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viennacontemporary 2015

Highlights of the viennacontemporary Art Fair 0

22-25 SEPTEMBER 2016

For the second year under the new logo viennacontemporary, Vienna will be hosting a four-day-long international contemporary art fair that focuses its crosshairs on the regional art scenes in Central and Eastern Europe. This year, however, the fair has expanded its target area a bit, and so will also feature art from parts of Western, Northern, and Southeastern Europe. A very unique and old symbol of the city has been selected as the location of the fair – the very first wrought-iron structure in Vienna, the historic industrial complex known as Marx Halle – which will soon have 112 gallery stands from 28 countries under its roof.

Along with the commercial activities characteristic of an art fair, the viennacontemporary has also taken upon itself to present professionally structured presentations by both curators and artists, as well as a program of talks and discussions. has put together a list of the fair’s highlights under the following groupings: EXHIBITIONS, TALKS AND DISCUSSIONS, PARALLEL PROGRAM, COLLECTORS, and THE CITY’S CULTURAL CALENDAR.


Focus: The former Yugoslavia and Albania
(curator – Adele Demetja)

Serious Interests Agency (SIA Gallery), Macedonia. Artsit: Nada Prlja. A Worker Who Cannot Speak English is No Worker, 2008

The focus of this year’s curated exhibition has been placed on independent contemporary art institutions of Southeastern Europe. At a time when there is an acute lack of state-sponsored support, as well as a vacuum in the local art market, these institutions are currently the main proponents and supporters of contemporary art. This will be a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of the region’s art scene, which, besides the well-known Albanian artist Anri Sala, holds within it a slew of promising artists who are slowly but surely forging a path towards the international stage. Supporting this assertion is the recognition received at the 2015 Venice Biennale by both the Serbian pavilion (artist – Ivan Grubanov), and Albania’s presentation (artist – Armando Lulaj).


Cinema: “Me, Myself and I”
(curator – Olaf Stüber)

The main theme of the Cinema Program is the self-portrait – that is, artistic self-representation in film and video. Quite a few of the viennacontemporary galleries have answered the call of Olaf Stüber, the the program’s curator, to submit their artists’ calling cards in the form of film and video, thereby promising viewers a saturated program. In addition, a showing of films by Austrian students is planned for 21 September.


“The Future of Museums”
MuseumsQuartier Wien, Arena 21
20 September (18:00)

Similarly-themed issues will also be covered in a panel discussion focusing on the future of art institutions in this era of digital revolution, as organized by the Aksenov Family Foundation and Avesta Group: How can a museum be saved from “moral decrepitude”? Will they still be around in 2050, or will they have degenerated into dusty artifact storage facilities? Is a completely new museum format possible? Do we need, perhaps, a new definition for “museum”?

A fitting location for the discussions has been found in Vienna’s Museum Quarter (MuseumsQuartier Wien). It is the eighth largest cultural space in the world, consisting of both classical and contemporary art museums, as well as indoor and outdoor exhibition spaces, all in one unified complex, thereby suiting the needs of a variety of culture-seekers through providing both elite and popular art forms. Themes covered in the discussion include: transforming the visitor from a passive observer of museum exhibits to an active participant; a modern approach to “opening up” a museum so that its contents are freely available to the public; and interdisciplinary issues.

Keys to Contemporary Art (curator – Kate Sutton)
viennacontemporary, Marx Halle
22, 23, 25 September (15:00 and 17:00)

The theme of this year’s discussion program is “Public Image”. Curator Kate Sutton has invited representatives from leading art institutions (including: WIELS, Brussels; Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow; The Serralves Museum of Contemporary Art, Porto; and MAK, Vienna) to speak about how images and other forms of information become “public”, as well as how art institutions deal with the specifics and needs of various segments of the viewing public.

The Art Newspaper Media Forum: “New Media: Content Vs Medium”
viennacontemporary, Marx Halle
21 September (11:30-15:30)

At a time when form has become more important than content, when, for the so-called Generation-Z, digital data flow is as intrinsic as the air one needs to breathe, and when “the fourth industrial revolution” – aka the digital revolution – is in a state of continual acceleration, The Art Newspaper has decided to discuss these interesting times in a forum featuring the creators of content for art and cultural media.

The goal of the forum is to broaden the discussion on media and contents, and how these two entities influence one another. Up for discussion will be the following issues: How to create suitable media content for today’s public; How to not lose one’s leading edge, as well as keep and strengthen one’s influence, in a swiftly progressing media environment; and, Who are the new players in the digital environment, and how do they skew the digital game to their advantage by getting Generation-Z involved.

The speaker line-up includes: David Goodman, senior vice president, director of marketing, Americas at Sotheby’s; Francesca Gavin, visual arts editor at Dazed; Jessica Backus, director of Genome Project and director of Gallery Partnerships, Artsy; Ilya Krasilschik, publisher, and Kimberly Bradley, journalist, the New York Times/Monocle.


“Arterritory Conversations With Collectors, No. 3”

Collectors Forum “Going Public” (curator – Julien Robson)
viennacontemporary, Marx Halle
22 – 25  September (13:00)

For his forum, curator Julien Robson has invited collectors to discuss the art-world phenomenon of the private museum and its role in the development of contemporary art. Issues touched upon include the collector’s motivation to present his or her collection to the public at large, supporting the creation of artworks, and how to bring about a broader discussion of contemporary art in society.

Read in the Archive: “Being a collector is the other side of the coin of being an artist” | An interview with Belgian art collector Alain Servais in Brussels 

The scheduled forum contributors are: Isabelle and Jean-Conrad Lemaître, video art collectors from Paris; Finish art collector Timo Miettinen, who also founded Berlin’s Salon Dahlmann; and art collector Alain Servais, from Belgium.

Read in the Archive: A Collection That Fits Inside a Cupboard | An interview with French Video Art Collectors Isabelle and Jean-Conrad Lemaître’s public conversation with Estonian art collector Riivo Anton
viennacontemporary, Marx Halle, Media Zone
22 September (16:00 – 17:00) 

Riivo Anton is the founder of the consulting company Civitta (formerly known as Innopolis), and one of the most energetic of the new-generation art collectors in the Baltics. Among his interests are not only today’s art processes and phenomena, but also graphic prints created during Estonia’s Soviet era. Anton is recognized throughout the region for his ambitious initiative of creating an Estonian art index.

At the focus of’s public discussion will be the most relevant processes taking place on today’s Baltic art scene, as well as the role and influence of collectors therein.

One topic that will be touched upon is Riivo Anton’s work on the Estonian art index – the source of inspiration for the initiative, the project’s goals, and what the process looks like behind-the-scenes.

Read in the Archive: “Arterritory Conversations With Collectors, No. 3”

This public conversation will take place in tandem with the release of the latest issue of the magazine Arterritory Conversations with Collectors, Issue No. 3, and it will be moderated by Irene M. Gludowacz, M.A., a Vienna-based author, curator, and communications expert for foundations, museums and corporations in the international art world. Gludowacz has co-authored the books “A Passion for Art: Art Collectors and Their Houses” (2005), and “Global Art” (2009). 


Martin Kippenberger, Zuerst die Füße, 1990, Sammlung Stolitzka, Graz. © Photo: Helga Krobath, Wien © Estate of Martin Kippenberger, Galerie Gisela Capitain, Cologne

Martin Kippenberger
Kunstforum Wien, Vienna
8 September – 27 November 2016

Although the German contemporary artist Martin Kippenberger (1953-1997) worked in the 1980s and 90s, his work has garnered its greatest acclaim ever in just the last ten years. Kippenberger’s art came upon the scene at a time when fine-art painting had been declared to be in its death throes – as he admitted himself by saying that he was “entering the stage at the end of the drama, and not at its beginning”. At this time, all that remained were leftovers of styles and ideas, and Kippenberger transformed his work into an information processing center of late modernism, in which all known styles, creations and ideas would be reevaluated, taken apart, and either thrown away or constructed anew. He left behind an impressive legacy of art, from paintings and drawings to sculptures, installations, posters, decals and books.

Read in the Archive: You can live like an ass, but you mustn't be one. Kippenberger

“I’m more of a representative than anything else. Sell and communicate ideas. I am after all far more for people than just someone who paints pictures,” said Martin Kippenberger, who, with language as the nucleus of his art, is aligned in the tradition of Dada and concrete poetry.

Martin Parr - A Photographic Journey
Kunst Haus Wien, Vienna
Through 2 November 2016

A retrospective exhibition of the works of Martin Parr, whom art critics describe as “a satirist of contemporary life”. With Parr’s 1980s photography series titled “Last Resort”, in which he captured scenes of the British public on beach holidays in “terribly beautiful pictures”, Parr turned the aesthetics of photography on its head (and in the process, collected a slew of followers). This groundbreaking series will be on view in the Kunst Haus Wien exhibition, along with thirteen other groups of works showing Parr’s particular view of the world.

Parr has created a photo series especially for this exhibition, titled “Cakes and Balls” (2015/16), which features Vienna with all of its cliches and traditions. To get the job done, Parr went to numerous Viennese parties and cafes, and even visited the famous confectionery Aida.

Parallel – Vienna Contemporary Art Exhibition
21 – 25 September 2016

Parallel Vienna is a hybrid event that is a combination of exhibition, gallery and studio. This will be its fourth appearance in Vienna, and it is traditionally staged in some abandoned building in the city’s downtown – the perfect platform for contemporary art. The wide-open spaces of Alte Post have been chosen as this year’s venue, under the roof of which more than 400 local and international artists will be setting up their work.


Kunsthistorisches Museum, Vienna
September 22 - October 19, 2016

In honor of the 125th anniversary of Vienna’s Museum of Art History (Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna), the Museum’s front facade will be engulfed in an impressive light show that will take place every evening, from sunset to midnight. The artists behind the light show are the Austrian duo AROTIN & SERGHEI.

From the vantage point of Maria-Theresien-Platz in front of the Museum building, viewers will see how Pieter Brueghel the Elder’s painting, “The Tower of Babel” (1563), undergoes a series of audio-visual transformations. Various other works in the Museum’s collection will also be referenced in the light show, all of which will be accompanied by a soundtrack created by the artists and based upon Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony” (pianist – Mikhail Rudy).

The work “INFINITE SCREEN – The Babel Tower” hinges upon the dynamics of a circle – a characteristic feature of both Schubert’s symphony and the spiraling Tower of Babel. Vienna itself also features the circle motif by way of the perimeter of its Ringstrasse encircling the city’s Old Town (the Innere Stadt), or even in the circular motion of the Viennese waltz.

Curated by Kaspar Mühlemann Hartl, the project is being done under the auspices of museum in progress ( – the first museum “without walls”. The aim of museum in progress is to exhibit contemporary art outside of institutions, and in places where it is least expected.

Read in the Archive: A social sculpture | An interview with Vienna-born curator and founder of the “museum in progress”, Kathrin Messner 

In tandem with the light show, the artists have also created a unique 12-piece series of colored prints on translucent vinyl discs, coated with 24-carat gold leaf - “Vinyl-Sound-Pictures”.

Tip of the Hat! A Social History of the Covered Head
Wien Museum, Vienna
Through 30 October 2016

The Vienna Museum has currently given its exhibition space over to one of the most intimate and meaningful accessories of the fashion arsenal – the hat. As we know, the hat has always been not only a functional necessity (protecting one from the cold, wind and rain), but also a signal of one’s aesthetic – and sometimes, political – priorities. In their struggle for workers’ rights, the social democrats used to wear workers caps; Austrian fascists had their own special headgear, etc.

The hat, as is any head covering, is its own kind of media, and the message it carries in the public sphere should not be taken lightly. The exhibition “Tip of the Hat! A Social History of the Covered Head” depicts the history of head coverings in Viennese society, from the 19th century to the current day.

Read in the Archive: The viennacontemporary 2015: An Intellectually Elite Market