301109: Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum: Helga Philipp – Poetry of Logic

Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum: Helga Philipp – Poetry of Logic In honour of Helga Philipp The exhibition at the Landesmuseum in St. Pölten presents an extensive retrospective of the remarkable artist Helga Philipp. During the last years there weren’t many exhibitions of her work. In the 1960's, Otto Mauer displayed Philipp's art at the Gallery Nächst St. Stephan, and her work was shown in numerous other exhibitions as well as by nearly all Austrian museums and major private collections such as Herbert Liaunig's. But things became quiet around this quiet artist, who never tried to come to the fore and who no longer had a place in the art industry that was becoming increasingly louder and greedy for new trends. She devoted herself to renovating her house in Ternitz, designed by the Ringstrassen architect Theophil Hansen, which became her studio and successively her private museum. And she devoted herself to teaching at the Vienna University for Applied Arts (1965 – 2002). Among her students were Brigitte Kowanz and Alfred Graf, Heimo Zobernig and Gerwald Rockenschaub. Together with Erika Giovanna Klien and Hildegard Joos, Helga Philipp is among the small group of artists in Austria that employed an extremely strict, but at the same time exceptionally original form of artistic expression, generally known as Kinetism, Op Art, Minimal Art or Concept Art. She was concerned with the clarity of form, the beauty of abstraction, the logic of geometry and ultimately the poetry that develops when content and form meet in a spiritual way. Without conceitedness or vanity, only with the energy of artistic desire and talent. Helga Philipp would have celebrated her 70th birthday this year. She was born in 1939 and already as a 14-year old she began to study sculpting. She concentrated on space, but more with her paintings than with her sculptures. Philipps received many prizes and in the early days her work was often displayed. After a long break, her late work was shown at exhibitions: impressive the ones at the Heiligenkreuzerhof in 1997 and in Alpbach in 2000, as well as her work designed for the public sector. But her name only meant something to those who seriously dealt with contemporary art. In 2002, she retired from the university to devote herself completely to painting, which once again became colourful after years of strict black and white. She died only a few months later, in November 2002. “My concern is unaltered regarding the dialogue between the object and the onlooker. After all, it is foremost my dialogue with the object”, Helga Philipp once said. And therefore she also expects the viewer to take up the dialogue, to get involved with the artwork. It is ultimately a vital concern of art that the viewer is not only willing to permit cognition, but also to accept change. The artwork is the artist’s perception, which the viewer has to finalize with his cognizance. The extensive catalogue published for the exhibition impressively documents her career. Both the book as well as the 250 photos of the exhibition, which stem from the Lower Austrian Federal State collections, from the University of Applied Arts and from the legacy, a remarkable artist once again takes the centre stage. By Angelica Bäumer Niederösterreichisches Landesmuseum 3109 St. Pölten, Franz Schubert-Platz 5, until 24.05.10 http://www.landesmuseum.net

Museum Niederösterreich
3109 St. Pölten, Kulturbezirk 5
Tel: +43 2742 90 80 90-998, Fax: +43-(0)2742-90 80 91
Email: info@museumnoe.at
Öffnungszeiten: Di - So 9-17 h

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