Born on March 17, 1945 in Wegscheid, Bavaria, Josef Hofer has been mentally and physically handicapped since birth, and is almost deaf.
Together with his brother Walter, who is five years older than him, he spent his childhood on his parents’ farm in the small village St. Johann am Wimberg, in the Upper-Austrian Mühlviertel. There the end of World War II was followed by ten years of Russian occupation. Fearing mockery and political persecution, the family chose to live in complete isolation. Josef never attended a school. He started drawing already as a child.
1977: the death of his father.
1982: Josef’s mother moved with her two sons to live with her niece Renate Sager in Kirchschlag. In this new environment the family’s life improved radically. Josef established contact with his cousin’s sons and began to communicate in single words.
1985: first contact with the Lebenshilfe (Life Support) Linz and the day-care workshops.
1992: Josef Hofer lives and works in the day-care centre of Lebenshilfe Oberösterreich in Ried.
1997: regular participation in the drawing group of the art historian Elisabeth Telsnig.
2003 – Josef Hofer becomes a member of the Collection de L’Art Brut in Lausanne. Since then, his works have been shown in numerous exhibitions in Austria and abroad, and he has received several awards.
Elisabeth Telsnig (translation Susanne Russinger)