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Marx Halle. viennacontemporary. Photo: Henk Jan Kamerbeek

Introducing highlights of the international contemporary art fair viennacontemporary 2017 0

Marx Halle, Vienna
September 21-24, 2017

This is the third year that Vienna is opening its doors to the international contemporary art fair viennacontemporary, an event featuring the art activities of Central, Northern, and Eastern Europe. For five days, from September 21-24, 110 galleries and institutions from 27 countries will be assembling under the roof of the converted industrial zone now known as Marx Halle to present the works of more than 500 artists.

ARCHIVE: A look back at Vienna’s viennacontemporary 2016 art fair

The 2017 edition of viennacontemporary is rolling out special programs in the sections ZONE 1 and Solo & Sculpture, both of which include solo shows by artists in a variety of age brackets. An overview of the evolution of Hungarian art can be found in the section Focus: Hungary, while the Nordic Highlights section provides an intriguing insight into Finnish, Danish and Swedish gallery presentations. Also on the fair’s schedule is a video work program screening selected pieces by Austrian and international artists, and the public lecture series Talks: Borderline. will present its latest publication, Arterritory Conversations with Collectors, Issue No. 4, as well as a public talk with one of the magazine’s featured art collectors, Vilius Kavaliauskas from Lithuania.

Moreover, in an attempt to give visitors a better overview of viennacontemporary’s vast lineup of events, this year the fair’s organizers are offering thematically grouped visitor tours: Focus on Central and Eastern Europe, Upcoming Artists and Discoveries, and Contemporary Classics. In view of the broad opportunities available, has come up with its own list of the fair’s choicest events.


Paulis Liepa. Raum 17. 2017

This year’s main gallery expo has galleries from 27 different countries participating in it. In addition to galleries from Austria, Germany, the Nordic countries, and Eastern Europe, artworks from China, Korea and the United Arab Emirates are also on display. The Baltic States are being represented by two galleries from Lithuania – Galerija Vartai (Vilnius) and Meno Nisa Gallery (Vilnius), and one from Latvia – Māksla XO (Riga). The latter is showing works by one of the most interesting artists on the contemporary Latvian art stage, Paulis Liepa; in the gallery’s booth one can see Liepa’s solo show, What is this time?, featuring the artist’s newest works, which were made specially for this event.


Florian Schmidt. Untitled (Proximity) 21, 2016. Acrylic paint, vinyl, varnish, cardboard, wood. 84 x 60 cm. Courtesy the artist and Philipp von Rosen Galerie. viennacontemporary Zone 1

This year Zone 1 is showcasing new and promising Austrian artists. Participating galleries have put out works done in a broad spectrum of various media, with themes such as: self-optimization, information, and data transfer on the internet; matter as information storage for human civilization; over-expanding the notion of painting and strategies of its spatial experience; basic conditions of artistic creation; and the political and sociological dimensions of art.

At the center of attention in the Solo & Sculpture section are sculptural works that have garnered international acclaim. Curator Miguel Wandschneider has selected galleries whose artists “explore in their work the primacy of the object and its inescapable materiality over meaning”.

In Nordic Highlights, prominence to works by both Scandinavian and internationally-based artists is given by the following Finnish, Danish and Swedish galleries: Galerie Mikael Andersen (DK), Galleri Bo Bjerggaard (DK), Cecilia Hillström Gallery (SE), and Gallery Taik Persons (DE/FI).


Gábor Attalai. RED-Y MADE I-IV, 1974. Enamel, paper, ink. 33 x 33 cm. Courtesy Vintage Galéria

Hungary’s art scene is at the center of this year’s fair. Through the presentations of three private Budapest galleries – acb Gallery, Kisterem, and Vintage – the Hungarian art historian and critic, József Mélyi, draws attention to Hungary’s neo-avant-garde artists of the 1970s. In direct contradiction to the restrictions put in place by the communist regime of the time, these artists were open to Western art trends and rocked Hungary’s art community with protestations, conceptual photography, “mail art”, and other means.

ARCHIVE: A guide to Budapest’s contemporary art galleries. Part I
A guide to Budapest’s contemporary art galleries. Part II

A whole decade’s worth of Hungarian art will be on view at viennacontemporary, including such artists and artists groups as Gábor Attalai, Imre Bak, Miklós Erdély, Árpád fenyvesi Tóth, Ferenc Ficzek, György Galántai, Tibor Gáyor, B. István Gellér, Tibor Hajas, Károly Hopp-Halász, Tamás Hencze, György Jovánovics, Károly Kismányoky, Klára Kuchta, Katalin Ladik, Ferenc Lantos, Dóra Maurer, Vera Molnar, István Nádler, Sándor Pinczehelyi, Tamás Szentjóby, Kálmán Szijártó, Bálint Szombathy, Endre Tót, Péter Türk, and János Vető.


Vendula Knopová. After Midnight Dress, 2016. Color photography. 54 x 70 cm. Edition of 5. Courtesy Gandy gallery

The 2017 fair’s lecture/discussion program concentrates on overarching changes that European cultural institutions are facing on political, societal and cultural levels. People and projects that broaden institutions’ boundaries from the inside will be put under the metaphorical microscope – collectors who are experimenting with various patronage models, and galleries that are trying out new ways of doing business and related activities.

Curator Kate Sutton has invited leading representatives from the international art world, hailing from the Vienna Kunsthalle, galleries in Düsseldorf and Vienna, the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art (Moscow), the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art (Rotterdam), the Serralves Museum (Porto), and elsewhere.

Lectures/discussions will take place September 21-24, in the Talks section of the fair. Our picks:

Art Encounters 2017. An open door to an art scene between a long history and a short story
September 21, 12:30–13:30

Nicolaus Schafhausen (director of Vienna Kunsthalle) speaks to Ovidiu Sandor (Founder and President of the Art Encounters Foundation in Timişoara, Romania) and Ami Barak (curator of the 2017 Art Encounters biennale).

Artload’s (Sao Paolo) “A-live” interview
September 21, 14:00–15:00

Vivian Gandelsman, contemporary art researcher and consultant, speaks with art collector Wilfried Cooreman (Belgium).

Model Patrons: The Shifting Role of the Collector
September 22, 13:00–14:00

Discussion between Jam Acuzar (founder and director of Bellas Artes Projects in Bataan, Manila), Aaron Cezar (founding director of the Delfina Foundation, London), and Haro Cumbusyan (collector and founding director of collectorspace, Istanbul).

Positions in Print: The Ethics of Art Writing
September 23, 13:00–14:00

Discussion between Osei Bonsu (curator and writer, London/Paris), Valentin Diaconov (curator at the Garage Museum of Contemporary Art, Moscow), and Ana Teixeira Pinto (writer, Berlin).

A talk with Ursula Krinzinger, gallerist
September 24, 11:00–12:00

Discussion on cultural, societal and political issues affecting the art world. The talk will be in German.

September 21, 14:00, Media Lounge

Arterritory Conversations with Collectors No. 4

This is the second year that Arterritory is presenting at viennacontemporary a public conversation with an art collector from the Baltics. Lithuanian art collector Vilius Kavaliauskas will be speaking with the Vienna author, curator and communications expert Irene M. Gludowacz, discussing the most salient processes going on in today’s Baltic art scene as they focus on the theme of “The Collector’s Role and Influence in the Region”.

ARCHIVE: An interview with Lithuanian art collector Vilius Kavaliauskas

A point that the talk will touch upon as an example of a collector’s responsibility these days is the founding of the Lewben Art Foundation, which Kavaliauskas was instrumental in the establishing of and now heads. The organization’s initial goal was the recognition of Lithuanian artists in the diaspora, collecting their works, studying them, and ultimately, bringing them back to Lithuania.

ARCHIVE: “Arterritory Conversations With Collectors Vol 4”

This public talk will take place as part of the broader presentation of Arterritory’s latest issue, No. 4., of Arterritory Conversations with Collectors.


Pavel Braila. Kick Off. 2010. 5:14

At the focal point of the fair’s cinema program are works in which their authors have turned to the theme of happiness – moments of happiness as well as moments of failure that occur during the search for happiness. Olaf Stüber, curator of the cinema program, has selected film and video works by both Austrian and international artists.

For the first time, viennacontemporary is working together with mumok – Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien in presenting a prize for the best cinema work. The winner will have the opportunity to present their film at the mumok cinema.


Project Statement Büro Weltausstellung – Wunderkammer. Curated by Stefan Bidner. Photo: Sandro E.E. Zanzinger

Parallel Vienna
September 19-24, Alte Sigmund Freud University, Schnirchgassse 9A

Taking place for the fifth time, Parallel Vienna traditionally takes over an abandoned building somewhere in the center of the city. The event is based on the DIY (do-it-yourself) principle and merges together within itself the functions of art fairs, exhibitions, galleries, and artist workshops.

Parallel Vienna concentrates on works by both emerging and established artists, and this year has specially invited 27 galleries and art project spaces (the majority being from Austria), as well as curators and artists.

Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Big Fish Eats Little Fish, 1556. © The Albertina Museum, Wien

Bruegel. Drawing the World
September 8 – December 3, 2017, Albertina Museum, Albertinaplatz 1

Pieter Bruegel the Elder is the 16th century’s most important Dutch draftsman. With its selection of 80 works, the Albertina presents the entire spectrum of Bruegel’s drawn and printed oeuvre while also shedding light on his artistic origins via the juxtaposition of his output with high-quality works by important predecessors such as Bosch and Dürer. Included are around 20 of the artist’s most beautiful drawings from the museum’s own extensive holdings as well as from international collections, a selection that also brings together two of his final drawings – Spring and Summer – for the first time in many years. Furthermore, numerous printed treasures – rediscovered and painstakingly restored at the Albertina over the course of long-running research efforts – are being shown for the first time.

Casey Spooner giving insights into FISCHERSPOONER's show „SIR“ at mumok

Through October 29, 2017, mumok, Museumsplatz 1

When Warren Fischer and Casey Spooner founded their art, music, and performance project FISCHERSPOONER in 1998 in New York, they had a mission – to make the stuffy and elitist art scene more open and accessible. After their first orgiastic and opulent performances, they became a firm fixture in the city’s art scene. With their song Emerge, they even landed a top-40 hit in the British charts in 2002.
Sir FISCHERSPOONER presents their own queer-lustrous and passionate universe. A site-specific installation remodels Casey Spooner’s New York apartment, thus raising questions as to the collapse of private and public space.

Instructions for Happiness
Through November 5, 2017, 21er Haus, Arsenalstraße 1 (Belvedere Quartier)

Instructions for Happiness sets out to explore this subjective, elusive feeling as it scrutinizes conceptions of happiness. Using behavioral guidelines, the works of participating artists invite responses to simulated situations through the use of objects or by interacting with others – or simply provoke the processes of thought.

ICON. Ideal. Idea. Inspiration
September 14 – October 28, 2017, Galerie Krinzinger, Seilerstätte 16

In this exhibition, 19 artists from Galerie Krinzinger each present their own personal icon. What an artist calls his or her ICON reveals a part of the inspiration process, opening up new perspectives of his or her own work. A few of the examples presented: Marina Abramovic refers to the works of John Cage; Gottfried Bechtold – to Marcel Duchamp’s body of work; Martha Jungwirth – to Cy Twombly; and Hans Op de Beeck – to Peter Doig. 

Vienna Calling. A History of Pop Music
September 14, 2017 – March 25, 2018, Wien Museum, Karlsplatz 8

The exhibition Vienna Calling encompasses six decades of pop music as seen through the prism of Vienna’s most stylish bars, nightclubs, squat houses and radio stations. Beginning with the bohemian artist hangout of Strohkoffer in the 1950s, pass through the 1980s cult discotheque U4, the folk-music club Atlantis, and Kruder & Dorfmeister’s music studio – the birthplace of Vienna’s “downbeat” in the 1990s. Linger in sweet memories, or discover Vienna’s popular culture touchstones for the time as you view archival materials, watch videos, peer at concert fliers and photographs, admire album covers, concert costumes and fashion accessories, and survey musical instruments and studio setups.