"If the world ends tomorrow, I would go to Vienna"

Laura Hinrichsmeyer
"Kennen Sie diese Frau" (2017); Opening and performance at Gärtnergasse

Laura Hinrichsmeyer
"Kennen Sie diese Frau" (2017); Opening and performance at Gärtnergasse

"PROVENCE – Criticism Now" at Gärtnergasse

"PROVENCE – Criticism Now" at Gärtnergasse

"The Critical Ass – Hierarchie der Sorgen" (2016); installation view at 
Autocorrect

"The Critical Ass – Hierarchie der Sorgen" (2016); installation view at Autocorrect

"sanssouci" (2016)
installation view at Mauve

"sanssouci" (2016)
installation view at Mauve

Signe Pierce
"Virtual Normality" (2017); installation view at Galerie Nathalie Halgand
Copyright the artis and Galerie Nathalie Halgand

Signe Pierce
"Virtual Normality" (2017); installation view at Galerie Nathalie Halgand
Copyright the artis and Galerie Nathalie Halgand

Signe Pierce
"Virtual Normality" (2017); installation view at Galerie Nathalie Halgand
Copyright the artis and Galerie Nathalie Halgand

Signe Pierce
"Virtual Normality" (2017); installation view at Galerie Nathalie Halgand
Copyright the artis and Galerie Nathalie Halgand

Mathieu Haberard
"Sur La Route Après l'Insomnie" (2017); installation view at Gianni 
Manhattan
Photo: Simon Veres; Courtesy the artist and Gianni Manhattan

Mathieu Haberard
"Sur La Route Après l'Insomnie" (2017); installation view at Gianni Manhattan
Photo: Simon Veres; Courtesy the artist and Gianni Manhattan

Megan Rooney
"Hullabaloo" (2017); installation view at Cordova 
Photo: Georg Petermichl

Megan Rooney
"Hullabaloo" (2017); installation view at Cordova 
Photo: Georg Petermichl

Carlos Reyes
"Fashion Cafe" (2016); installation view at Cordova 
Photo: Georg Petermichl

Carlos Reyes
"Fashion Cafe" (2016); installation view at Cordova 
Photo: Georg Petermichl

Olga Balema, Marlie Mul, Isa Tarasewicz (2017)
installation view at Croy Nielsen

Olga Balema, Marlie Mul, Isa Tarasewicz (2017)
installation view at Croy Nielsen

Performance of LOL Beslutning organized by Autocorrect

Performance of LOL Beslutning organized by Autocorrect

Philipp Timischl
"HOSTILE HABITS DOMESTIC MONUMENTS" (2017) at Galerie Emanuel Layr
Photo: Georg Petermichl; Courtesy Galerie Emanuel Layr

Philipp Timischl
"HOSTILE HABITS DOMESTIC MONUMENTS" (2017) at Galerie Emanuel Layr
Photo: Georg Petermichl; Courtesy Galerie Emanuel Layr

Gaylen Gerber
installation view at Galerie Emanuel Layr (2017)
Courtesy Galerie Emanuel Layr

Gaylen Gerber
installation view at Galerie Emanuel Layr (2017)
Courtesy Galerie Emanuel Layr

Window front of KLUCKYLAND

Window front of KLUCKYLAND

Gina Folly
"I want to live in my city" (2017); installation view at Ermes Ermes

Gina Folly
"I want to live in my city" (2017); installation view at Ermes Ermes

James English Leary
"The Bursting Grape" (2017); installation view at Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer

James English Leary
"The Bursting Grape" (2017); installation view at Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer

Youn Girl Reading Group at Gärtnergasse

Youn Girl Reading Group at Gärtnergasse

Samuel Richardot 
"Zweitaktgemisch" (2017); installation view at Vin Vin

Samuel Richardot 
"Zweitaktgemisch" (2017); installation view at Vin Vin

"Word of Daucus, World of Doubt – a new performance by Nicholas Hoffman" 
at Mauve
Photo: Anna Breit

"Word of Daucus, World of Doubt – a new performance by Nicholas Hoffman" at Mauve
Photo: Anna Breit

Window front of Kunstraum Super

Window front of Kunstraum Super

Lucia Elena Průša, Manuel Solano, Ulrike Buck, Debora Delmar Corp, Frieda 
Toranzo Jaeger
"Merlin" (2016); installation view at SORT

Lucia Elena Průša, Manuel Solano, Ulrike Buck, Debora Delmar Corp, Frieda Toranzo Jaeger
"Merlin" (2016); installation view at SORT

Sarah Ksieska
"Pas' auf dich auf Schwester"; installatin view at Pina
 

Sarah Ksieska
"Pas' auf dich auf Schwester"; installatin view at Pina
 

Georg Petermichl
"universal thoughts: key, vase, ashtray, step, shelf, book, wall." (2016) at 
New Jörg
Photo: Peter Mochi

Georg Petermichl
"universal thoughts: key, vase, ashtray, step, shelf, book, wall." (2016) at New Jörg
Photo: Peter Mochi

"PRIVATE VIEW #6: Charlotte Klobassa“ (2017); installation view at Zeller 
van Almsick

"PRIVATE VIEW #6: Charlotte Klobassa“ (2017); installation view at Zeller van Almsick

Marianne Vlaschits
"Venus City" (2016); installation view Kevin Space 

Marianne Vlaschits
"Venus City" (2016); installation view Kevin Space 

Yuri Pattison
"Citizens of Nowhere" (2016); installtion view at Kevin Space

Yuri Pattison
"Citizens of Nowhere" (2016); installtion view at Kevin Space

Galerie Sophie Tappeiner

Galerie Sophie Tappeiner

"Word of Daucus, World of Doubt – a new performance by Nicholas Hoffman" 
at Mauve
Photo: Anna Breit

"Word of Daucus, World of Doubt – a new performance by Nicholas Hoffman" at Mauve
Photo: Anna Breit

"If the world ends tomorrow, i would go to vienna"

by Franziska Sophie Wildförster

Recently, something has changed in Vienna. With more and more galleries and spaces opening all over the city, sparking international exchange as well as shaping a new scene's identity, it's time for a closer look at who is doing what and why. 

 

“If the world ends tomorrow, I would go to Vienna. Everything happens 50 years later there." This is a rough translation of the late-Romantic Austrian composer Gustav Mahler’s judgement on Vienna’s sluggishness around the turn of the century: a city that has nostalgia engraved in its DNA like the carved wooden chairs, marble tabletops and rod-mounted newspapers of its Kaffeehäuser, Klimt’s golden fresco in the Secession and Freud’s exploration of repression. It is a place that has always appeared a little peculiar and closed-off, where people always seem a little suspicious towards the unknown, and things are generally always a little resistant to change. A mentality in which artists long continued to measure themselves against the figure of the self-destructive, depressed outsider who spends nights drinking, fighting and painting, and days sleeping. While there have been quite active phases – think of the 80s feminist art of Valie Export and Maria Lassnig as well as Franz West and Heimo Zobernig – Vienna has long been considered slightly off-track, a dark spot on the map, stuck in a parallel Habsburgian time.

 

Recently, something has changed. A noticeable buzz of activity extends through the city, which seems to be dusting off its shoulders and making up leeway.

Over a timespan of only one or two years, this shift appears in the shape of a new generation of galleries and noncommercial spaces showing international and local artists as well as working with ambitious exhibitions and versatile programming. The ties to the art scenes of London, Paris, Berlin, Warsaw and New York are becoming ever stronger. All of a sudden, you often find yourself having to coordinate various art events on a single night. Even the laziness that made an ordeal out of getting from one district to another seems to have been traded in for curiosity. Whilst the hunger for new platforms and activity has certainly been there in the past (in important no-longer-extant exhibition spaces including HHDM, COCO and Garret Grimoire) and the starting conditions are present in two vital art academies, a strong museum culture and institutions such as mumok, the Secession, 21er Haus or the Kunsthalle Wien, Vienna is once again being discovered and validated as a space for experimentation, affordable real estate, public resources and a sense of potential at a time when – and in part no doubt also because – the strongholds of the art world have increasingly been commercialised and seem slightly tired.

Bringing with them an idea of the international contemporary art scene, and complementing Emanuel Layr and his stable of Philipp Timischl, Cécile B. Evans, Lena Henke and Nick Oberthaler, Croy Nielsen (founded by Oliver Croy and Henrikke Nielsen in Berlin in 2011), brought the likes of Marlie Mul, Olga Balema, Marie Lund, Nina Beier and Ben Schumacher to a turn-of-the-century residential building on Vienna’s Parkring only last December. Earlier rumours of this move were received with excitement and seemed like a validation of Vienna’s significance. Shortly afterwards, formerly Rome-based gallery Ermes Ermes, run since 2015 by Ilaria Leoni and Flavia Culcasi, relocated to a tiny and charming former horse stable in Mariahilf, holding its first show, by Gina Folly, in March this year.

Alongside these moves into the city from outside, a new generation of homegrown gallerists has been popping up across the city over the last couple of months. Gianni Manhattan, directed by Laura Windhager, supports a range of young artists from Paris, London and Vienna, among them Barbara Kapusta, Nils Alix-Tabeling or Matthieu Harberard, and aims to bring experimental exhibition formats into a commercial art space. Sophie Tappeiner is opening her gallery this Friday with a group show organised by the Vienna-based curator Barbara Rüdiger. A program focusing on young Viennese painting is showcased by Zeller Van Almsick, opened by Cornelis Van Almsick and Magdalena Zeller in March and representing Michael Fanta and Sophie Gogl. And Vincenzo della Corte opened his space Vin Vin in the first district last year, with artists such as recent Kapsch Contemporary Art Prize winner Julian Turner.

Simultaneous and synergistic activity has characterised Vienna’s non-commercial spaces since last year, too. Pina, Gärtnergasse, Autocorrect and Web Space are artist-run spaces set up by highly motivated current and former students of Vienna’s art academies. Pina, founded by Bruno Mokross and Edin Zenun, has presented a diverse program with shows by the likes of painter Jim Thorell and LA-based Alison Veit. Gärtnergasse, run by Julija Zaharijević & Julia Znoj, working as the duo Handbag, along with Philipp Friedrich and Eugen Wist, is a venue hosting a wide range of exhibitions and events such as the Young Girl Reading Group. Founded by artists Benjamin Hirte and Martyn Reynolds, Autocorrect had three shows in a beautiful abandoned prewar building in the 1st district, among them a materially vibrant installation by Daiga Grantina. Currently looking for a new place to settle, they invited the Danish choir LOL Beslutning for a one-night concert in Hirte’s studio a few weeks ago. The apartment gallery Cordova, run by previously London-based curator and Jupiter Woods cofounder Cory Scozzari has, with shows by the likes of Viktor Timofeev, Jaakko Pallasvuo and Megan Rooney, also strengthened international connections. Kevin Space, a small kunstverein in a former cornershop on the Volkertmarkt, founded by Fanny Hauser, Denise Helene Sumi, Carolina Nöbauer and (full disclosure) myself, has facilitated new productions by Alex Baczynski-Jenkins, Maria Gorodeckaya, Yuri Pattison and Austrian artist Marianne Vlaschits, alongside events such as dinners, screenings and artist talks.

Coincidences, the neoliberalisation of London/Berlin, an air of synergy and ambition, and maybe also the international visibility that comes from art blogs, have all joined forces to put Vienna on the art map. It remains to be seen if this transformation is sustainable and if it will attract ever more exchanges without falling into the hands of international investors, gentrification and “creative capitalism” while keeping its social contracts, art funding, cheap Spritzer wine and, last but not least, Wiener Schmäh – the Viennese mélange of pessimism and insults disguised as humour, without which life here would be a whole lot poorer.

 

FRANZISKA SOPHIE WILDFÖRSTER is a curator and co-founder of Kevin Space. She lives in Vienna.

Part two of this three-part series will be published soon!

 

 

 

galleries

 

Croy Nielsen
Parkring 4
1010 Vienna
Website

 

Ermes Ermes
Linke Wienzeile 36/1C
1060 Vienna
Website

 

Gianni Manhattan
Wassergasse 14
1030 Vienna
Website

 

Galerie Nathalie Halgand
Stiegengasse 2/3
1060 Vienna
Website

 

Galerie Lisa Kandlhofer
Brucknerstrasse 4
1040 Vienna
Website

 

Galerie Emanuel Layr
Seilerstätte 2/26
1010 Vienna
Website

 

One Work Gallery
Getreidemarkt 11/3
1060 Vienna
Instagram

 

Galerie Sophie Tappeiner
An der Hülben 3
1010 Vienna
Facebook

 

Vin Vin
Bartensteingasse 14
1010 Vienna
Website

 

Zeller van Almsick
Franz-Josefs-Kai 3
1010 Vienna
Website

 

 

Spaces

 

Autocorrect
currently no space/address
Website

 

Cordova
Liebhartsgasse 48/19
1060 Vienna
Website

 

Gärtnergasse
Ottakringer Straße 44
1170 Wien
Website

 

Kevin Space
Volkertstraße 17
1020 Vienna
Website

 

KLUCKYLAND
Othmargasse 34, corner Kluckygasse
1200 Vienna
Website

 

Mauve
Löwengasse 18
1030 Vienna
Website

 

New Jörg
Jägerstraße 56
1200 Vienna
Website

 

Pina
Große Neugasse 44
1040 Vienna
Website

 

SORT
Bäckerstrasse 7/8
1010 Vienna
Facebook

 

Super
Schönbrunner Strasse 10
1050 Vienna
Website

 

Web Space
Webgasse 6/1
1060 Vienna
Website

 

wellwellwell
Mittersteig 2a (corner Große Neugasse/Rienößlgasse)
1040 Vienna
Website