Heinz Gappmayr

One important factor is that Gappmayr’s works are not only made of language, i.e. the form of their presentation – be it textual, oral or on data carriers – would be secondary, but their concrete visual presentation constitutes the essence of the works. 

The second factor is that Gappmayr’s visual texts are restricted to a very specific terminology. On principle, words for medium-sized physical objects, i.e. the paradigmatic terms that suggest to us the illustrative character of language, never appear in these works. And, in general, any reference to something singular, physical, or incidental is absent. Gappmayr explains his conceptual framework as follows: “Categorical terms differ from perceptual terms. They exist prior to any experience. They have no relation to the objects of perception. They are basic prerequisites for thinking. They include concepts like space, time, relation, quantity, similarity, difference, etc.”1

Gappmayr differentiates between terms and words. A term is, for example, what synonymous words in different languages share. However, the term remains a phenomenon within the language and is not hypostasised and given an independent existence outside of language, as happens with the concept of meaning in other semantic approaches. In general, the meaning of “meaning” plays a subordinate role in Gappmayr’s work.

From: Martin van der Koelen, Gappmayr – zum 75. Geburtstag, in Heinz Gappmayr, Auf der Fläche – Im Raum. Paintings + Art-In-Architecture, Mainz 2000, vol. 26, p. 4


 1 Heinz Gappmayr, Konstituenten visueller und konzeptueller Texte in: Text und Kritik, Sonderband IX: Visuelle Poesie, Munich 1997, p. 83.
 2 Cf. id., S. 82.


In the exhibition:

Heinz Gappmayr
Weiss, 1967/2020
46 x 33 cm
Courtesy of Dr. Dorothea van der Koelen, Mainz