Roma and Sinti have historically been an extremely underprivileged group in Austria, and that is putting it lightly. They were systematically persecuted, killed and generally abused – all of that for centuries rather than decades. That has been going on for so long that most of the people who identify as Roma, or Sinti, or one of the many other groups that are usually subsumed under the mantle of “Roma”, would rather that nobody knows of their background. So to see an exhibition that not only talks about the exotification, ostracization and annihilation of the Roma and Sinti in and around Austria, but also about their arts, culture and accomplishments, all curated by Roma and Sinti themselves, is a wonderful thing and I’d urge everybody, in particular Austrians, to see it.
Mira Lobe and Susi Weigel worked together for almost 50 years, creating children’s books that Lobe wrote and Weigel illustrated. Most of those books were extremely successful, many have been translated into many languages. The exhibition shows not only their work and lives, but puts it into a political context that is shaped by the fact that Lobe was Jewish and that both had strong socialist convictions.
I grew up on Mira Lobe and Susi Weigel books, but to see their work in the exhibition really showed me how productive they were – and how much of it I can still discover. I also appreciated the background info that made me look at their books in a new light.
Stanley Kubrick started his career as a photographer for Life Magazine before heading into film. He mostly took photos of people, doing entire portraits of more or less famous people, but also (more or less staged) snapshots on the street or in public transportation. The exhibition I saw tried to give an overview over his work as a photographer by showing the span of his photo essays which worked very well. We also had an interesting guided tour. Generally I think I like his photographic work better than his cinematic work, though already in his photographs he shows a keen eye for the right moment and for the (necessary) theatracality.
You can find some of my favorite images after the jump.
[Trigger Warning: Violence]
The exhibition starts with one of Helnwein’s earliest piece – an water color he submitted as an entrance exam for art school and moves through his career, though not completely chronologically.
The exhibition is really short – we were through in less than an hour. And while I wanted a drink several times while I walked through it, at no point did I hit the point of museum overload as I usually do during these exhibitions. So afterwards we walked through the rest of the Albertina, looking at Gunter Damisch’s work and the permanent exhibition. When we had finished that, our brains were sizzling, though.
In any case, it’s an excellent exhibition, giving you a great overview over his work – from his water colors to his photography to his hyperrealist paintings. Easy entertainment it is not. But it’s great.
After the jump some of my favorite images, as usual. [Taken from here.]
In January, I went to Berlin again for a couple of days with my parents. Mainly to visit my sister and her family, but also to get away for a bit. Plus, we crammed culture in that trip like it’s nobody’s business.
There has been quite some outrage when the exhibition opened in Vienna. Because the poster that advertised it actually showed *gasp* naked men! Not doing anything sexual, not even remotely pornographic, just standing there.
I do think that there were more female photographers honored this year than in the previous years. I don’t have a statistic, but that’s my impression. If it’s true, it’s pretty damn cool and should be encouraged.
Let’s get started with the overall winner:
MELPOMENA – LINE IN Yourself 2012 was an event at the Fluc, a mix of live concerts, exhibition and party. First there was a concert from Serbian electro-punk band Ilegalne emocije, then Bosnian duo Basheskia & Edward EQ were playing and then there was a DJ. During all of that there was also a photo exhibition of Branimir Prijak‘s work, called “Monuments of the Revolution” where he photographed monuments all over the former Yugoslavia. [I didn’t know any of these artists before – I went there completely blind, actually not knowing exactly what I had signed up for at all. Adventure!]
I was actually not familiar with Sternfeld’s work before going to the exhibition. In fact, it was a complete coincidence that I ended up seeing it at all. The Albertina had a party event on their terrace that me and B. wanted to check out. The party was pretty goddamn awful, but surprisingly you could wander through the Sternfeld exhibition for free and that’s what we did. [Apparently that’s what happens when I try to party.]
Anyway, I quite liked the photos. He has some very nice landscapes (especially of The Meadows, Northhampton), but the two series I liked the most were photos of places where crimes had happened a while back, in which he showed the mundance places and describes the crimes comitted there and photos of former communes and utopian projects and what (little) remained of them today. It was really interesting.
You can find my favorites below.
In Metnitz, a small town in Carinthia, you can find a Danse Macabre, a painting of Death dancing with people from all kinds of classes – from the pope through the king to knights, cooks, mothers and children. Those Danse Macabres can be found all around Europe.
The one in Metnitz can be found on the outside of the church’s ossuary and is from the 15th century. The original painting was removed from the ossuary and restored and can be found in the Metnitzer Totentanzmuseum. The paintings have also been copied back onto the outside of the ossuary.
I liked the idea of a Danse Macabre and the one in Metnitz is particularly nice because it also includes text that is pretty cool. And the museum itself is so eccentric that it is worth a visit on its own.