VIENNA.- The 21er Haus
honors the lifetime achievement of Austrian artist Kurt Hüpfner (born 1930 in Vienna) with his first solo exhibition at a museum. His works are on display until January 29, 2017 at the museums lower level. The exhibition presents a cross-section of key periods of the artist, who is still active to this day. The works shown include his graphic beginnings, his drawings, his distinctive assemblage works from the 1970s, as well as the small sculptures that characterize his work from the mid-1980s onward. Most of the works on display come from a generous donation to the Belvedere from a private collection.
Starting out as a commercial artist and caricaturist in the early 1960s, Kurt Hüpfner then developed a complex independent body of work. After an influential visit to the exhibition Pop etc. in 1964 at the former 20er Haus, his drawings, paintings, and assemblages featured pictorial themes formally oriented toward Pop Art, while his content dealt with politics, war, and literature. In the 1970s, Hüpfner developed a completely unique style: His small-format plaster and terracotta sculptures, often painted with oils, are intricate "magical creatures," each of which tells its own story.
The interface between modern and contemporary art movements such as Surrealism, Dadaism, and Pop Art, as well as his own reflections on political crises, set the parameters in which Hüpfners art was able to evolve, but his artistic work remained largely unnoticed by the public. Now the 21er Haus presents his first museum exposition of works, introduced as a new discovery within the canon of Austrian art history.
Orangery 9 November 2016 to 5 February 2017
This exhibition focuses on the most recent artistic practice of one of the foremost Austrian painters, Hubert Scheibl. He studied under Max Weiler and Arnulf Rainer at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna from 1976 to 1981 and started exhibiting internationally in the mid-1980s, when his work was acknowledged as a significant reaction to the then popular style of neo-expressionism.
Scheibl is one of the most significant representatives of abstract-sensitive, gesture-intense painting amongst mid-generation Austrian artists, as well as being an assiduous draughtsman and photographer. The show juxtaposes large paintings with a compact environment, thereby transforming the architecture of the Orangery into a mysterious and evolving labyrinth of rooms and images. This stark contrast in scale results in the vast abstract canvases - so characteristic of Scheibl's work - disrupting the spatial structure, leading visitors on a journey through the artworks and hence transforming their awareness and experience of the picture plane. The overwhelming sensual and gestural nature of his work confronts the viewer with a different perception of the space that surrounds both the work and the viewer him-/herself, giving rise to an alteration and transfiguration of the traditional relationship between exhibition space and spectator.