Moderni/Oswald Kofler


A thing is the best representation of itself. Others say: art is the best representation of things. It seems to me that what Oswald Kofler does is the best representation of Oswald Kofler, and the best representation of his world.

There's not much left for us to do, except to keep an eye on him. He knows that the things we pass by are messages if we pay attention to them: a piece of wood that was once on a piece of furniture, an addressed envelope, a piece of fabric or wallpaper. Messages from a real world, preferably a past world, not much more than the statement that this world once existed, which we know but easily dismiss. It takes someone to put things together, not in the order in which they once were, but as images in which they are reproduced in a new reality. The old piece becomes a suggestion, its environment a place of imagination, his imagination above all, but he smilingly gives us the freedom to make our own interpretations. 
For most of us, these fragments belong in the junk room or the museum, as the case may be. We want to neatly compartmentalise what the confrontation with the past suggests, for the sake of new coherence. That's right, but if anyone thinks that a tender look into the past excludes them from the community of today, they should come and look at these pictures. O. Kofler is as contemporary as you can get. What does modern mean? Not the desperate waving and breaking out in any direction, just not in a familiar one. Saying no in principle rarely leads to a correct statement, and then only by chance. Rather, someone is modern who knows all the paths, those already travelled and the new, tempting ones in a comfortable landscape without compulsion and without haste. Oswald Kofler is such a man.

Valentin Braitenberg



Oswald Kofler, born in Bolzano in 1923 to an old Bolzano family, spent his childhood at the Residence Kofler, a place that with its lonely park, vineyard and almond tree never forgotten stimulated his imagination. In summer, however, he lived in Renon, where he spent beautiful months.

He attended primary school in Bolzano, at a time when only Italian was used for teaching. Following the death of his father in 1934, the family moved to Merano, where they bought a house in Maia Alta, in which Oswald Kofler still resides today [artist deceased 2012].

Until 1936, the artist attended secondary school, the then Lower Technical Institute.

He spent the years 1940-44 mainly in Avelengo with the painter, Count Du Parc, devoting himself completely to photography. Under the influence of Dr. Karl Erhart, he developed his technical-artistic skills, becoming a famous master of photography after the war and producing a whole series of excellent publications.

In 1946, he went to the first post-war Venice Biennale, an experience that filled him with enthusiasm and affected him so deeply that he visited the exhibition in its various editions until the end of the 1960s.

Under the influence of the Biennale, he created his first collages in 1948. Thus began his self-taught ‘works’ in which his natural talent emerged.

In 1947, he became a founding member of the Südtiroler Künstlerbund.

The relationship with a circle of artists and the encounters with Toni Frühauf, Peter Fellin, Hans Ebensberger, Karl Plattner and Ignaz Georg Hölzl triggered a new impulse in him, the desire to create his own artistic production.

Like any true artist, Oswald Kofler went on his way without any presumption and showed great sensitivity, without compromise and always on the trail of truth, far from any sensationalism or manipulation. His way of seeing and representing reveals a balance, a solidness that stems from his deep love for nature. And we owe his works to his intuitive skills and deep sensitivity.


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