Vienna Art Week 2015:
Creating Common Good

Vienna Art Week 2015:
Creating Common Good

Vienna Art Week

Jorge Galindo & Santiago Sierra, Los Encargados (Those in Charge), 2012. © Jorge Galindo and Santiago Sierra.
November 5, 2015

Vienna Art Week 2015:
Creating Common Good

November 16–22, 2015

Every year in November, Vienna’s leading art institutions, galleries, independent exhibition spaces and academies join up to celebrate art during Vienna Art Week. With more than 200 events ranging between contemporary experiment and the Baroque, Vienna Art Week reflects the variety, inventiveness and productivity of Vienna’s art scene. It is a festival not to be missed by artists, critics, curators, collectors and art lovers from home or abroad. An international special exhibition is dedicated to this year’s motto, Creating Common Good.

Artists reflect on common good
Featuring 35 works by international artists, the exhibition Creating Common Good (KUNST HAUS WIEN) addresses the issue of the common good and its global significance on various levels. The participating artists and collectives outline new concepts and criteria for a shared development and exploitation of resources. They call for more political responsibility and empowerment of civil society, offering alternatives to the establishment and claiming the ethical right to participate in shaping society.

Heidrun Holzfeind’s (Austria) video installation Never neverland features three independent videos of micro-societies in California, Austria and Slovenia, with individual models of social sharing as an alternative to the West’s neoliberal lifestyle.

Signed by 50 countries as of 2015, the Antarctic Treaty stipulates that the Antarctic should only be used jointly, for peaceful and scientific purposes. As a tribute to the treaty, Lucy+Jorge Orta (France/UK/Argentina) undertook an Antarctic expedition in 2007 to set up the Antarctic flag and found an ephemeral village.

Ina Wudtke’s (Germany) work I AM THE LAW focuses on the effects of global real estate business on social housing.

Los Encargados (Those in Charge) by Jorge Galindo & Santiago Sierra (Spain) is based on a series of portraits of King Juan Carlos I and the six prime ministers of Spain since 1976, the last of whom curtailed the right to protest. The work is an expression of the people’s resentment over corrupt power systems.

Peter Friedl’s (Austria) drawings act as a lyrical voice that documents, subverts and comments on personal and sociopolitical (hi)stories. The term “commons” recurs in various ways in the selected works.

Other artists in the exhibition, curated by Robert Punkenhofer (Artistic Director of Vienna Art Week) and Ursula Maria Probst (art critic, curator and artist), include Joseph Beuys, Akram Al Halabi, Atelier Van Lieshout, Democracia, Ines Doujak, Leon Golub, Tamara Grcic, gruppe uno wien, Anna Jermolaewa, Folke Köbberling, Ernst Logar, Teresa Margolles, Lisl Ponger, Martha Rosler, Isa Rosenberger, Axel Stockburger, transparadiso, Nasan Tur, Anna Witt, and Sislej Xhafa.

Vienna welcomes Saskia Sassen!
Speaking of the common good, Vienna is eagerly awaiting a lecture by American sociologist and economist Saskia Sassen. In her view, the unfettered global financial market makes it possible for people to create an environment that serves their own private interests at the expense of the common good. The privatization of public spaces and goods in recent years has led to a gradual shift in our understanding of what constitutes the “common good.” Citizens need to take an active part in all areas of the city, says Sassen: “It’s also about political economy: people have to feel like they are actors in their community.”

Vienna Art Week presents an abundant program: as part of their ongoing exhibitions, Vienna’s major art institutions will be offering readings, talks, special guided tours and openings, including a Margot Pilz retrospective (MUSA), works by Vija Celmins (Secession), Baroque Baroque by Olafur Eliasson (The Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy) and the exhibition Eyes Aghast: Transmannerist Reactions (xhibit, Academy of Fine Arts). In the panel discussion “From Art to Creating Common Good” at the Academy of Fine Arts, eight international curators, including Çelenk Bafra (Istanbul Modern), Elham Puriyamehr (freelance curator, artist, and author, Tehran) and Hajnalka Somogyi (freelance curator, Budapest), will share their views on the social responsibility of curators.

Vienna’s galleries also feature a broad spectrum of lectures, artist talks and curator-guided tours. On open studio day, around 80 artists will open the doors to their studios to anyone interested in art. Numerous special projects and events held at artist-run spaces provide an opportunity to discover Vienna’s many facets as a cultural city that are hidden but definitely worth seeing.

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November 5, 2015

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