Opening: Tues, 29 October 2002, 7.30 pm
Welcome address: Hans-Henning Horstmann, German Ambassador
Introduction: Stephan Schmidt-Wulffen, Rector of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
August Sarnitz, Chicago excursion 2002, IAA

© Galerie Nelson, Paris|Thomas Ruff, h.t.b. 07, 1999   Thomas Ruff, h.t.b. 07, 1999
© Galerie Nelson, Paris

Starting with the winter semester 2002/2003, the intensified and refocused exhibition agenda of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna will programmatically examine the entire range of exhibition practices within an art education context in keeping with the times. The project centers around presentations aimed at revealing the very interfaces where the construction of works of art takes place. In order to deepen this approach, all exhibitions will be accompanied by workshop talks, symposia, and discussions that are independent investigations into the various issues rather than supplementary events.

The opening exhibition in the redesigned spaces on Schillerplatz "l. m. v. d. r., Photographs by Thomas Ruff and IAA students" (IAA Institute for Art and Architecture) exemplifies this approach: the presentation confronts the results of a photo documentation project on Mies van der Rohe's buildings in the USA realized by students of architecture during an excursion to Chicago in 2002 with Thomas Ruff's cycle of photographs dedicated to Mies van der Rohe. The project as a whole primarily revolves around the question how architectural thinking and designing processes translate into the medium of photography.

© Oliver Schäfer|Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Seagram Building, New York, 1954-1958   Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Seagram Building, New York, 1954-1958
© Oliver Schäfer

The selection of student photographs fragmentarily depicts the leitmotifs of Mies's architectural language. The pictures showing the Lake Shore Drive Apartments (1948-1951) and the Seagram Building (1954-1958) focus on the convergent high-rise verticals and the graphic structure of window grids and reflections, as well as on details such as metal facings and glass roof supports. A choreography for the pillars of the base floor and the path roofs unfolds in the change of perspectives. The students seem to have been particularly fascinated by the way the ivy invades the IIT University Campus building (1939-1943), interrupting the clear modernist lines. The change of architecture and subjective photography results in an analysis of Mies's architecture from a specific architectural point of view.

© Galerie Nelson, Paris|Thomas Ruff, h.e.k. 04, 2000   Thomas Ruff, h.e.k. 04, 2000
© Galerie Nelson, Paris

Stimulated by an invitation of the Krefelder Kunstmuseen, Thomas Ruff has dedicated himself to Mies van der Rohe's buildings in Europe between 1999 and 2001. The presentation at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna will confront almost all the pictures of this major cycle with the students' works. The German photo artist uses Mies van der Rohe's approach to building as an opportunity to examine his own design repertoire. His playful color manipulations concentrate on only a few exterior views. This attitude endows the Tugendhat House in Brno or the Esters House in Krefeld with a mysterious aura. On the other hand, Ruff does without the precise contours of the Barcelona Pavilion, for example, as if he had been forced to photograph the building from a car passing by. This emphasizes the artist's manipulative intervention which competes with the architect's creation.

© Galerie Nelson, Paris|Thomas Ruff, h.l.k. 02, 2000   Thomas Ruff, h.l.k. 02, 2000
© Galerie Nelson, Paris

The exhibition confronts two extreme strategies of translating architecture by means of photography: the mainly spontaneous evidence on the one hand and perceptions molded by the filter of an artist's individuality on the other, both of which are not subject to the architect's control. A number of discussions and lectures involving both architects and architectural photographers, as well as art historians, will explore the space between the extremes.

© Conny Cossa|Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Power Station, IIT, 1943   Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Power Station, IIT, 1943
© Conny Cossa

Program of events taking place in the exhibition spaces

Tuesday, 5 November 2002, 6.00 pm
Project Presentation: Excursion to Chicago 2002
Students of architecture photograph Mies van der Rohe's buildings in Chicago
Prof. August Sarnitz and the participants

Tuesday, 12 November 2002, 6.30 pm
Lecture Otto Hochreiter, Vienna
Photography as a means of interpreting architecture

Thursday, 5 December 2002, 6.00 pm
Architecture, Photography, Architectural Photography
Workshop talk with Margherita Spiluttini (photographer, Vienna), Rüdiger Lainer (architect and Professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna), Gregor Eichinger (architect and designer, Vienna), Ute Woltron (architectural critic, Vienna) (presentation)

Tuesday, 14 January 2003, 6.30 pm
Lecture Beatriz Colomina (Princeton University, New York)
Charles and Ray Eames: Photography as an Instrument for Producing Architecture

Translation: mailWolfgang Astelbauer <>

© Guntram Müller|Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Lake Shore Drive Apartments, Chicago, 1948-1951   Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Lake Shore Drive Apartments, Chicago, 1948-1951
© Guntram Müller