Exhibition "Illusion of the fire" Artspace David MD in Vienna 2004



If the body of a snake, a mighty, strebels itself, close beside ours, rebel itself, turns, goes down, and – my God – even touches, slowly and disgustingly makes us completely sick, like a rotten piece, so that it becomes tight around the heart, it bolts us, - and all that at night in the darkness (and not only once, several times), so I ask you, diary: What can save us? What helps to get over this nightmare, to cope with that sort of view retrospectively at daytime? What does dry the sweaty breast, allays all this poison and the bad fume which remains then and unfortunately, does not pass by itself? You insist on the voice reason. And what is that supposed to achieve? Isn't it indifferent that this awful experience can be basically only an illusion, isn't it indifferent in view of the fact that it was exactly the same?

The next morning I ask you then: Aren't we all creatures of God? Tell me: Yes or No!?---you say: Yes, - we are. But now and then we are also divorced and remain desolate, apparently for no reason. Therefore, we search – abandoned, homeless – for protection and take refuge with the powers of our sort. In adversity we turn to all those who make promises to us, augur something, in good faith and fully trust. We invocate them, call their names, include them in our sighs and prayers: Maria help, Christ on the shroud have mercy upon us, Buddha awake us always at the right time from our bad dreams and clear our minds. Help us to open our third eye, so that we learn to see and best our visions. And open our hearts, far and wide as the prairie.

I have no more fears!---Who can say this for oneself? Wouldn't give us someone who behaves like this nothing less than the heebie-jeebies, - but probably all the time as an example? Wouldn't we are timid? Could we to hold such a gaze without shirking from the look? Could we stand firm to such looks without having to make way? I have no more fear, the tall stranger of the Miccosukee – and he gives us a cathartic smile, sends out light, donates a modest knowledge: Take the braided wheel and also hold your dreams at bay. Resistance is resting in the net of the spider. And be mindful of an old saw: The way through the deepest darkness leads to the brightest light. The path is narrow which leads to the aim, with largely dangers which threaten to keep you from achieving it. However, you are the largest dangers to yourself. It is on you. Thus this is the first step on the way to fortitude.

It is the fire which tips the balance in Thomas Girbl's work. Even the photographs he uses in the form of silkscreens, only became visible with the help of the fire. Girbls collages burnt in the course of their origin. You can see it clearly. The fire shines through them. It becomes obviously in the variety of the yellow, sienna and brown tones, which the mounted paper on linen shows us.

Thomas Girbl's exhibition treads a path, a way of release, from the diary number 7/2/1970 up to the third eye of the creative genius. It is a round tour clockwise, from 1 to 25. On the large sizes there prevail the seriousness of spiritual meetings, on the small ones predominates the play with light and shade, with colour and form predominates. The large sizes show icons of the religious pop culture, the small carvings in paper, framed or complemented from exposed objects of the everyday life.

Thomas Girbl is a searcher. He has the big unknown tribe of the Miccosukee for his personal protection. Side by side both are documenting acquired freedom, give us a smile, as if they wanted to say us: In you, in your being, in your thinking and acting, in your doing and leaving the being of the world is reflected. Everything is decided in you. There is no voice in her you would not hear. Thyself do not aspirate a sound which would not find an echo. Thus this is the first step on the way to fortitude. 


Eugen Maria Schulak PhD. - Philosophical Office Vienna 

During the opening of the Exhibition in the tonArt Gallery 2002



The craft and the control of the fire, these first and basic steps on the way of mankind, also stamp the newest works of Thomas Girbl, permanently and crucially. The inspiration was inflamed by the bush fires of Australia, a life destroying and rebuilding natural force within the scope of a legendary, archaic world.

The mysterious, which is attributed to the bushmen, is also found in other form in Girbl’s pictures. How it was possible to catch the fire, to tame it and finally put it down on Paper, the painter does not disclose. And with good reason: It is his very own alchemistic knowledge, which he has worked out, improves constantly and from this time on protects. Nobody should dispossess him of the right on his secret.

Girbl’s pictures burnt in the course of their origin. You can see it in them clearly. There was precisely as much fires as necessary to make its effect visible, to burn down the material sacrificed to it and to illustrate it thereby. And it was precisely as much control, dressage of the fire, as necessary not to lose everything – a balancing act teetering on the brick to destruction, an artistic calculation of the risk, an initiated fight between material and element, a skilful play with de- and construction. Admittedly, chance was also in the play, steered, but nevertheless, effectively. Then unplanned details often became only later, after a longer view, obviously.

No hesitating was possible. Also the highest concentration was required: No possibility for self-indulgence for the artist by doing the most natural to stare into the fire and observe his licking. Possibly he did it at times, nevertheless. If we think of those pictures which completely burnt or became at least useless, the pain which resulted from it and the learning process which followed.

In Girbl’s pictures nature is not only illustrated, but rather caught and impressed on the material, branded. The creative strength of the fire is always visible in burned tints. Nevertheless, in the centre there is the warm, yellow light of the flames themselves. Everything looks enlightened, it gleams. Even from the depth light still issues forth, makes the composition clear and lights it up as it come from the back. The colours of the elements join as well as horizontally and vertically drawn curves and lines. The latter look brushed, scraped, they turn and get through themselves, meet, cruise each other at central places, resolve and lose themselves, often beyond the image border. Sometimes they also return again, to move to the fire to warm themselves.


Eugen Maria Schulak PhD. - Philosophical Office Vienna