Johann Garber Austrian, b. 1947


Born in Wiener Neustadt on August 12, 1947, Johann Garber initially grew up with his grandmother and then later in orphanages. After attending school, he began an apprenticeship as a painter and house painter, but he quit before completing it, having decided to work for a construction company. Garber’s first stay at the “Lower Austrian State Mental Health and Care Facility at Gugging” was in 1966, following the completion of his nine-month compulsory military service in the pioneer corps. In 1968, at the age of 21, he moved to the facility permanently and has remained there except for one year. In 1981 Garber was part of the group of artistically talented patients who moved into what is now the House of Artists on the basis of Leo Navratil’s initiative. The first drawings made by Garber are documented from 1977 onward.

His first sheets were created using crayons, gouache, and colored pencils, and they are colorful depictions of people, animals, and machines. There is almost no hint of the complex networks of text and image that would follow later. He created his fi rst pen-and-ink drawings. in 1979. In the early eighties, Garber began to create pictures based on reproductions of artworks (including prints by Albrecht Dürer). By turning his attention to the visual worlds of others, Garber succeeded in developing his own visual worlds.


- Museum Gugging