Power of Language

From the Collections

Opening: October 19, 2018, 7 p.m.
Exhibition on view: October 20, 2018–April 7, 2019
Place of exhibition: Museum der Moderne Salzburg, Mönchsberg

 

The second exhibition of art from the collections celebrating the Generali
Foundation’s anniversary is dedicated to the creative engagement with
language. It is the tenth in a series of thematically focused presentations
showcasing works from the holdings of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg
and several collections entrusted to its care, including the Austrian Federal
Photography Collection and the Generali Foundation Collection. In this era
of “alternative facts” and “fake news,” it brings artists’ reflections on the
power of language into focus.

 

The dialogue between image and text has become closer since the early
twentieth century, but it has also undergone qualitative changes: language
has become an integral part of visual art on the levels of form and content.
Words, fragments of words, and entire texts appear in pictures and
collages. In concrete poetry, a tendency that has its heyday in the 1950s,
language is treated as a kind of physical material; during the next two
decades, conceptual art, in works that instantiate ideas, relies on language
as the central medium of creative articulation. The exhibition presents
numerous works by international artists of the period, juxtaposing them with
more recent installations, sculptures, and pictures that probe the
entanglements between language and institutional critique, discrimination, 
or gender issues.

 

Language shapes how humans think and act. Words can be subtle
manipulators; metaphors can change the outcome of elections. The power
exerted by the languages of media and politics is evident in the
propaganda in countries ruled by dictators, but also in how it influences the
idiom of everyday life. At a time when lies are labeled “alternative facts”
and people dismiss reporting that contradict their worldviews as “fake
news,” the exhibition surveys the representation and use of letters, words,
and phrases in works in the museum’s collections dating from between the
early nineteenth century and the present. The artists engage with language
in a variety of ways, with approaches ranging from critical and formal to
poetic and playful.

 

With works by Christian Ludwig Attersee, Robert Barry, Josef Bauer, Lothar
Baumgarten, Konrad Bayer, Marcel Broodthaers, Günter Brus, Theresa
Hak Kyung Cha, Lovis Corinth, Verena Dengler, Peter Downsbrough,
Heinrich Dunst, VALIE EXPORT, Rainer Ganahl, Heinz Gappmayr,
Francisco de Goya, Jarosław Kozłowski, David Lamelas, Else Lasker-
Schüler, Stéphane Mallarmé, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Ewa Partum,
Arnulf Rainer, Gerhard Rühm, Ashley Hans Scheirl, Klaus Scherübel,
Ferdinand Schmatz, Kurt Schwitters, Dominik Steiger, Andrea van der
Straeten, Richard Teschner, Ana Torfs, Goran Trbuljak, Joëlle Tuerlinckx,
Timm Ulrichs, Ian Wallace, Oswald Wiener, Heimo Zobernig

 

Curators: Antonia Lotz, Curator Generali Foundation Collection with
Marijana Schneider, Curatorial Assistant, Museum der Moderne Salzburg

 

Further information and events 

Power of Language. From the Collections, exhibition view, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, 2018, © Museum der Moderne Salzburg, photo: Rainer Iglar
Power of Language. From the Collections, exhibition view, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, 2018, © Museum der Moderne Salzburg, photo: Rainer Iglar
Power of Language. From the Collections, exhibition view, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, 2018, © Museum der Moderne Salzburg, photo: Rainer Iglar
Power of Language. From the Collections, exhibition view, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, 2018, © Museum der Moderne Salzburg, photo: Rainer Iglar
Power of Language. From the Collections, exhibition view, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, 2018, © Museum der Moderne Salzburg, photo: Rainer Iglar
Power of Language. From the Collections, exhibition view, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, 2018, © Museum der Moderne Salzburg, photo: Rainer Iglar
Power of Language. From the Collections, exhibition view, Museum der Moderne Salzburg, 2018, © Museum der Moderne Salzburg, photo: Rainer Iglar