English summaries July 14 - 28

Kunsthalle Krems Martha Jungwirth – Retrospective 13.07.2014 – 09.11.2014 Crocodile in the Carp Pond By Angelica Bäumer Martha Jungwirth belongs to the most interesting of Austrian artists and that without confinement to the female form. Although a Martha Jungwirth exhibition in the Krems Kunsthalle is justified to the not round, but relatively old, birthday, namely the 74th, she is ageless and, like all truly good artists young and fresh and curious and industrious, always curious about what's new. Her themes are landscapes, diverse objects and portraits, but nothing representational or even mellifluous. It's atmospheres that she perceives in certain themes, it's expression and association of that which has been lived and thought up, remembrances of loved people, observations, also from her many trips to exotic countries. She approaches a picture in an abstract and apparently unintentional manner, but yet with compassion, one feels the movement, the rhythm of the huge gesture. Martha Jungwirth is often apostrophised as an "unknown" in the art scene but she's not, even if there weren't all that many exhibitions. But what exhibitions! When, for example, Otto Breicha brought several painters together for an exhibition in the Secession in 1960 and called these completely different artists "realities". These were the realities of that time, from Wolfgang Herzig to Robert Zeppel-Sperl, from Kurt Kocherscheid, Franz Ringel to Peter Pongratz. They were all young, had just finished their studies and entered the world of the art scene. And among them, the 20-year old Martha Jungwirth. Alfred Schmeller called this group, which actually wasn't one, the "Crocodile in the Carp Pond". The crocodile, Martha, later became his wife. It wasn't the galleries or the so-called "art scene" that took notice of Martha Jungwirth, but the most important personalities among the art observers and exhibition makers: Otto Breicha, Harald Szeemann and Alfred Schmeller. Krems shows a particularly beautiful and clever exhibition, which has been put together by Hans-Peter Wipplinger. It shows works from all creative periods and one experiences the artist's path from the beginning to the present. She was never forgotten and the fact that the art scene doesn't tantalise her but rather scares her, was surely good and meaningful for her work. So she was able to work in peace and occasionally in total privacy and because she never had to conform, there are no empty phrases, nothing superficial or vain about Martha Jungwirth. The pictures are wonderfully full of freshness and life, each one is a world in itself and it is good that they have been hung casually and that the individual pictures can be looked at and understood in a relaxed setting. Kunsthalle Krems 3500 Krems, Franz-Zeller-Platz 3 Tel: +43-2732 90 80 10 Fax: +43-2732 90 80 11 E-mail: office@kunstalle.at www.kunsthalle.at Opening hours: Tue-Sun and Mon if public holiday 10-18 hours; in wintertime 10-17 hours Landesgalerie für zeitgenössische Kunst Hermann J. Painitz – Selbstverständlich 29.03.2014 – 24.08.2014 Art, Naturally By Daniela Gregori On the 2nd of April 1972, a single bus passed by at the corner of Nussdorferstrasse/ Fuchstalergasse in Vienna's 9th District between 12.30 and 12.50. Traffic was busy. Sixteen trams were counted in those 20 minutes, 266 cars, 26 female and 29 male pedestrians as well as only 6 motorbikes, bicycles were less frequent in those days. Or was it contingent upon the weather? Nothing of particular importance happened at that precise spot but if one follows the bold, snaking lines of red and blue spots, black circles and their possible combinations, one has, perhaps, a picture of the traffic situation during those 20 minutes of that Easter Monday. "How does the artist arrive at art?" asks Hermann J. Painitz in order to answer his own question "Just briefly and blithely by using his perception and reacting to his surroundings". Painitz ensures perception, orders the symbols and puts all information into a distinct pictorial language, and that for almost 50 years. He's certainly not an unknown with all his doings, or is he? For the first time, Zeitkunst Niederösterreich, presents an encompassing retrospective of the artist born 1938 and the former President of the Vienna Secession (1977-83), in the Shedhalle St. Pölten. And ultimately, one is very impressed by the plethora and consequence of these oeuvres and the diversity portrayed in them. The Brotalphabet" (Bread Alphabet) (1975) also functions in a similar self- referencing way. Every letter on the wall matches a different type of bread. Compare the four breads on the table in front with the graphic characters and you again have the term "bread". Of course every sensualization of the abstract, using a certain coding, reminds of the pictograms by Otto Neurath and Gerd Arntz, with whom Painitz was unfamiliar at the beginning of his activity. In a foreword to the 1975 catalogue, he admitted that the knowledge that these thoughts were already there relieved him to a certain extent, he was fascinated by Neutath's "optical work" as a basis on which one could build. In another part of the beautifully constructed exhibition catalogue, the artist is cited as saying, "The picture is a wall chart for irrevocable ORDER". Landesgalerie für zeitgenössische Kunst 3100 St.Pölten, Culture District 5 Tel: +43-2742 90 80 90 E-mail: office@zeitkunstnoe.at www.zeitkunstnoe.at Opening hours: Tue – Sun 9 - 17 hours Leopold Museum Trotzdem - Kunst 09.05.2014 – 15.09.2014 Painting in time of war By Daniela Gregori One associates Sarajevo with several things, but not a city, as such, in the sense of a brochure of an urban situation. One thinks of Franz Ferdinand's blood-spattered uniform, and of the consequences. The XIV Olympic Winter Games may enter one's mind or the siege during the Bosnian war at the beginning of the 1990's. Now the banner "Sarajevo 84" by Marko Lulic is displayed on the facade of the Leopold Museum, one of the seven contemporary contributions to "TROTZDEM KUNST - Österreich 1914-1918" (Nonetheless – Art – Austria 1914 – 1918) And whilst musing about continuities and actualities, you come into the central gallery of the museum to Franz Kapfer's wonderful cardboard scenery installations "FÜR GOTT, KAISER UND VATERLAND” (FOR GOD, KAISER AND HOMELAND). Do the artistic pathos forms – aside from their quality as a tourist attraction – which remind one of monuments to heroes of a vanished monarchy, really have any relevance today? For Egon Schiele it was "the most difficult day of his life", although he was not drafted, when he portrayed some interesting prisoners of war and put the likeness of uniformed superiors onto paper. He did not, as is well known, live to see the end of the First World War. Anton Kolig painted "in great distress", and he too was limited to portraying officers and prisoners. Schiele, like Kolig and many of their colleagues, did not carry out their services in the face of the enemy but rather behind the easel as war artists to their Majesty or at least to those who were responsible for their country's propaganda. Oskar Kokoschka, in contrast, was injured twice and remained traumatised in Dresden, where he had been sent to recover. Alfons Walde refused to be a war artist. He did not want to glorify death. The portrait of a comrade on Monte Piano lacks the specific, glistening-hard colours used by Walde and after the war, soldiers' graves and grave crosses are painted in accordingly gloomy colours. Can one really visualize war with all its suffering, hardship and death? "If my soldiers see that, they won't come", said Archduke Franz Ferdinand already in 1909 when looking at a painting by Albin Egger-Lienz. The fate of the heir to the throne is well known, the artist, however, was deemed unworthy to serve at arms due to this heart problem and as a civilian, definitely thought he could achieve more for his country. His emaciated "war women", the empty gaze of the soldiers or the dead on the battle field in "Finale" (1918) are anything else but visualized, propagandistic rallying calls. It was presented in an Egger Lienz exhibition in the Welz Gallery in 1940 in a special room, but did not even appear in the catalogue. The reason given was the "undermining" character of the painting. The artist, you have to admit, did everything correctly. Leopold Museum 1070 Vienna, Museumsquartier Tel: +43 1 525 70-0 Fax: +43 1 525 70-1500 E-mail: leopoldmuseum@leopoldmuseum.org www.leopoldmuseum.org Opening hours: Wed - Mon 11 - 19 hours, Fri 11 - 21 hours Startgalerie im MUSA Kirsten Borchert – Transformer 27.06.2014 – 28.08.2014 Otto Neurath's wild grandchild By Wolfgang Pichler The dominant object of this show is, without doubt, a 3x3 m large picture composed of roof battens, press board sheets and colour that gives something like a cryptic pictogram in a simplified form. What Otto Neurath developed in the first decades of the 20th century as the most clearly legible picture language here becomes an erratic, illegible but aesthetically appealing art object. The post-moderne dubiousness and ambiguity is brought into play in this grandiose installation with the language of the Moderne. Naturally, arrows and beams, as well as other extremely simplified forms, are not exclusively modern, much less limited to pictograms. The type of presentation is strongly reminiscent of direction signs but makes one involuntarily think of the work of Otto Neurath, the pioneer of the modern form language. Albeit, the forms here are central. Latest, when one sees the single, not yet mounted slabs leaning against the opposite wall of the room with the same symbols, it becomes clear that the artist brings a further theme of classical modernism into play. The vocabulary, of which Borchert's art consists, is again dissected in a completely deconstructivistic manner, thereby enabling the possibility of putting many other pictures, as desired, into the room in the true sense of the word. The second, but no less spectacular, yet completely different, art work, that immediately stands out is a sculpture constructed out of plywood and concrete. Yet again, it has to do with the clear right-angled, geometric language of constructivism – something along the lines of El Lissitzky or Suetin – which becomes broken and counteracted through the application of coarsely moulded clumps of concrete. Above all, it's fascinating here that the board that should force the concrete material into form results in a geometric structure, whilst the moulded mass seems to escalate untamed and often settles on this structure as if it had been thrown onto it. An analogy of the post-moderne to the moderne is imposed on looking at this sculpture. That all of this is also aesthetically appealing and is not too academic, makes this exhibition definitely recommendable. Startgalerie im MUSA 1010 Vienna, Felderstraße 6-8, next the Town Hall www.musa.at Opening hours: Tue, Wed, Fri 11-18, Thu 11-20, Sat 11-16 hours

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