We have managed to create a clear and unique profile for the VIENNAFAIR
within the international art fair scene in the past six years. To strengthen the focus on galleries and contemporary art from the countries of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe and to achieve at the same time a sustainable development of the presence of major international galleries was the basis for our decision to appoint a new artistic director for the VIENNAFAIR, Matthias Limbeck, topical manager at Reed Exhibitions Messe Wien, comments the choice of the new artistic director Georg Schöllhammer, who will be acting in collaboration with Hedwig Saxenhuber. Both have acquired a high degree of competence and an extensive network of contacts, especially in the countries of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, in their longstanding careers as critics, curators and editors. We deem ourselves very lucky that this knowledge can now be applied to the VIENNAFAIR and the market place Vienna, Limbeck continues. The VIENNAFAIR organizational committee at Reed Exhibitions Messe Wien with Christian Freidl as section manager Fair Trades and Eckart Nussbaumer as operational fair director in charge look very forward to collaborating intensely with Georg Schöllhammer and Hedwig Saxenhuber, as well as to new concepts for the continuing positive development of the VIENNAFAIR.
Re-Anchoring the Market and Idea Place Vienna Internationally
Hedwig Saxenhuber and I have both got to know and learnt to understand the art world through our functions as critics and curators. This makes it all the more appealing to take over this task and to re-anchor the market place and particularly the idea place Vienna internationally, Georg Schöllhammer describes his motive to accept the post as artistic director of the VIENNAFAIR in collaboration with Hedwig Saxenhuber. The VIENNAFAIR has become an important information market for the region of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe in a short period of time. A position which is internationally simply expected of the art venue Vienna. In an environment in which other art fairs also attempt to occupy this place it becomes all the more important to make good use of the locational advantage and to consolidate and further extend the status achieved. With our curating and editing activities we have contributed a little to develop Viennas significant role as place of exchange, and we have also initiated a few international artistic careers from here. The intention is to make the VIENNAFAIR the central market place, not only for Eastern and South-Eastern Europe but develop it further beyond that. And this aims not only at Western collectors but equally at international museums and public collections which only now begin to discern the historic and regional gaps in their European collections. And private collectors from these regions are also to be included. It is clear that this will be a long-term project. And it is clear that the turn-over must be met. The international competition is fierce; placing a trade fair becomes increasingly difficult. But at good trade fairs, not only goods but also ideas are traded. This is a Viennese strength and it is our strength. Also part of it is naturally that all strong players are invited on site to collaborate because only with tight collaboration the strengths of the art fair venue Vienna can be elaborated and further developed.
Georg Schöllhammer is founding editor of springerin - Hefte für Gegenwartskunst, free author and curator. As director of tranzit.at, Schöllhammer is co-curator of Manifesta 8 (Murcia 2010). From 2004 to 2007 he was chief editor of documenta 12, for which he conceptualized documenta_Magazines, a cooperational project of more than 100 periodicals worldwide.
Currently, he is active as founding member of the European museum cooperation LInternational and is working amongst others on long-term concepts and projects of the research, collection and exhibition cooperations between the museums Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Museu d´Art Contemporani de Barcelona, Barcelona, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana, and artist archives such as, amongst others, The KwieKulik Archives, Warsaw and Jùlius Koller Society, Bratislava, which he presides. Georg Schöllhammer also heads, amongst others, the international research projects Lokale Modernen Architektur am Rande der Sowjetunion (Local Modernities Architecture on the Fringes of the Soviet Union; Frankfurt/Berlin), Sweet Sixties (urban Avantgardes in the shade of the Cold War in Algiers, Beirut, Delhi, Kiev, Istanbul, Rabat, Yerevan, Tbilisi, Zagreb); he advises the European research initiative Former West which deals with questions of contemporary art after 1989. In 2011 he will curate not only solo exhibitions by KwieKulik and Július Koller but also, amongst others, the exhibition on Soviet Modernity, Sowjet-Moderne 19601991, at the Architekturzentrum Wien.
Georg Schöllhammer is also member of the programme advisory board of steirischer herbst, Graz, and the Austrian UNESCO commission as well as corresponding member of Wiener Secession. Since the beginning of the 1980s, Georg Schöllhammer has worked as architecture and art critic and wrote for Austrian newspapers Die Presse (19861988) and Der Standard (19881994). He lives and works in Vienna.
Hedwig Saxenhuber is one of the editors of springerin Hefte für Gegenwartskunst, curator, art critic and corresponding member of Wiener Secession. She has been organizing and conceptualizing numerous exhibitions, projects, symposiums and film programmes since 1989. These include: Wittgenstein Projekt: Das Spiel des Unsagbaren (The Play of the Unsayable; artistic concept: Joseph Kosuth, 1989), Malen ist Wahlen (exhibition with Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen and Werner Büttner, Kunstverein München, 1992), Dialogue: Gordon Matta Clark and Bas Jan Ader (exhibition, Kunstverein München, 1994), Oh boy it´s a girl (Kunstverein München and Kunstraum Wien, 1994), Du bist die Welt (You are the world, exhibition of Wiener Festwochen, Vienna, 2001), Parallel Actions: Conceptual Tendencies in Central Europe from 1965 to 1980 (exhibition and symposium with Noah Chasin, New York, Július Koller, Bratislava, Vit Havránek, Prague, Sanja Ivekovic, Zagreb and Jiri Kovanda, Prague, Austrian Cultural Forum, New York, 2003), Play Sofia (exhibition, KUNSTHALLE project space, Vienna, 2005), Postorange, Beispiele ukrainischer Gegenwartskunst (Post-Orange, examples of Ukrainian contemporary art, exhibition, KUNSTHALLE project space, Vienna, 2006), Valie EXPORT (solo exhibition, NCCA and Ekaterina Foundation, Moscow in the context of the 2nd Moscow Biennale, 2007). In cooperation with Christian Kravagna she founded kunstraum lakeside (art space lakeside) in Klagenfurt, Carinthia and since 2005 she has been in charge of the artistic programme together with Kravagna. Hedwig Saxenhuber was, amongst others, jury member at Förderpreise im Bereich bildende Kunst der Landeshauptstadt München (advancement awards in the area of visual arts of the provincial capital of Munich) in 1994, jury member at Central-Kunstpreis (Central-art award), Cologne, in 2002, and member of the advisory committee for Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Niederösterreich (art in the public space Lower Austria) from 1998 to 2004, member of the jury of the Gaudenz B. Ruf Award, Sofia, from 2008 to 2009, she has been jury member of the Sammlung der Kulturabteilung der Stadt Wien (collection of the Department for Cultural Affairs of the City of Vienna) from 2006 to 2009, and she is jury member of the Kunstpreis der Stadt Wien (art award of the City of Vienna) since 2007.