141111: Leopold Museum Melancholia and Provocation – The Egon Schiele Project

Leopold Museum Melancholia and Provocation – The Egon Schiele Project 23.09.11 – 30.01.12 Schiele and the Plasma-Plum The frustration that may be felt regarding the existence of life is ennobled by the word ‘melancholia’. He who is furious because one has to suffer in life, provokes those who don’t suffer so they may in turn suffer – and the anger is no longer his alone. One cannot claim that Egon Schiele did not have a furiously melancholic youth. Many artists start with their work-mania at a very early age but live a long life and make changes at a later stage. If Schiele would have counteracted his mushy-dull landscapes during the course of his successful artist’s life with sleek and sunny southern light images, remains speculation. There can be no question that he is both a self- as well as a women portraitist who doesn’t paint anything that is unnecessary and he doesn’t add anything superfluous, thereby pre-empting a painting as such. With the extensive exhibition “Melancholia and Provocation” the Leopold Museum offers him an arena in which – in addition to the art historic reference to Schiele’s contemporaries such as Feuerbach, Kokoschka and Max Oppenheimer - works by Austrian artists born later are shown in six separate rooms and interact with Schiele’s paintings. The radicalism of Schiele’s depictions are echoed in Günther Brus' and Rudolf Schwarzkogler's action photographs. In his videos, Philipp Gehmacher concentrates on body-language melancholia. The everywhere-grey, even on shutters and vent slots next to the larger work in Gehmachers’s room could offer a mild relaxation to the lush maroon and dark blue Schiele-in-his-time-rooms, if it weren’t for the constant whispering emerging form the headphones in the adjacent room by Claudia Bosse, which also interferes with Franz Graf's rigid black-and-white construction. He cites, pleasantly dressed, the whore-saint-topic in occidental female worship next to two large diptychs of black-and-white Madonna replicas behind glass and with protective Styrofoam, before one can marvel at Elke Krystufek’s male torsos created in basic colours. In the face of one of her maybe-Jesus protagonists she lets colours float in a way that puts Kokoschka’s brawny self-portrait into perspective and proves that an artist should not always apply paint over the entire picture. Should questions on melancholia and provocation remain unanswered, one could feel slightly distressed that one did not see any works by Maria Lassnig. But if one imagines what the impression of Vienna will be on guests from around the globe if they see that Egon Schiele painted his model’s private parts like a maroon plum – should one not assume that they will dream of Schiele and stewed plum forever? By Gesche Heumann Leopold Museum 1070 Vienna, Museumsquartier Tel: 0043 1 525 70 – 0 Fax: 00423 1 525 70 1500 Email: leopoldmuseum@leopoldmuseumorg http://www.leopoldmuseum.org Opening hours: Wed – Mon 11 – 19 hours, Fri 11 – 21 hours

Leopold Museum
1070 Wien, Museumsquartier
Tel: +43 1 525 70-0, Fax: +43 1 525 70-1500
Email: leopoldmuseum@leopoldmuseum.org
Öffnungszeiten: Mi-So 10-18 h

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