22 years have passed since the encounter of Trieste with the young Austrian painters. Austria Ferix (half way between ferox and felix) took place in 1985 in our gallery, at the Teatro Auditorium and at Palazzo Costanzi. Some people still remember it. That new wave of painters was shaking the world of contemporary art and critics and galleries from everywhere started to estimate the impact.
In Wien there was my mate Schmalix, then my friend Steinek (still so beautiful and shiny); in the end, during my visits in the capital, it was Hubert Scheibl the one who became my inseparable friend. I still recall our mornings in the studio, our departures at night from Wien to Trieste by train hiding in the wagon-lit huge canvases which are still spreading energy from our houses’ wall. I remember all our lunches and dinners; with Christoph (Ransmayr) who was about to finish Die letzte Welt; with Hans Magnus (Enzensberger) always sitting near Cristoph who kept on telling jokes / teasing us in his harsh and biting English
Then our roads parted; maybe because in our life we are sometimes unable to keep everything we would like to.
Now, after more than 20 years, our roads meet again. Me, with my story, Hubert with his. But we are there, so close to each other; we can take each other back quite easily. And in fact that is what we have done, just taking each other back again … easily … with the natural simplicity of two friends who have just parted on the house door and after 22 years they just ring the bell again.
It is the same studio, at the same street number in the same city. “We are only twenty years older” says Huber laughing; 20 years which don’t seem to have traced too deep tracks.
Humour is an old recipe against death. They know it well in the Canary Islands where if you know the slang you can laugh to death even at the supermarket. And also Hubert’s studio, a cradle for the sense of humour, knows it well; that studio reminds of Blade Runner’s inventor laboratory-house, so full of deviating objects and remote-controlled robots; in pretty the same manner Hubert is warmly surrounded by his toys, by kilometres of keyboards for electronic music, by objects so unusual and paradoxical for a world which is used to recording everything; those same things which have always accompanied his catalogues: film frames, literature pieces, outer space images.
Happy with these references, Hubert’s painting art is open to every blow of inspiration, may it be also that deriving from a different discipline. And the irony with which he stands in front of his canvases demonstrates his profound intelligence who is typical of someone who doesn’t want to take himself too seriously (how sad are those artists convinced that the world doesn’t’ go on without them: there are at least a couple of them in each city). Hubert, on the contrary, is always able to raise the temperature. And once again after all this time, he is preparing me to absorb a new message, contemporary and powerful. Only the great artists are capable of this! Thirty years in this work/vocation and I can still smell them from faraway. They don’t like to talk about them, they rarely tell you what they are doing; their confidence and conscience do not allow them.
How beautiful it was the day I saw him, Hubert, after 22 years getting off a car in Trieste alongside the Rive. Who finds a friend again finds a treasure AGAIN!
Alessandro Rosada, maggio 2007