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Muehl, Otto

El Cabrito Die Finca auf La Gomera, Otto Muehl


1925 Grodnau/Austria - 2013 Olhao/Portugal

„El Cabrito“ The Finca on La Gomera
lower right "Mühl 7. 5. 88" and "EC 4" (= El Cabrito 4)
acrylic on canvas
39½×47¼ in

Otto Muehl, protagonist of the „Wiener Aktionismus“ (Viennese Actionism), acquired a finca on the Canary Island La Gomera in the mid-1980s. The extensive estate „El Cabrito“ served the artist’s community as a place to live and retreat. The painting, created on May 7, 1988, shows a dynamic view of the finca, situated between palm trees on the Atlantic coast. However, the dark mountain peaks of volcanic rock with steep slopes covered by low bushes dominate the composition and give the viewer a feeling for the powerful nature of this Spanish island.

Along with Hermann Nitsch and Günter Brus, Otto Muehl was one of the main representatives of Viennese Actionism in the 1960s. After 1970, the commune he founded in the Friedrichshof (Burgenland) became the center of his artistic and private life. Influenced by his training as a teacher and his studies in art education at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Muehl became interested in art therapy at an early age. The idea of art as a window to the true self also applies to Muehl’s painting. His expressive paintings are mostly created in only one day, are gestural, intuitive and highly energetic.