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Opening | 17.10.2019, 7.00 p.m.
Date | 18.10.2019 - 14.12.2019
Venue | xE – Ausstellungsraum der Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien, Eschenbachgasse 11, Ecke Getreidemarkt, 1010 Wien

Curators and contributions to the exhibition: Simone Bader, Jannik Franzen, Berivan Güngör, Marwa Abou Hatab, Katharina Hölzl, Pille-Riin Jaik, Ma Jia, Jakob Krameritsch, Emanuel Mauthe, Florian Mayer, Jelena Micić, Christian Mühlbauer, Bianca Phos, Markus Sigl, and Heimo Zobernig


Bianca Phos, Opazität, 2016


Idyll and seclusion were the main attractions that the first press reports on the newly built sculpture studios of the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna’s Prater gave special emphasis in 1913. From their very first hour, the studios seemed to ensure a counterworld to the metropolitan and cosmopolitan city’s quickfire bustle, a paradise on the fringes of busyness.

The attachment of a special status has run through the history of the Academy’s “Special School for Sculpture” like a red thread to this day. Subjecting this special status to a scholarly and artistic revision provides the starting point from which the exhibition unfolds. It is explored, among other aspects, as a subversive strategy of opacity, an interinstitutional relationship, and—insofar as it references the idyll as naivety—a social-romantic ideology that does not stand up to close scrutiny.

Numerous examples illustrate how intensely their male (and from 1921 also their female) protagonists used, reclaimed, and sometimes extended their social, political and artistic radii of operation and became interwoven with the current events of their day. Sculptors defended art as a male bastion to the very end, for example; they followed the memorandum of 1938 that credited sculpture with a great potential for National Socialist propaganda. Both teachers and students participated in the visual production aimed at maintaining colonial hierarchies and Eurocentric binarities, as they did in the context of joint projects with the adjoining Wurstelprater amusement park, for example.