Max Weiler in his studio at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, 1966

In Weiler's work, too, the year 1968 marks a thematic caesura. His remarkable sensibility responded unhesitatingly to the political and cultural upheavals that occurred in Europe. We find paintings that reflect the revolutionary struggle for freedom in South America ("Camillo Torres and Che Guevara, two Revolutionaries", 1969) as well as a prompt response to man's first landing on the moon ("Landscape on the Moon", 1969). Given his strong cosmic orientation, Weiler was tremendously excited by the first photographs and reports that showed the earth as a blue planet in a black firmament, as one star among many. Weiler had no difficulty at all in translating the new technical realities of moon travel into his own idiom. Rather than relying on imitation, he sought to convey reality in an independent, highly personal visual system. The painting "Docking Manoeuvre" (1969) takes a complex procedure in space travel as its title. The encounter that we see possesses a very different kind of complexity: expanses of colour, which are of equal value, organise themselves into shapes while yellow circles allude to the sun-like transmission of light and, in the foreground, a dark mass suggests the edge of a heavenly body, from which fragments are being thrown upwards. Weiler chooses a dark azure for his ground, just as in "Landscape on the Moon", a gloomy black refers forward to the colour-saturated paintings of the future, the works he was to call "Landscapes on resonant Grounds". Weiler's response to major events in contemporary history, which, as already mentioned, prefaced the transition to a new phase in his work, was preceded by his ensemble of twelve Polyptych Paintings (Flügelbilder). These works are of an experimental nature, even for today's viewer, and to that extent they diverge significantly from Weiler's usual direction.

The art historical context in which the "Polyptych Paintings" belong is that of the "open picture", an idea that established itself in European and American postwar art. Other artists also experimented with such pictorial forms, which rejected the convention of the rectangular canvas as the support and place for painting. In American art, with Frank Stella for example, the idea of a "shaped canvas" had been developed as from the early 1960s.

Weiler's "Polyptych Paintings" activate elements that had long been part of the reality of his work. If we look at the series "Like a Landscape" or even his painting on the iron safety curtain of the Tiroler Landestheater, we realise that these works are open constellations of colour and form. It therefore took only a small step for Weiler to elevate this dynamic of colour into the criterion that determines the confines of a a work. His "Polyptych Paintings" are based on the insight that painting reaches out as far as the energy of the means used to create it.

Weiler had long been aware of this aspect. What is experimental in these works are the consequences of his different spatial arrangement of colours. These paintings are three-dimensional forms in space that can be opened, closed or folded. They seem to leave the wall behind them and it is certainly more than a mere metaphor if Weiler's "Polyptych Paintings", in German “wing paintings”, are associated with flying, with the flight of colours. Weiler distanced these works from the wall; he turned colour into an event in space, with only the flat expanses of paint still recalling conventional painting. The embodiment of colour and its simultaneous disembodiment in space: Weiler's "Polyptych Paintings" can be characterised in terms of this interaction.

Mountains with crimson sky, 1965-68
Egg tempera on wood and cardboard
88 x 62,7 cm
Essl Museum Klosterneuburg/Wien
The large flower, 1968
Egg tempera on hardboard and cardboard
Base: 50 x 150 cm
With wings folded out: 210 x 176 cm
Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien
The great metamorphosis of landscape, 1968
Egg tempera and ink on plywood and cardboard
Base: 170 x 300 cm
With wings folded out: 305 x 520 cm
Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck
Limestone mountains with coloured wings, 1967-69
Egg tempera, Indian ink, charcoal on canvas and plywood
Base: 200 x 195 cm
With wings folded out: 315 x 200cm
Forest animal, 1968
Egg tempera on hardboard and cardboard
Base: 38 x 70 cm
With wings folded out: 122 x 137 cm
In the forest, 1968/69
Egg tempera on plywood and paper
87,3 x 119 cm
Landscape changes, 1966
Egg tempera on hardboard and cardboard
Base: 62,5 x 88 cm
With wings folded out: 97 x 145 cm
Wing painting in glass case. The hovering earth, 1968
Egg tempera on cardboard
83,5 x 83,5 x 16,5 cm
Wing painting in glass case, 1968
Egg tempera on cardboard
75 x 61 x 16,5 cm
Many wings, 1968
Egg tempera on canvas
169,5 x 135 cm
Sammlung Wolfgang Bittermann