Opening: September 6, 2001, 7 p.m.
7 September through 20 December 2001
Place of exhibition: Generali Foundation, Wiedner Hauptstraße, 1040 Vienna
Hans Haacke (born in 1936 in Cologne, has lived in New York since 1965) focuses on "a single problem area: how the country deals with its history and national identity. More than I care for, these questions stir up emotions both in Austria and Germany." Haacke was originally concerned with physical and biological systems. Very early on, his artistic practice also included the analysis of and reflection on socio-political phenomena. For the past 30 years, Haacke's work has dealt with social and political themes. He considers the debates arising from his works - fierce at times - to be an integral part of them.
"Mia san mia" (We Are Who We Are) is both the title of the exhibition as well as a new installation which Haacke has especially conceived for Vienna, and which the Generali Foundation has realized in collaboration with the artist. In this piece, Haacke questions the notion "Insula Austria," as Austria was once depicted on the cover of a German art magazine. "Mia san mia" connects three earlier works by the artist in which he also addresses issues associated with the construction of identity. Two of them were either created or conceived in and for Austria. According to his view they "have unfortunately lost none of their relevance." In the installation "Mia san mia" Haacke takes up this issue from a current perspective.
Haacke developed his project "Und Ihr habt doch gesiegt" (And you were victorious after all) for the 1988 "steirische herbst" (Styrian Autumn) in Graz - the general theme was "Schuld und Unschuld in der Kunst" (Guilt and innocence in art). As part of the visual arts section "Bezugspunkte 38/88" (Points of Reference 38/88) he reconstructed a Nazi victory column at the central square "Am Eisernen Tor." Two weeks before the end of the exhibition it was firebombed. Once again in 1996, Haacke was invited to Graz to submit a proposal for a Memorial to the Victims of National Socialism at the Military Target Practice Range "Feliferhof." Also on view is an installation relating to his much-discussed project at the Reichstag building in Berlin (1999/2000).
Curator: Sabine Breitwieser
Curatorial Assistant, Exhibition Production: Nadja Wiesener