1957 born in Pottschach, Austria
Lives and works in Vienna, Austria
An Bord 1982-1987
Consisting of the groups of works: An Bord, 1982/1983 - Borth, 1983 - Rimini I, 1984 - Rimini II, 1984 - Rimini III, 1984 - Ein Nachlass, 1985 - Stand-Orte, 1985-1988 - Briefe an ein schwarzes Getto, 1987 - Nevada, 1987
Even whilst studying from 1979-1983 at the College of Applied Art in Vienna, Robert F. Hammerstiel enters the public arena with his first exhibitions. During this period a number of series of small-format black-and-white photographs come into being, pictures of beach landscapes collected in the illustrated book An Bord which was awarded the Austrian State Prize in 1985. In austerely composed, formally minimalistic pictures Hammerstiel thematises the question of human existence. A solo exhibition, which is of great importance to him, showing these first series of pictures to be published, is presented at the Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria, in 1985. With a selection of his works for the group exhibition Preis für junge europäische Photographen, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 1987, the young artist calls attention to himself for the first time internationally.
The series Stand-Orte about abandoned, partially derelict petrol stations in Austria which, like almost all his following serialised projects, is accompanied by a catalogue, again takes up these vanitas thoughts. Two solo exhibitions at the Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum, Blau-Gelbe Galerie, Vienna, Austria, 1988 and the Frankfurter Kunstverein, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 1989, accompany these extensive series with a shared catalogue. A further important milestone for these works is an exhibition at the Museet for Fotokunst, Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, Denmark, 1990.
Peter Zawrel: …sort of finding. Americanism in Austria, Vienna 1988; in: Kulturabteilung des Landes Niederösterreich (ed.): Stand-Orte. Robert F. Hammerstiel, Vienna: Medium 8 (publication series by the Blau-Gelbe Galerie) 1988 (German and English language version)
Peter Weiermair: Bericht von der Wüste. Überlegungen zu Robert F. Hammerstiels photographischen Reflexionen, Frankfurt 1988; in: Kulturabteilung des Landes Niederösterreich (ed.): Stand-Orte. Robert F. Hammerstiel, Vienna: Medium 8 (publication series by the Blau-Gelbe Galerie) 1988 (German and English language version)
Der Stand der Dinge1988-1991
Consisting of the groups of works: Grüne Heimat, 1988-1990 - Mittagsporträts, 1989-1990 - Public Intimity, 1990-1991 - Eine weitere schwere Reise nach Hause. Die ersten Bilder, 1964/1991
With the extensive colour photograph trilogy Der Stand der Dinge. Österreich, created between 1988 and 1991, Robert F. Hammerstiel begins his research into everyday private life. He records still-life situations, past traces of human life, only undertaking minimal artistic interventions. In Mittagsporträts he shows laid dining-tables which reveal a great deal about the habits and behaviour of the absent people. In the other two series he shows how private or public offices and work-spaces are adorned with pot-plants and decorative elements which serve as a substitute for unfulfilled longings for a more beautiful world, for security and an intact natural world – images of emptiness, desolation and forsakenness, but also images based on a humorous view of reality.
In order to heighten the relationship of his images to reality, Hammerstiel from now on only uses colour. With his participation at the exhibition 60 Tage österreichisches Museum des 21. Jahrhunderts, Vienna, Austria, 1989, he and 40 other artists join the ranks of those belonging to the Austrian contemporary young art scene. A solo exhibition tour through several countries reveals the great interest shown in this group of works. The Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz, Linz, Austria, 1991 opens this series of exhibitions and is at the same time publisher of the comprehensive catalogue. Further important stations are the Heidelberger Kunstverein, Heidelberg, Germany, 1991, the Galerie im Taxispalais, Innsbruck, Austria, 1991, the Museum für Photographie, Brunswick, Germany, 1991, the Akhnaton Gallery, Center of Contemporary Art, Cairo, Egypt, 1991, and again the Museet for Fotokunst, Brandts Klaedefabrik, Odense, Denmark, 1992. An invitation to the festival Mai de la photographie, Rheims, France, 1991, marks the beginning of the presence of his works in France which has continued to the present day. In 1994 he participates in the group exhibition Who’s Looking at the Family?, Barbican Art Gallery, London, UK at which international artists present their contributions to the theme of "Family Life".
Peter Baum: Grüne Heimat, Mittagsporträts, Public Intimity, Linz 1991; in: Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz (ed.): Robert F. Hammerstiel. Der Stand der Dinge. Österreich, Linz 1991.
Hans Gercke: Die gedeckten Tische des Alltags oder Zwischen Ritual und Zufall. Gedanken zu den Mittagsporträts von Robert F. Hammerstiel, Heidelberg 1991; in: Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz (ed.): Robert F. Hammerstiel. Der Stand der Dinge. Österreich, Linz 1991.
Consisting of the groups of works: Salzburger Blätter, 1992 - Inside.Out, 1993
The series Salzburger Blätter came into being as a result of a visit to Salzburg awarded to him in 1991. For the first time these are large-format works, concerned with a study of photography itself as a medium. In addition to a solo exhibition in the Fotogalerie Wien, Vienna, Austria, 1992 where he has been presented on a regular basis from 1983 to the present day, his participation at the exhibition European Photography Award 1992, Museum Bahnhof Westend, Berlin, Germany, 1992, is worthy of mention as it provided this series with crucial exposure to the public.
In 1993 a further large-format series comes into being. Inside.Out, photographs of gift-packaged or shrink-wrapped objects are shown at a solo exhibition in the Rupertinum, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria, 1993, as well as participating at several exhibitions bringing together contemporary Austrian photographic works, such as Una Vision Real, Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, Mexico; Künstlerhaus, Vienna, Austria, both 1997, as well as at Fisch & Fleisch. Photographie aus Österreich 1945-1995, Kunsthalle Krems, Krems-Stein, Austria, 1995.
Carl Aigner: Ein Bild ist ein Bild ist ein Bild… Approximatives zu den neuen Arbeiten von Robert F. Hammerstiel, Vienna 1992; in Bilder Nr. 81, Fotogalerie Wien, Vienna 1992
Make it up1993-1997
Consisting of the groups of works: Make it up I, 1993-1994 - Make it up II, 1993-1994 - Mit vereinten Kräften, 1994 - Landnahme, 1994 - Zimmer mit Bild, 1994 - Auf-decken, 1994 - Versuche über die Privatheit, 1994 - Intérieur, 1996 - Make it up III, 1996 - Out of the Blue II, 1996 - Stuck, 1996 - Out of the Blue III, 1997
In the years from 1993 to 1997, the large group of works entitled Make it up comes into being. Again he has photographed packaging, this time filled with Barbie dolls and other dolls and toys. In this case Robert F. Hammerstiel goes a step further, thematising the deceptively "perfect world" presented to children as a goal to be aimed for but characterised by loss of identity, fictitious utopia and role clichés. This idea is further minimalised in Out of the Blue, where only empty packaging wrappers are shown.
One of the most comprehensive solo presentations of these groups of works takes place at the Focke-Museum, Bremer Landesmuseum für Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte, Bremen, Germany, 1994. This is Robert F. Hammerstiel's first major show of works and is moreover accompanied by a publication which plays a decisive role in establishing contact with the Galerie Espace d'art Yvonamor Palix, Paris, France which represents him in France over the next few years. In 1997 the Galerie shows the large-format Barbie portraits together with the displays of Barbie clothes and the subsequent series Out of the Blue III. These works are noticeably well received in Paris and lay the foundation for widespread interest in his works in France. These works also mark the beginning of an intensive cooperation lasting up to the present day with Lothar Albrecht's German gallery in Frankfurt. Almost simultaneously with the exhibition at the Bremen museum, the L.A.Galerie - Lother Albrecht, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 1994 presents selected items from these groups of works. From this time forward new works by Hammerstiel are presented here biennially. With the help of the Lothar Albrecht gallery he regularly participates in major international fairs. The Galerie Chobot, Vienna, Austria, 1994 and 1999 also shows interest in his works, presenting two solo exhibitions.
In addition to a noteworthy solo exhibition in the Aine Art Museum, Tornio, Finland, 1996, Hammerstiel has been represented in the Scandinavian countries on a number of occasions by solo and group exhibitions. Jyväskylä in Finland, Oslo in Norway and Stockholm in Sweden are further exhibition venues during this period. Altogether, these years are characterised by many tours as well as travel scholarships which are for the most part awarded by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Education and Art. Prolonged stays in Paris lead to Robert F. Hammerstiel beginning to move his main place of residence to Paris.
Carl Aigner: Da-Heim, Vienna 1994; in: Eikon Heft 10/11, Vienna 1994
Michael Müller: Vom Verlust des Realen. Zur Photographie Robert F. Hammerstiels, Bremen 1994; in: Focke-Museum, Bremer Landmuseum für Kunst- und Kulturgeschichte (ed.): make it up. Robert F. Hammerstiel. Photographische Arbeiten, Bremen 1994
Carl Aigner: Konvex - Konkav. Prospektives zu neuesten Arbeiten von Robert F. Hammerstiel, Vienna 1996; in: Aine Art Museum (ed.): Robert F. Hammerstiel, Tornio 1996
Peter Zawrel: Surrogate, Vienna 1996; in: Aine Art Museum (ed.): Robert F. Hammerstiel, Tornio 1996
Jean-Michel Ribettes: Die Realität unter einem Präservativ, Paris 1997; in: Espace d'art Yvonamor Palix (ed.) Robert F. Hammerstiel, Paris 1997 (French and English language version)
Consisting of the groups of works: Glücksfutter, 1998 - Rex I, 1998 - Rex II, 1998 - Transponder, 1998 - Good Luck, 1998 - Buffalo, 1998 - Pussicat, 1998 - Rin Tin Tin, 1998
The first solo exhibition occupying several rooms and floors of the Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken, Saarbruecken, Germany, 1998, marks a broadening of Hammerstiel's work. The group of works entitled Glücksfutter which was specially created for the exhibition in Saarbrücken in co-production with Le Crédac, Centre d'art d'Ivry, Ivry-sur-Seine, France, 1998 and involved a large amount of research and travel, is the artist's most comprehensive work thus far. This is the first time that he increasingly shows ready-mades as well as colour photographs. This group of works deals with pets as bearers of the longing for supposed happiness in a world which has become a commodity. What man is, is partly revealed in his dealings with animals.
Again, an exhibition takes place at the L.A.Galerie - Lothar Albrecht, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 1998 parallel to the institutional exhibition. At the exhibition Milch vom ultrablauen Strom - Strategien österreichischer Künstler 1960-2000, Kunsthalle Krems, Krems-Stein, Austria, 2000 these works are introduced in Austria. Later, Robert F. Hammerstiel enjoys considerable success with the same groups of works at the Cristinerose Gallery, New York City, USA, 2001. For some years this gallery has been his representative in the United States. The works on the theme Animal are shown again at the Fotogalerie Wien, Vienna, Austria, 2002.
Dialektische Bilder. Zur Archäologie des Privaten by Bernd Schulz, Saarbrücken 1998; in: Robert F. Hammerstiel: Glücksfutter, Heidelberg: Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg 1998
Poesie, Kritik und Ironie. Gedanken über Anwesenheiten und Abwesenheiten in den fotografischen Bildern Robert F. Hammerstiels by Peter Zawrel, Vienna 1998; in: Robert F. Hammerstiel: Glücksfutter, Heidelberg: Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg 1998
Häusliche Gefühle angesichts einer optischen Falle by Christian Gattinoni, Paris 1998; in: Robert F. Hammerstiel: Glücksfutter, Heidelberg: Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg 1998
Consisting of the groups of works: Die blaue Lagune I, 1996 - Die blaue Lagune II, 1998 - Atlantis, 1998 - Neue Heimat, 1998 - Yucca I, 1998 - Über allen Wipfeln ist Ruh', 2000 - Espace Intime, 2002
A second part of the exhibition in the Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken, Saarbruecken, Germany 1998 consists of groups of works which are devoted to man's dealings with nature and clearly speak of his alienation. The associated publication covers the complete groups of works and shows the three-dimensional works “in situ”. A literary text by Elfriede Jelinek emphasises the theme as it succeeds in drawing the reader's gaze to the sense of unease emanating from Hammerstiel's works, without actually interpreting them.
The theme "natural artificiality" surfaces for the first time in the work Die blaue Lagune I. An invitation to the exhibition Prospekt '96, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 1996 together with major contemporary artists enables Robert F. Hammerstiel to implement an installation for the first time. Die blaue Lagune I consists of three glass objects which use ready-mades from a pet-shop (transparency with a motif of underwater landscapes) to invoke aquariums – a stage-managed nature which raises the question of mechanisms to represent reality.
In 1999 the artist has an opportunity to consolidate this theme in a large exhibition hall of glass in the Fonds régional d'art contemporain Alsace (FRAC-Alsace), Sélestat, France. He plays with the interchange of nature outside and inside. Photographs, slide projections, ready-mades and banners expand the vocabulary of this installation which is visible outside from afar. At the MAK-Galerie, Österreichisches Museum für angewandte Kunst/Gegenwartskunst, Vienna, Austria, 2001, too, an opportunity presents itself to implement a major project with large-format photographs and a multimedia installation. For the first time Hammerstiel uses the medium of film.
As "artist in residence" at Pougues-les-Eaux, France, Robert F. Hammerstiel again takes up the theme of pet animals, combining it with questions of projections of the wish for domestic happiness. Here his interest in the private house and questions of home and security evident in his later works is already visible. He implements these thoughts in a forceful installation at the exhibition Animagus, Centre d'art contemporain, Pougues-les-Eaux, France, 2002.
Patricia Brignone: Natürlich - Künstlich, Paris 1999; in: Fonds régional d'art contemporain Alsace (ed.): Robert F. Hammerstiel, Sélestat 1999
Alles in bester Ordnung - Part 12004-2006
Consisting of the groups of works: Alles in bester Ordnung I, 2004 - Alles in bester Ordnung II, 2004 - Die blaue Lagune III, 1999/2004 - Die blaue Lagune IV, 2004 - Made by Nature - Made in China, 2004-2006 - Playground I, 2005 - Private Stories I, 2005-2006 - Tamburino Hotel, 2006
On the basis of a computer-generated advertising placard for an estate of terraced houses which he also uses as the "establishing shot" for his following work, Robert F. Hammerstiel develops an extensive work consisting of two parts separated by a period of time: one from 2003 to 2006, the other in 2007. They are separated by a major exhibition commissioned for Mozart Year 2006 at the Museum der Moderne Salzburg.
Proceeding from objects of everyday life, from a view of household items, Robert F. Hammerstiel is concerned in Alles in bester Ordnung with man's need for security, home, comfort… and the dreams associated with these.
During this period, video work and installations increasingly come into being. An invitation to the Styrian Autumn Art Festival, Graz, Austria, 2004 enables Hammerstiel to implement a major installation in a hall specially built for this purpose. He places 126 quasi identical yucca palms with 126 information labels there and supplements this by projecting video works onto the walls at both ends of the hall.
For the solo exhibition at the LA Gallery Beijing, Beijing, China, 2004, a branch of the L.A.Galerie - Lothar Albrecht in Frankfurt/Main, Hammerstiel presents a series of new works all relating to the production of goods in China. These images are also exhibited at the Odense Foto Triennale at the Fyns Art Museum, Odense, Denmark, 2006. Here Hammerstiel confronts his works with classical works from the collection of paintings. An invitation to the Galerie Michèle Chomette, Paris, France, 2006 for a presentation of his latest works brings him back to Paris. Since then, his works have been represented by this gallery.
Ruth Horak: Schönheit in unsere nüchterne Welt! Vienna 2005; in: Eikon Heft 51, Vienna 2005
Michelle Debat: Motifs de l'Economie, Paris 2006; in: Galerie Michèle Chomette (ed.): Robert F. Hammerstiel, Paris 2006
Petra Noll: Playgrounds, Vienna 2007; in: Spielräume, Stadtmuseum Neuötting (ed.), Neuötting 2007
Vergiss Mozart. Mediale Reflexionen über Distanz und Nähe2005-2006
Consisting of the groups of works: So weit so nah I, 2005-2006 - So weit so nah II, 2005-2006 - Look at me, 2005-2006 - Once upon a time, 2005-2006 - Accoutrement, 2005-2006 - All for your delight, 2006 - Wen die Götter lieben, 2006 - Playground II, 2006 - Who can sing a song to unfrighten me?, 2006 - In search of I, 2006 - In search of II, 2006 - Café Mozart, 2006 - I want you to want me I, 2006 - I want you to want me II, 2006 - Talk about Mozart, 2006
In the Mozart Jubilee Year, Robert F. Hammerstiel follows an invitation to a series of progressive exhibitions on three floors of the Rupertinum, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Salzburg, Austria, 2006. This extensive solo exhibition is a critical study of the image of Mozart which is presented today and questions strategies and models of various appropriations and uses of the "Mozart trademark". As in his work in general, the preoccupation with longings and dreams takes centre-stage. By means of this complex exhibition project, Robert F. Hammerstiel finally completes the step to becoming a multimedia artist. Video works predominate in the exhibition. Almost all the photographic series are confronted by acoustic material.
Alongside the exhibition Robert F. Hammerstiel, together with media artist Walter Mirtl, develops a website which can, amongst other things, be used as an interactive platform. Here the visitor can today still access all the information available on the internet regarding cafés worldwide with the name of "Mozart". He learns that in spite of the differing approaches taken by the various websites, the Mozart image is standardised worldwide: www.talkaboutmozart.com
August Ruhs: In den Niederungen des Erhabenen. Zum Alltagsmythos am Beispiel Mozarts, Vienna 2006; in: Museum der Moderne Salzburg (ed.): robert f. hammerstiel. vergiss mozart. mediale reflexionen über distanz und nähe, editionrupertinum 015, Salzburg 2006
Alles in bester Ordnung - Part 22007-2008
Consisting of the groups of works: Alles in bester Ordnung III, 2007 - Alles in bester Ordnung IV, 2007 - Playground III, 2007 - What more do you want? I, 2007 - Vergiss mich bitte nicht, 2007 - Instant Vacations, 2007-2008 - Private Territories, 2007-2008 - Private Stories II, 2007-2008
From mid-2006 onwards Robert F. Hammerstiel again takes up the project Alles in bester Ordnung which he had begun in 2004. Numerous new installations, photographic and video works come into being and are presented at a large solo exhibition in the Landesgalerie Linz am Oberösterreichen Landesmuseum, Linz, Austria, 2007-2008. In this project consisting of several series he decisively returns the human element to his work. After questioning an apparently model world, he wishes to research, process and question the behavioural patterns and codes which characterise the relationship between mass-produced industrial products and their individual uses according to personal preference. The question being dealt with here is the relationship between reality and appearance, institutionalised illusions, the idea of identity images sold on the market, recreated reality, advertisement strategies and the promises conveyed by them, and the further restoration of desires and longings.
Andreas Spiegl: Second Life ganz analog, Vienna 2007; in: Landesgalerie Linz (ed.): Robert F. Hammerstiel. Alles in bester Ordnung, Linz 2008
August Ruhs: "Protect me from what I want!", Vienna 2007; in: Landesgalerie Linz (ed.): Robert F. Hammerstiel. Alles in bester Ordnung, Linz 2008
Martin Hochleitner: "Die Objekte werden so angeordnet, dass sie die Ursache ausdrücken, deren Ergebnis sie sind." (Paul Strand). Anmerkungen zur Konzeption, Wirkung und Rezeption der Bilder Robert F. Hammerstiels, Linz 2007; in: Landesgalerie Linz (ed.): Robert F. Hammerstiel. Alles in bester Ordnung, Linz 2008