Metnitzer Totentanzmuseum (Metnitz’ Danse Macabre Museum)

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.

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Newcastle and more

My sister is doing a fellowship at the hospital in Newcastle (upon Tyne). Which means I had the best excuse to finally go to the UK again. So I did. ;) Surprisingly, this time I didn’t need any extra bags to bring all my shopping home with me and I didn’t only buy books but even (gasp) clothes.

But since I didn’t only shop but actually saw quite a lot, let me start at the beginning.

[Pic taken from here]

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Magritte is a current exhibition of René Magritte‘s work in the Albertina, focusing mostly on his early career and lesser known aspects of his work.

I really enjoyed the exhibition. I do like Magritte’s better known things as well, but it was interesting to get a look at what else he did and where he started from. And it was exactly the right length – just when I thought that I would hit brain overload pretty soon, we had reached the last room. Now that’s what I call timing.

Throughout the exhibition we also got quotes from Magritte which gave you ideas of his thought processes.

This is how we see the world. We see it outside ourselves and yet we have an image of it inside ourselves.

Or sometimes just wonderful phrases like “topicality of the present”:

I hate my past and that of others. I had resignation,  professional heroism, and all obligatory suavities. I hate the decorative arts, folklore, and advertising. I hate the odour of naphthalene and the topicality of the present. I like subtle humour, freckles, long hair on women, the laughter of children, a girl running in the street. I wish for myself true love and the impossible. I long for phantasms.

An excellent exhibition.

Find my favorite pieces to get a small walk-through of the exhibition. You can also go see it for another 6 days at the Albertina.

[The Secret Player]

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World Press Photo 2011

As every year, deadra and me headed to the World Press Photo exhibition. The photos were very impressive again and I had to fight tears a couple of times. [Sometimes I really am too touchy. Or to put a positive spin on it: boy, am I empathic.] While that is one of the reasons I don’t really follow the news regularly, it’s a good thing that at least this exhibition catches me up on important things once a year.

It seemed that there were less nature photos this year than usual, but that’s just a minor sidenote  – generally the photos were brilliant.

After the jump, find my favorites.

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Le Surréalisme, c’est moi!

Le Surréalisme, c’est moi! Salvador Dalí & Louise Bourgeois, Glenn Brown, Markus Schinwald, Francesco Vezzoli” is an exhibition currently in the Kunsthalle Wien.

The exhibition shows Salvador Dalí in relation to other artists. In fact, there is mostly art from the other artists and very little from Dalí himself. Though the walls in the entrance area are covered with quotes by Dalí and since he’s got some great quotes, that’s pretty awesome. And there was the illustrations for the Maldoror Songs which were interesting, though definitely not my favorite Dalí drawings..

The artists shown are very different and I absolutely fell in love with Francesco Vezzoli‘s work and Glenn Brown‘s work, though Louise Bourgeois and Markus Schinwald were not so much my thing.

It’s a very short exhibition and if I hadn’t seen it in combination with the Space one, I probably would have been slightly disappointed and annoyed by that. As it was, it was a very good second course.

Also, coolest bit of trivia I learned: Dalí started signing empty sheets of paper and those still keep turning up as forgeries. (According to wikipedia, he was forced to do so. The exhibition didn’t mention that part.)

[Portrait by Philippe Halsman]

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Space. About a Dream

Space. About a Dream was an exhibition at the Kunsthalle Wien. Taking the 50th anniversary of the Yuri Gagarin‘s flight into space as the occasion, the exhibition looks at how space has inspired us – in art, dream and science. There are paintings, videos and installations.

The exhibition starts with a timeline of space travel and a snippet of 2001: A Space Odyssey (of this scene in particular, which means that there was a one minute or so loop of the Blue Danube Waltz which must have driven the people working there completely mad). It then quickly goes to cover a lot of art forms and styles and I really enjoyed myself. It had the perfect length for an exhibition (though I admittedly skipped most of the video installation. Especially the three hours of circular camera movement. Though there was also a complete recording of Orson WellesThe War of the Worlds) and there was a lot of cool art. Also, did you know about Henrietta Swan Leavitt and the Harvard Computers?

In the end it was an exhibition that left me elated and inspired and smiling. I’m sorry that I went on the last day  to see it because I seriously wanted to tell everyone that they should go and check it out.

[Vladimir Dubossarsky & Alexander Vinogradov: Cosmonaut No 1]

After the jump find my favorite pieces. [Since there are a whole lot of them, this post is pretty long.]

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HR Giger – Dreams and Visions

HR Giger – Dreams and Visions was a H. R. Giger exhibition at the Vienna Kunst Haus.

The exhibition gave an overview over Giger’s art, be it his paintings, drawings or sculptures and of course his film work. It was rather short, which worked in my favor because I managed to wait until two hours before closing time on the last day to enter the exhibition and I wouldn’t have had more time anyway.

Giger’s work is fascinating – it’s intricate, it’s scary, at times it’s surprisingly tender and his relationship with women and the female body begs for a Freudian analysis (which probably wouldn’t work too much in his favor). His style is very distinct – one recognises Giger when one sees his work. I don’t like all of his pieces, some I think are pretty sexist, but he also has paintings and sculptures that have such a haunting beauty that it makes me a little sad.

In short, it was a fascinating exhibition, though I think the part I liked most were the people who were there. Already in the tram on the way you could pinpoint the people who would be standing next to you in the exhibition: dressed in black, long hair, piercings, tattoos – not the usual art crowd.

After the jump my favorite pieces, as usual.

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Frida Kahlo Retrospective

The Frida Kahlo Retrospective is a current exhibition [unfortunately, there’s no proper link so after December 5, this won’t point to the exhibition directly anymore] in the Bank Austria Kunstforum in Vienna. It gives an overview over Frida Kahlo’s work. Additionally, it shows photos of her and her family.

I have never seen so many people in a museum before.  [I mean, I saw the masses at the Louvre and then didn’t go in and I saw the masses at the Sistine Chapel and then didn’t go in, but I  actually went into the Kunstforum, so I’m only counting this.] You didn’t walk through the exhibition, you were pushed through it and sometimes you had to use your elbows to actually see a painting.

This is not the best museum experience to be had, of course. But Frida Kahlo’s paintings are definitely worth it. What’s not so much worth it are the photos, though. Some are rather interesting – especially the ones by Nickolas Muray – but some are just filler [especially when the plaques were as helpful as “Frida Kahlo with two unknown persons.” And that’s all the information you got]. And if there’s one thing this exhibition doesn’t need, it’s additional content.

But, as I said, Kahlo’s paintings (especially the self-portraits) themselves are wonderful and definitely worth to spend 90 minutes like sardines in a can.

[Self-portrait with thorn necklace and hummingbird]

After the jump, you can find my favorites!

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World Press Photo 2010

deadra and me went to the World Press Photo exhibition again. [This year, we made the good choice to do so on a weekday and not in the evening.] There were some brilliant pieces again this year, but it seemed to me to be a weaker year. [Could be my imagination, though.] There were also surprisingly many black and white photos.

There were a few exhibits centered around gender, which were really interesting, but there were also a few I didn’t get at all like [the whole Hungry Horse pictures].

As usual, you can find my favorites after the jump. You can find all the winners here.

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IT, Alcohol, Mucha, Alcohol, Kafka, Alcohol

A couple of weeks ago I went to Prague. [For a business trip. Yes, I’m still smug about that.] I was sent there for an IT training* and since the friend formerly known as abstrakt teashoe and B. wanted to see Prague as well and had actually decided to go on a trip there before they knew I was going there as well, I stayed an additional weekend there with the both of them to do some more sightseeing.** And drinking.***

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