“As a drawer Erich Gruber encircles his roots so as to disspel them, or at least to remove their heaviness.” (Dieter Kleinpeter)

Catholic existences in every sense
Erich Gruber, graphic artist

Hare, hound and stag, dolls and putti, Catholic kitsch, angels, madonnas, second hand – a staging in every sense.  Roots do not have to be found, they lie there for all to see and appear to hurt, sometimes.

Erich Gruber draws symbols of his origins from the province of Salzburg and refers to small pictures of saints as well as to wayside shrines or Corpus Christi processions.  It is not always certain where the border is to be drawn between serious and ridiculous but that is inherent in the matter.  The pencil encircles the object nervously and sometimes erratically, tries to approach, then rejects and abandons it.  Sometimes a grin appears and that makes the horror concealed behind the façade of traditions relative.

Second-hand models for pictures as the souvenir stands have long since taken over the diversification of the basis and the availability of images of the divine.  The appearance of some deputies is an added factor and provides the material for Gruber’s graphic approach.  Then, in the midst of events, like a picture interruption, “real” figures appear, drawn and seen in the museum or zoo, naturally alien.  Indeed the drawing in the museum of natural history is one of his preferred activities, thus coming full circle to the other models.

As a drawer Erich Gruber encircles his roots so as to disspel them, or at least to remove their heaviness.  He thereby creates interweavings of various existential conditions in the form of drawn “collages” which have great insistency and sensitivity, and which can be seen as drawings in themselves without their genealogy.

The drawer distances himself from these by an approach which is worthy of respect.


(Dieter Kleinpeter 2002)