Karl Gietl was born in Wocester, South Africa in 1970. He grew up in the small mining town of Benoni and was educated in Johannesburg.
Karl Gietl left his studio in Troyeville and Johannesburg on May 4 to fly to Paris where he will spend six months at the Cité des Arts. He won this trip to France with the 1998 Atelier Volkskas Prize, a trophy awarded each year by the South African banking group Absa. A sort of consecration for this young painter of 28, a graduate of the Johannesburg School of the Arts. A blessing, too, for this South African citizen who admits to being saturated with the stress and violence of his city. Johannesburg is however his main source of inspiration.
From his journeys, his adventures and his encounters, he draws a kind of diary on canvas. The thirty-five small oils (16 × 26 cm) that won him the first Volkskas prize represent as many cityscapes, figures and scenes that he captions like photos.
His style, focused on painting rather than conceptual art, is distinguished by a very personal tone, in a context where the artistic purpose is often linked, directly or indirectly, to politics.
Karl Gietl is not, however, "out of touch", but he only claims his own point of view which draws on reality with great intensity.