260508: Albertina: Oskar Kokoschka – Exile and New Home 1934 – 1980

Albertina: Oskar Kokoschka – Exile and New Home 1934 – 1980 Exile and new home Lets not even think about what would have happened if this man had not lived to be 94. If he would not have been chased through the most inhumane (twentieth) century, and if he wouldn’t have experienced all of the chicanes of displacement and odyssey and if he wouldn’t have had to fear for his life. If he would have not left an oeuvre which uncovered the questions of humankind ranging between uproar and opportunism, narcissism and gestures of greatness. Two Viennese institutions would have not been able to share the same topic. But everything turned out to be all right. After the Belvedere had shown Oskar Kokoschka’s early works, the Albertina is now exhibiting his later works. Still, they both missed out on 12 years of his oeuvre: there is nothing to be seen of the work he had completed between 1922 and 1934. Maybe a third museum in Vienna could…? In “Exile and New Home” one can follow Kokoschka’s defection to Czechoslovakia, how he barely made it to England, his involvement with the allies during World War II, his transition to a cosmopolite and then again his suburbanisation, even if only for the sake of the summer academies in Salzburg. As a sceptic and acquainted with the abysms of friendliness, he, like Thomas Mann, preferred to live in Switzerland. Kokoschka paints great stories – dealing with cities, antique mythology or Shakespeare. His knowledge vanquished the boisterousness of his youth. Nevertheless, his style remains full of rhetoric; he still hangs in there. Despite all serenity he has not taken a silent path – maybe this makes him so attractive to such exalted painters as Maria Lassnig or Georg Baselitz. But Kokoschka has something the others lack - irony. “Time, Gentlemen, please” is the title of one of his last paintings. This notorious closing remark in a pub was aimed at himself, as a bouncer out of his own long life. Albertina 1010 Vienna, Albertinaplatz 1, until 13. 07. 2008-05-23 www.albertina.at

1010 Wien, Albertinaplatz 1
Tel: +43 1 534 83 -0, Fax: +43 1 533 76 97
Email: info@albertina.at
Öffnungszeiten: Tägl. 10-18h, Mi 10-21 h

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