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Hidden Art Collection in Lower Carinthia

Ausstellung, Rennertz Bohatsch

Ausstellung, Rennertz Bohatsch, © Leonie Bockelmann

Who would have thought of an incredible art collection in the middle of nowhere, in lower Carinthia, hidden underground?

Not many of us, I guess.

A group of young art-loving internationals made their way to Carinthia to discover the hidden and unknown treasures of Carinthia. Most of them have never even heard of this part of Austria, but they were curious to visit a new place and were even more fascinated by visiting an underground art foundation.

The treasure they discovered was not one of the best of Austria’s art collections from 1950 onwards, they also took notice of the astonishing architecture, designed by the Viennese architectural group “querkraft”.

The current exhibition at the Liaunig Foundation focuses on art from 19080 until the present day. The exhibition displays in two parts under the title Reality and Abstraction, spotlights major aspects of contemporary Austrian art, supplemented by examples of work from international artists. Part I of the show opens in May 2011 and presents expressive-gestural tendencies in painting, sculpture and graphics. In 2012, follows Part II, which will be concerned primarily with concrete and reductive positions.

The 1980s are associated primarily with the return of painting. Catchphrases such as the “painting decade” describe the fresh élan with which the easel painting once more occupied centre-stage. With the artists of the “Neue Wilden” group such as Alfred Klinkan, Siegfried Anzinger, Alois Mosbacher, Hubert Schmalix, Roman Scheidl, Gunter Damisch, Walter Vopava, Herbert Brandl, Erwin Bohatsch or Hubert Scheibl, the exhibition will include important representatives of neo-expressive painting in Austria, whose work has also met with international acclaim. It is the aim of the Collection to present an extensive reflection of Austrian contemporary art and therefore the “Neue Wilden” will be supplemented by other artists of this generation such as Thomas Reinhold, Helmut Swoboda, Johann Julian Taupe, Alois Köchl, Christoph Luger, Johanes Zechner, Gustav Januš and the former members of the REM group ManfreDu Schu, Hannes Priesch and Irma Eberl. Moreover, current works from this artistic generation will provide an insight into recent purchases by the Collection. The continuity so characteristic of Austrian painting will be demonstrated clearly in the exhibition by works from Kurt Kocherscheidt, Peter Krawagna, Jürgen Messensee, Alois Riedl and Karl Korab, which as a precursory generation exerted a major influence and still serves to shape the painting of today. Franco Kappl, Eva Wagner, Petra Sterry, Martin Schnur and Christian Schwarzwald and graphic work from Bernd Koller will represent the young guard and although these artists adopt an extremely diverse range of positions with their work, both the figurative and the abstract visual solutions constantly have a focus on the respective medium employed and a direct form language that is occasionally highly spontaneous and gestural.

Apart from painting, the exhibition will present a large selection of contemporary sculpture in an inter-generation collection of Austrian and international artists comprised of numerous sculptural works and objects. These will include pieces by Tony Cragg, Anthony Caro, Matt Mullican, Erwin Wurm, Peter Dörflinger, Marianne Maderna, the German Karl Manfred Rennertz, Johann Feilacher, Franz Pichler, Herbert Flois and Alfred Haberpointner, as well as works from artists such as Tone Fink, Walter Weer, ManfreDu Schu and Erwin Wurm, who have discovered new materials that include textiles, paper and card. Furthermore, with Lorenz Estermann, Fabian Seiz, the recently internationally honoured Hubert Kostner, who comes from southern Tyrol, and his fellow countryman, Markus Delago, the Collection will provide a review of the young generation of object artists.

by Gabrielle Berlin