100109: Lentos Museum Linz: Best of Austria – An Art Collection

Lentos Museum Linz: Best of Austria – An Art Collection Ranking without hierarchy If the Lentos Museum, the only contemporary art museum in Linz, which is this year’s European Cultural Capital, presents an art collection, it should be something special. The museum could have easily selected works from its own outstanding collection, added a few supplementary loans, and then present an exhibition renowned both in Europe and abroad. But Director Stella Rollig decided to do things differently. She wanted to search for the “Best of Austria” and not only present Lentos’ own collection. The exhibit’s originality and uniqueness is based on these selection criteria: Stella Rollig left the selection to the directors and curators of thirty Austrian museums and collections, who each submitted three works. And they were not to choose the well-known highlights, but their personal preferences. A kind of “Wunderkammer” (cabinet of curiosities) with the most diverse topics, times, and styles emerged. An exhibition with surprises, a collection comparable with Malraux’s imaginary museum, committed only to individual preferences. The 15th century encounters the 21st, small objects meet large canvases, and the exhibit is basically symbolic of what goes on in one’s own brain when thinking of art. Things don’t pass chronologically in your brain – one moment you may think of the Isenheimer Altar and then immediately of Keith Haring’s graffiti. The 100 works presented at “Best of Austria” are thought provoking, but also make one smile. The charm of the selection is also underlined by Golmar Kempinger-Khatibi’s ingenious architecture. She structured the 800 m2- space so cleverly using wall elements and pedestals that new spaces seemingly emerge continuously. She offers perspectives and insights for each individual object. While the viewers are thereby tempted to become curious what will await them in the next room, the general overview is never at stake. “Best of Austria” is both a demanding as well as an ironic title – contradiction and agreement will always balance each other. But the most remarkable thing about this presentation is that it is inquisitive – with respect to the reliability of rankings and the objectivity of art historic claims. Through this highly personal selection it suddenly becomes clear that art was not created for museums, but for people who live with these paintings and objects – in festive, representative or religious surroundings, as well as in the privacy of their homes. As Rainer Metzger points out in his catalogue text, the extraordinary facet of its “colourful lack of hierarchy” characterizes this exhibition. This allows one to discover one’s own hierarchy or one’s favourite objects, and to sometimes wonder about the selection criteria of collection curators and directors. Angelica Bäumer Lentos Museum Linz 4020 Linz, Ernst-Koref-Promenade, until 10.05.09 www.lentos.at

Lentos Kunstmuseum Linz
4020 Linz, Ernst-Koref-Promendade 1
Tel: +43 70 7070 36 00
Email: info@lentos.at
Öffnungszeiten: täglich außer Mo 10-18 Uhr, Do 10-21 Uhr

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