7 September through 20 December 2001
Place of exhibition: Generali Foundation, Wiedner Hauptstraße, 1040 Vienna
For this exhibition works by Gottfried Bechtold, Norbert Brunner/Michael Schuster, Maria Eichhorn, VALIE EXPORT, Harun Farocki, Dan Graham, Hans Haacke, Johanna Kandl, Mary Kelly, Richard Kriesche, Gordon Matta-Clark, Walter Pichler, Martha Rosler, Gerhard Rühm, VALIE EXPORT/Peter Weibel, Franz West and Heimo Zobernig have been selected. Some of them are new acquisitions and are presented for the first time.
Since 1988 the Generali Foundation has collected contemporary art, emphasizing critical art that is dismissed by many as "difficult." The Generali Foundation's main activities are the accumulation of a collection of international art, which has become highly regarded - as well as conducting research and producing documentation. Whereas public collections (and many private ones as well) aspire to be "comprehensive," the Generali Foundation, under the leadership of Sabine Breitwieser, has focused for many years on specific artists and/ or themes. These include conceptual and performative aspects of art, the cross-over of architecture and design, as well as approaches that critically explore the role of the media and social conventions. Photography, film, video and installation have a special place in the Generali Foundation Collection. Works from the 1960s are juxtaposed with works from the 1990s and put in the context of current art discourse.
The archives and a library are a particularly important part of the collection. They are open to the public in the Reference Room of the Generali Foundation. In Austria, the Generali Foundation is the only institution that collects video art and makes it accessible to the public. A special Media Lounge opened in fall 2001.
In relation to the exhibition with Hans Haacke, the purchase of a large group of works has been finalized. Hans Haacke's two Austrian projects "And You Were Victorious After All" (1988) and "Feliferhof" (1996) as central works in the Generali Foundation Collection, convey a sense of its concept of art. In addition, the legendary "Condensation Cube" (1963-65), as well as the installation "Circulation" (1969), were acquired. Both are early works, at a time when Haacke was concerned with the dynamics of fluids, and they are on view in this exhibition of the collection.
"I Thought I Was Seeing Convicts" (2000) and "Schnittstelle A+B" (Interface A+B, 1995), two video installations by Harun Farocki, are among other major recent purchases, as well as "Dialektstudie I" (Investigation of Dialect, 1979) and "Dialektstudie II" (1999) by Norbert Brunner/Michael Schuster. From an art historical point of view, certain works are already regarded as seminal e. g. "Aus der Mappe der Hundigkeit" (1969) by VALIE EXPORT/Peter Weibel or "14 Minuten im Leben von ..." (14 Minutes in the Life of ..., 1977) by Richard Kriesche. Johanna Kandl's installation "Das Geschlossene System" (The Closed System, 1993), which was created on the occasion of the war in former Yugoslavia, is presented with reference to recent developments.
Works from the Generali Foundation Collection are frequently on loan to exhibitions at international institutions. In particular, the video installation "I Thought I Was Seeing Convicts" (2000) by Harun Farocki has been shown at a number of important venues in Europe, and America in 2001. Several one-person shows by VALIE EXPORT (Philadelphia, Santa Monica/Los Angeles, Innsbruck) have been made possible through loans from the Generali Foundation Collection. Prototypes by Walter Pichler were exhibited in 2001 at the Musée national d'art moderne Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. The last time the Generali Foundation presented "views of the collection" in its own exhibition facilities was in 1999. At present, the Foundation is preparing an exhibition to travel internationally, starting in 2005.
Curator: Sabine Breitwieser
Curatorial Assistant, Exhibition Production: Nadja Wiesener