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Date | 01.07.2021 - 02.07.2021
Venue | Volkskundemuseum Wien Laudongasse 15–19, 1080 Vienna

Symposium of the FWF PEEK Projektes PPC [568] on the critical reappraisal of the history of the commune at Friedrichshof. Using the example of the Mühl commune, the symposium explores the question: How to deal with art that has been created in problematic contexts. Who curates, speaks about this art: so far – now – in the future?

Every day from 15.00- to 20.00
Installation every day from 14.00

How to deal with art created in problematic contexts. What if art has been created in contexts of violence? What if artworks have been created in authoritarian structures and people have been subjected to psychological, physical or sexualized violence? Who curates or speaks about this art in the past – present – future?

The FWF PEEK project for a critical reappraisal of the history of the commune at Friedrichshof, which was founded by the Viennese Actionist artist Otto Mühl in 1972 and dissolved by the communards in 1990, will explore the following questions in a two-day symposium together with art scholars, curators and activists: How do violence and aesthetics relate to each other? How are ‘artistic value’ and violent production to be weighed against each other? How should we deal with art that breaks the law and art works by criminals? In the course of the MeToo debate and postcolonial discourses, questions of representation, image production and display practice have been controversially discussed in the cultural industry and museums in recent years. On the one hand, this means that the analysis and evaluation of images and works has included their production context. And on the other hand, this requires that the selection and presentation of exhibits have also actively involved individuals who suffered the violent contexts and have a vested interest in power over the images. In the art context, this debate encounters limits defined by the consensus of freedom and autonomy of artistic action. Criticism of the system and society cannot be thought of without freedom from specifications, breaking taboos, and acting against social norms. But how is the hierarchy between freedom of art and violence of production negotiated? How are artistic, ethical, sociopolitical, legal, and economic dimensions of the work to be weighed against each other when the exhibition of works reproduces the violence of their production?

When something is shown, it is a matter of giving the object, the artifact, the work of art, as far as possible, the multi-perspectivity that it needs in order to be able to initiate a complex discourse and reflection process. This is precisely what the symposium aims to contribute to, and to do so we have invited actors from museums, art studies and history, curators, viewers and a critical public.

The event is organized and conceived by the PEEK project team together with Susanne Wernsing (historian and curator) and Zarah Gutsch (activist of the group MATHILDA, who grew up at Friedrichshof).

Organization and conception: Paul-Julien Robert, Ida Clay, Elisabeth Schäfer, together with Susanne Wernsing (historian and curator) and Zarah Gutsch (group MATHILDA, grew up at Friedrichshof)

With et al.:

Kimberly Bradley (Cultural journalist), Carola Dertnig (Performance Artist, Professor Academy of Fine Arts Vienna), Rainer Fuchs (Chief Curator MUMOK Vienna), Branislav Jakovljevic (Theatre & Performance Studies, Stanford University), Herbert Justnik (Curator Volkskunde Museum Vienna), Stella Rollig (General Director Belvedere Vienna), Eva Sangiorgi (Director Viennale), Nina Schedlmayer (Editor in Chief Culture Magazine „morgen“), Lea Susemichel (writer, Executive editor an.schläge. Das feministische Magazin), Angela Stief (Chief Curator Albertina Modern Vienna), Daniela Zyman (Chief Curator Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary Vienna)