Opening: Thursday, 20 October 2005, 7 pm
Exhibition: 21 October - 11 December 2005
Exhibition spaces of the Academy of Fine Arts, Schillerplatz 3, 1010 Vienna, daily from 11 am to 6 pm
To honor one of its professors who retired last year, the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna will show an exhibition of works by Bruno Gironcoli. With its selection spanning the period from 1964 to 1977, the year when Gironcoli was appointed professor, the exhibition offers the rare opportunity to gain an insight into this important Austrian artist's early oeuvre.
Gironcoli's work sprang from portrait drawings and the attempt to translate an attitude of drawing inspired by Giacometti into spatial structures. Some "heads" reduced to the most minimal forms from 1964 and 1965, results of the artist's first venture in this direction, open up an access to the presentation. In 1967, this abstract representation of man was replaced with some form of redefinition by means of instruments and commodities that (might) affect the human body. A very impressive example of this mise-en-scène approach is a work titled "Mutter Vater" ("Mother Father," 1967-1978), which has not been shown for twenty years. This installation includes numerous parts, which are connected metaphorically by electricity, and conveys a feeling of exposedness and menace.
The large-format drawings dating from about the time of origin of this work and other installations may be regarded as a representation of those forms of behavior possible within these theatrical spaces. They help to better understand the three-dimensional works, and their existentialist tenor reveals Gironcoli's distant relationship with Viennese Actionism.
An essential aspect of this period is the artist's exploration of the nature of fascism. Occasionally, Gironcoli, trained in the "dialectics of Enlightenment," has even used the swastika and thus anticipated certain provocative strategies of the 1980s and 1990s. Gironcoli has (almost) never presented this early work to date because relating to the symbol as such was considered a breach of taboo at that time. The exhibition at the Academy is aimed at highlighting these suppressed dimensions in the development of Gironcoli's work without ignoring the ambivalence connected with an artist's use of this symbol of a criminal regime and organized mass murder.
Bruno Gironcoli Biografie
Born on September 27, 1936 in Villach, Carinthia.
1951-1956 goldsmith, silversmith and coppersmith apprenticeship in Innsbruck. During this time his interest in painting was sparked.
1957-1959 studied painting under Eduard Bäumer at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna.
1960-1961 stay in Paris, in this period he created his "Wüste Zeichnungen des Eros - Pflanzenwelt der Konflikte ..." Most important artistic and theoretical impulses: Alberto Giacometti, existentialist literature, the writings of the Frankfurt School, Marxist theory.
1961-1963 studied metal processing at under Eugen Meier at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna. Nude an portrait studies as well as first attempts to transform an image of a human figure into three-dimensional form, objects out of wood, nylon, iron, aluminium, glass flux, etc.
1964-1965 Transformation of the human figure with sculptural means: "wire sculptures", hollow body forms made of cardboard, first polyester objects, works on paper for development and tentatively formulation of ideas for his sculptures.
1967 first one-man show with polyester works at the Galerie Hildebrand, Klagenfurt.
1968 he developed a model which he named after a novel by Samuel Beckett, "Murphy": "I hit upon this model in this form again and again and with this tenacious search I was also able to again and again develop new dimensions of human categories or categories of representation. This form has not remained constant and the same even the basic context is still the same. I still make such figures today, they always have the same basic context. ..." (Bruno Gironcoli, Bregenzer Kunstverein, Palais Thurn & Taxis, Bregenz 1995, p. 13)
1971-1976 Since the end of the sixties a strong change in Gironcoli's notion of sculputre can be noted: a move away from the representational possibilities of the human figure and towards to the arrangements of objects spread over the room. For this sort of open sculpture, he used everyday objects such as cleaning utensils, dishes, cutlery, shows, plugs and electrical appliances. He showed these pieces together with the works on paper that he was creating at the same time as Austria's representative at the Biennial in São Paulo.
1976 Preis der Stadt Wien für Bildende Kunst - Bildhauerei (Fine Arts Prize of the city of Vienna - Sculpture)
1977 first comprehensive exhibition of his works at the Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna.
In the same year Gironcoli became the head of the sculpture school of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna as the successor of Fritz Wotruba. Gironcoli for the first time had large studio space to work in which was to a lasting effect on his artistic production. He was to retain the formal idiom that he had developed in the preceding years but at the same time he radically changed its appearance: the objects were now condensed to assemblage-like sculptures.
1986 On the occasion of the Steirischer Herbst (Styrian Fall), his work "Väterliches - Mütterliches. Eine fiktive Modellvorstellung" (Paternal - Maternal. A Fictive Model Idea) was shown for the first time at the Künstlerhaus Graz. This sculpture reflects his intense preoccupation with the dimension of gender in its polar constitution (Wilfried Skreiner), one of Bruno Gironcoli's main themes.
1989 Austrian Sculpture Prize of the Erste Allgemeine Generali-Foundation
1990-1991 In his news works on paper Gironcoli discovered a painterly language which emerged independent of sculputure.
1993 Großer Österreichischer Staatspreis (main Austrian Prize)
1995 large retrospektive at the Bregenz Kunstverein
2004 The Academy of Fine Arts Vienna confer emeritus status on Bruno Gironcoli by the end of the summer term.
Solo exhibitions (selection)
1968 Galerie nächst St. Stephan, Vienna (Austria)
1970 Museum des 20. Jahrhunderts, Vienna (Austria)
1978 Städtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich (Germany)
1981 Kunstverein, Frankfurt (Germany)
1986 Väterliches - Mütterliches (Paternal - Maternal), Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz (Austria)m
1995 Bruno Gironcoli, Arbeiten 1962 bis 1995 (works 1962-1995), Bregenzer Kunstverein, Palais Thurn & Taxis (Austria)
1997 Die Ungeborenen (The Unbegotten), MAK - Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna (Austria)
1999 Lady Madonna, MAK - Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna (Austria)
1999 Sculptures et travaux sur papier, Galerie Bernard Jordan, Paris (France)
Group exhitibitons (selection)
1968 Profile VIII, Österreichische Kunst heute, Museum Bochum (Germany)
1971 XI. Bienal de São Paulo, National representation (Brazil)
1973 The Austrian Exhibition, Richard Demarco Gallery, Edinburgh; ICA London (United Kingdom)
1984 Arte Austriaca 1960-1984, Galleria Comunale d'Arte Moderna, Bologna (Italy)
1989 Prospect 89, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt; Frankfurter Kunstverein (Germany)
1996 Austria im Rosennetz, MAK - Austrian Museum of Applied Arts, Vienna (Austria); (1998) Palais des Beaux Arts, Brussels (Belgium)
2003 Biennale di Venezia, Austrian pavilion (Italy)
Special Thanks to:
Sammlung Generali Foundation, Vienna