Georg Paul Thomann (1945-2005) is a fictitious 20th century artist created by the Austrian art group monochrom, founded by artist Johannes Grenzfurthner. In their words, "Georg Paul Thomann does not exist, at least not as a physical entity. He is an art avatar and impure fiction."1
The group created Thomann artworks such as the one at left, "Selbstporträt als kopierte Schilling-Euro Tabelle" (xerox on cardboard, 2001). Presumably this accords with the wide-ranging and rather absurd aesthetic they attributed to him: "Georg Paul Thomann has devoted himself to the grey zones where systems intersect: the art (market), politics, economics, pop, gaiety, vanity, good clean fanaticism, crisis, language, culture, self-content, identity, utopia, Georg Paul Thomann, mania and despair. The technique underlying his work is that of being and working in the fields of painting/the fine arts, Pop/avant-garde, theory/reflection, interventionism/politics, gaiety/lust/tragedy, (self-)configuration/mystification, and city/village.2
Thomann was cooked up in response to a dilemma posed by monochrom's invitation to represent Austria at the 2002 Sao Paulo Biennial in Brazil. The left-leaning group felt uneasy representing Austria, which at the time was headed up by a rightist government, so they created Thomann to be their representative. They further distanced themselves from their ambassadorial capacity by providing Thomann with an abrasive personality that gave him great license in what he could say and do.
Thomann was 'killed' by monochrom in 2005, and the group staged a mock funeral in the city of Hall in Tirol honor of his demise. Thomann's tombstone is engraved with the URL of the Thomann project. The Thomann project web pages feature a lengthy biography of Thomann
26 feb 08: On the Thomann project web pages appears information about a book on Thomann, Who shot Immanence?: On The Dynamics of Appropriation and Intervention in the Work of Georg Paul Thomann, with contributions by over two dozen writers. This volume does not appear on the web site of its publisher, edition selene, so its existence must presently be considered doubtful.
Johannes Grenzfurthner, "Georg Paul Thomann, or, A Short History of a Collaborative Conspiracy"
Pranks 2. Published by RE/Search magazine.