Heinrich Reisenbauer was born in 1938, and grew up on a farm in southern Lower Austria, near Wiener Neustadt. As a good student, he went to the Gymnasium (advanced, upper-level secondary school), and he helped out on his parents’ farm in the summer months. Socially, however, he was an outsider and had very little contact with his peers. Before completing secondary school, Reisenbauer had an acute psychotic episode and was admitted to the psychiatric center in Gugging for this reason in 1956. He became withdrawn there and hardly spoke a word for years. He switched departments several times within the facility until, in 1986, he was invited to the House of Artists, because the drawings Reisenbauer made at request showed talent and were remarkable for their rigorous arrangement.
He adapted well to the House of Artists and began drawing regularly, leading to success within Austria and internationally within just a few years. Although Reisenbauer displays few outward signs of emotion, he is very interested in what goes on around him and he enjoys travelling to his exhibitions, where he likes to patrol alongside his works with a stoic expression.
His drawings, most often small and drawn with black and colored pencils, invariably offer an almost serigraphic repetition of a subject that varies in miniscule details. He displays the same obsessive concern for order and balance in the most trivial daily tasks. Thus, when he is charged with the distribution of fruit to the residents of the Maison, the exercise is transformed into a veritable “installation” on the lunch table.
Biography and portrait courtesy of Stads hof Foundation.