Hannes Schwarz (1926-2014) was a founding member of the Jungen Gruppe and the Forum Stadtpark and actively participated in the opening of the Styrian art scene to modern and contemporary currents in the visual arts in the 1950s and 1960s.
His personal fate as a graduate of an elite National-Socialist-School and as a young front-line soldier in a war profoundly shaped him and determined the rest of his life. He came to terms with his traumatizing experiences and his intellectual reorientation in two ways: on the one hand, through intensive reading of philosophical writings of the immediate post-war period (especially existentialism) and, on the other hand, through systematic reception and subsequent independent further development of important currents in contemporary art, from which he, like many other Austrian painters of his generation, had been completely cut off during the National Socialist era.
For Hannes Schwarz, thinking and painting were very closely connected; both were an indispensable necessity for him, a survival strategy, so to speak. The extent to which this was the case can be seen in the numerous notes and recordings that Reingard Schwarz, the artist's daughter, found in her father's estate. They can certainly be understood as messages; in any case, they form the intellectual background to Hannes Schwarz's pictorial work and convey a very authentic picture of what drove the artist, how he saw himself in the context of contemporary art, and what doubts plagued him. In addition, they are also a document of the times, as they bear witness to the mental hardships of a man who experienced National Socialism at first hand, and to the spiritual, ideological conclusions he drew from this experience.