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Wild Spoerri Rosenstein

Event Label
Vernissage and guided visits
Organisational Units
Location Description
Apartments of Hotel Am Brillantengrund, Bandgasse 2, 1070 Vienna

An exhibition as part of the project Principle of Equality at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna in cooperation with Kontakt Collection, ERSTE Foundation and Hotel am Brillantengrund in the context of VIENNA ART WEEK 2019

Curator: Adam Szymczyk

Participants: Gleb Amankulov, Bob Schatzi Hausmann, Raúl Itamar, Nestor Janković, Robert Jolly, Julia Karpova, Yul Koh, Anthia Loizou, Dean Maassen, Paul Makowsky, Swarnaly Mitra Rini, Lorena Moreno Vera, Kamryn Pariso, Laura Pirgie, Ursula Pokorny, Michael Reindel, Camila Rhodi, Hanna Schibel, Firas Shehadeh, Jiří Tomíček

The exhibition runs from November 20 to November 25, from 12 noon to 7 pm. Visits are possible every hour on the hour and only by appointment. To arrange a personal tour of the exhibition please email

Wild Spoerri Rosenstein is an exhibition of works by students featuring Elisabeth Wild, Daniel Spoerri, and Erna Rosenstein as part of the open class led by Adam Szymczyk as guest lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna under the title Principle of Equality. The title was borrowed from the eponymous seminar run by Anka Ptaszkowska at the École des Beaux-Arts in Caen, France between 1983 and 2003. The class was inaugurated in March 2019 with a lecture by Anka Ptaszkowska.

Principle of Equality, opening lecture by Anka Ptaszkowska, photo © Victor Brazdil

To proclaim the “principle of equality” within an esteemed educational institution is to open up a space for uninhibited individual and collective practice. As the class has been progressing, attention was given to listening and being listened to, those two states that form reciprocity, as seen in the dual figures of speaker/receiver (as per artist Moyra Davey), writer/reader, artist/viewer. At some point in the process, these distinctions and their attendant hierarchies must give way to new relationships between equals.

The show takes its cues from students’ personal encounters with the lives and works of three outstanding artists whose trajectories intersect in Vienna: Elisabeth Wild, Daniel Spoerri, and Erna Rosenstein. Wild (née Pollak) was born in Vienna in 1922 and went into exile in Argentina in 1938; she currently lives and works in Panajachel, Guatemala. Spoerri (née Feinstein) was born in Galați (Romania) in 1930 and, following his father’s murder by Romanian fascists, fled to Switzerland with his mother and siblings in 1942; he currently lives and works in Vienna. Rosenstein, born in Lemberg (then Austria-Hungary) in 1913, studied at the Frauenakademie in Vienna from 1932 to 1934. She survived the Holocaust and continued to live in Poland until her death in 2004.

Works of art are the fruition of individual lives. Objects and narrations produced by artists tell individual histories. Moments of correspondence can be grasped in the biographies and works of the three artists whose practice sets the tone and opens up an array of possible themes for the exhibition, without necessarily predetermining its varied outcome.

As poet, painter, and author of sculptures made of found objects, Erna Rosenstein chose surrealist poetics to give a form to memory in the post-Holocaust era, returning to traumatic episodes from her and her family’s personal biography, inscribed in the Shoah. The exhibition features a work from her “Homeless Pictures” series, an assemblage of paintings on wood board: “From the Very Bottom of Silence” (1986).

Daniel Spoerri’s iconic “picture-traps” or “snare-pictures” are assemblages capturing unique situations and relations between people. The artist likened these works to snapshots, insofar as they materialize specific moments, giving them a provisional permanence. His recent works draw from the nameless and rootless world of things found in flea markets of Vienna. In the exhibition, he will show a selection of visual poems “Fadenscheinige Orakel” (Flimsy Oracles) made of words and phrases cut out from poems and maxims stitched on wall hangings typically found in Austrian homes.

Elisabeth Wild makes a collage a day. Leafing through glossy magazines on art, fashion, home décor, architecture, and design, she cuts up worn pictures of commodities to let a wholly new world come into being. These modestly sized works serve as a diary—but one that constantly produces its own content rather than just records events of the day. In the exhibition, a group of untitled collages created in 2017 will be displayed against the color backdrop chosen by the artist.

The exhibition takes place in the rooms of a typical nineteenth-century Viennese residential building in the Neubau district. In 1938, some of the building’s Jewish tenants left Vienna, fearing repressions, and then lost their lives in Theresienstadt concentration camp. Today, several apartments in the building are used by guests of the hotel next door. Making a work of art gives a form to the longing for a place and permanence that can never be reached. Other worlds emerge that are remembrances of those once known and inhabited.