From his motorcycle riding and his daily proximity to the machine Hubert Dobler gets his inspiration. Sometimes chaos and rpm, sometimes the open road like a personnal planetwide museum.
There’s something immediate and brutal about the Art of Hubert Dobler, the visual aesthetic might appear less important than the immediate impression, the emotion. The art lies within the feeling, within the experience. This particular approach obviously sparks the sympathy of the biker, easily affected by the screams of a howling motor, always moved by the acrid smoke coming from a tormented tyre. The Motorcycle Boy questions the artist, actively working to the machines terminal revolution.
Motorcycle Boy: Could you please introduce yourself?
Hubert Dobler: I am from Austria, live and work since 2001 in NYC, did graduate as an Engineer, studied Architecture for 2 years at the Technical University in Vienna and hold a Masters Degree in Fine Art, from the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna. Traveling for 3 month to the Sahara Desert in Algeria, on a Motorbike in 1986, left a big impression behind.
How did you choose to merge art and motorcycle?
It happened out of necessity. I got invited to participate in a group show, called “Soho in Ottakring” in Vienna (2000), was broke, had no studio space. As I took my motorcycle to check out the location for the exhibition it came into my mind to play with what I was sitting on, a Husqvarna 510TE from 1988. I did attach a 6 meters long handle bar (straight pipe) to the bike and called it “Glider”. The “Glider” occupied 4 parking spots in front of the Gallery for the duration of the show. On day one after the opening we were already running into some difficulties to keep the sculpture up for the entire 4 weeks, that’s when I started to like the interaction with my artwork in public spaces.
Your creations/machines are chained, abandoned by their driver, forced to work in an unusual way. Do you want them to mechanically express human feelings like rage and anger, or to bring fear and chaos in the mind of the viewer?
My work revolves around chaos and utilizes “masculine tools,” such as motorcycles, chainsaws and concrete drums, recording the traces these machines generate when allowed to exist outside their conventional use. By taking apart and rearranging objects out of context, I examine the emotional and visceral ties that the viewer may experience when machines are abandoned and operate in an unrestrained fashion. It’s an exploration of different characters in a playful way, as I show in “Bull”, “Rabbit”, “Horse”, “Glider” or “Roundabout2”. I use, abuse, and when they break, I fix and use them again.
Around 2005, you made a trip between NYC and Miami on an old Honda CB750 called “1ft3 Mobile Gallery” equipped with a transparent box showcasing two of your artworks along the way. It’s surely the most engaged Art/Bike ride I’m aware of. What are your memories from this experience?
The “1ft3 Mobile Gallery” is a one cubic foot clear plexiglass box on the rear rack of my motorcycle, where you usually carry a hard case to store a helmet or luggage. I use the “1ft3 Mobile Gallery” to display my art work, and invite other artists to show their work as well. Its a great experience to go on a road trip with my “Mobile Gallery”. Random people are very curious what that plexiglass box is all about, and eager to know about the “stuff” in box. A dry-erase marker is attached to the “1ft3 Mobile Gallery” inviting people to leave their comments or notes.
Was it more Art, Bike, or a perfect mix of both?
It was and is about exploring options, showing ideas, its an ongoing Art project.
What about NYC to Nevada without a map, “Spoken Map”?
In 2003 I took off from NYC, heading west, on a Honda XR600. During the 5 week long trip, most of it on smaller roads, I asked people to give me directions to Nevada as I wanted to travel without a physical map. It was a wonderful experience, people did describe the location where we were and explained me where I should go next, luckily sometimes it happened that they were drifting off and shared their stories. I will never forget running into a farmer at a Diner somewhere in Midwest, spending all day listening to him, ending up camping another night at the same spot in a nearby sunflower field.
The bike as a symbol. What does it represent for you?
Individuality, power, like a horse or a bull with lots of stored energy.
The bike as a sensation. What does it evoke to you?
It’s an awesome feeling sitting on a fired up, vibrating, smelly engine block, twisting the throttle wide open, and taking off like a rocket into the unknown while shifting trough all the gears.
What are your favorite references in the motorcycle culture?
Movies: The Great Escape, Easy Rider, On Any Sunday.
Sport: I like to watch motocross/supercross races, off-road endurance races like the Dakar or the Baja 1000, and also the Moto GP.
What is your ideal bike?
My first gasoline powered bike was a moped Puch M50 Cross, then I had an old Suzuki 350 for the 3 month trip to the Desert in Algeria. Later on I did compete in one of the first Erzberg Races (hare scramble) in Austria with a 1988 Husqvarna 510TE . Now I also own a Honda CB550 and two CB750s from the 70s (beautiful, naked, classic bikes) and a KTM450 to hit trails and tracks upstate NY. I use all of my motorcycles for riding on/off road and for making my art work as well, like the kinetic objects “Bull” and “Roundabout2” or producing “burned rubber paintings”. There might not be the ideal bike, but for the fun of it, its great to have one which easily lets you pop up wheelies.
Your favorite road?
A long wide open dirt road, with some turns.
What would consider to be the greatest quality of a biker?
Not sure, I think just because you ride a motorcycle doesn’t mean that you have certain qualities.
In a world without bike, what would be your vehicle?
Flying saucer, my legs, bicycle, car, train, boat, plane, rocket…
In a world without engines, what would be your inspiration?
Thank you, Hubert Dobler !