranzer’s work seeks to develop a diagnostic model that simultaneously dissects and represents the paradoxical condition of homosexual masculine desire.
Christopher Dean, The Speculum of the Other Man, exhibition essay, 2008.
Dean is an artist and art historian living in Sydney.


Phantastisches Stilleben (Bird of Paradise with Mechanical Lop-Lop)
2008, ink and collage on paper, 76 x 56 cm
Signed and inscribed reverse with title, date, catalogue no. MMXXXX
Provenance: Collection the Artist
Exhibited: 2008 Phantastische Stilleben and other drawings, Flinders Street Gallery, Sydney. 2009 Making Our Times, University Gallery, The University of Newcastle, NSW. 2010 No Right Turn — Drawing from Western Sydney, Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Emu Plains, NSW. 2013 Loplop présente Lop-Lop, Flinders Street Gallery, Sydney.

© Kurt Schranzer 2008




This gallery principally displays the Phantastisches Stilleben drawings. To view some of the works retrospectively included in the exhibition see the following galleries: Gallery of Selected Artworks 1992–2001, The Great Library, I Shall Wrap the Sailor, and Le cul mécanique. >>

NOTE: Due to the low resolution of computer screens, the lines of these drawings will present as slightly pixelated. A 'jagged' quality will be particularly evident on some diagonals and curves; fine black ink lines will appear faint and tend towards grey on screen.