April 10 - April 24, 2000
With a work by Günter Brus the Secession is continuing to comment on the
political situation in Austrian on the façade of the building. (Open letter to the Austrian president by the board of the Secession).
The Secession, a private and independent artists' association, is one of
Austria's leading institutions for contemporary art. The building is a
famous landmark. Taking into account that its facade is one of the most
photographed sites in Vienna, we are using it as a platform for critical
artistic thought and expression. The right-hand wing of the façade has
again and again been used in the history of the Secession for advertising
purposes in that exhibition posters of the Secession were displayed on it.
Now this wing is provided for various artistic thoughts.
In 1968 Brus was one of the protagonists of the event "Art and Revolution"
in Vienna which went down in history as the so-called University Scandal.
Convicted of "debasing Austrian symbols" and "violating morals and
decency", he fled to Berlin with his wife and child. It was there that he
founded the "Austrian government in exile" with Oswald Wiener and Gerhard
At that time Brus was engaged in actions, which were centred on his own
body following paintings in abstract-expressionist style while trying to
reduce additional material to a minimum, and also started to work on a
combination of image and text. In this context, one of his most important
publications, "Irrwisch" ("Will-o'-the Wisp") came out in 1971. One year
later, he launched his text-image edition "Der Balkon Europas" ("The
Balcony of Europe"), which also marked the beginning of his "image-poetry".
Brus himself said about the artistic method combining text and image:
"Without language the image would be hackneyed, proscribed and on the spot.
Only the word could move spaces and details from zero hour to the first
hour but words as a raw material alone would not be capable of generating
energy, either." (quoted according to J. Schwanberg). In his work on the
Secession façade the play on language and the synthesis of visual and
linguistic elements continues: both the combination of text ("Normal
Austrians and voting Austrians call for a Ministry for the Revival of
Activities and Apologies") and visual background (quoting the Austrian flag
in its use of red, white and red) on the one hand, and the visual quality
of the handwriting which causes the draughtsman in the artist and the
gesture involved in writing something by hand to converge with the letters
forming a sentence on the other hand are elements which Günter Brus uses to
create a variation on the transdisciplinary method that brings word and
Each project of this series will be on view on the right-hand wing of the
front façade for two weeks, produced in Calsi-technique by the company
Beko, and will be documented and included in a final publication.
This project is entirely funded by private individuals, and should run for
half a year.
Other artists include among others: Monica Bonvicini, Louise Bourgeois,
Jochen Gerz, Renée Green, Ilya Kabakov, Joseph Kosuth, Peter Land, Werner
Reiterer, Milica Tomic, Heimo Zobernig.
For updated information please contact Matthias Herrmann, Sylvie Liska and
Eleonora Louis at the Vienna Secession on +43-1-587 53 07.