August 28, 2009 - UniCredit Group - PastPresentFuture
August 28, 2009


Giulio Paolini
Tre per Tre (ognuno è l’altro o nessuno)
Plaster Sculptures
Variable dimensions
UniCredit Collection
© Giulio Paolini
Photo: Courtesy Archivio Giulio Paolini

“PastPresentFuture – Highlights from the UniCredit Group Collection”:
An Exhibition at the Bank Austria Kunstforum, Vienna

Featuring 80 International Works and Spanning Four Centuries of Art
October 16 – January 10, 2010

The debut exhibition of selected works from across
the UniCredit Group Art Collection.

The UniCredit Group Art Collection, one of Europe’s largest corporate collections, is the source of a travelling exhibition entitled PastPresentFuture, which opens Friday, October 16 at the historic Bank Austria Kunstforum in Vienna. On display will be works from the collections of the various banks that comprise UniCredit Group.

Curated by UniCredit & Art Scientific Board Chairman Walter Guadagnini, the exhibition spans four centuries European art history and creates a dialogue between eras and languages. It includes 80 works from UniCredit Group’s significant art collection that appear together for the first time.

The company’s artistic and cultural heritage is mainly derived from the collections of UniCredit in Italy, HypoVereinsbank in Germany and Bank Austria. It comprises 60,000 works that together capture the history of art from ancient Greece and classical Rome to the present day. The collection, which is currently being studied and re-catalogued, is a trans-European museum that can be experienced in the Group’s main offices and at the sites of its institutional partners in culture.

“Our art collection is a treasure that testifies to our past and our present. It is a heritage that speaks to the identity, values and historical relationships within the various communities in which our company operates,” stated UniCredit Group CEO Alessandro Profumo. “This exhibition underscores the significance of our collection and our cultural engagement.”

The show’s concept is based on a variety of languages and allows visitors to see the past through contemporary eyes and to look from the present toward the future. From ancient works by painters including Giovanni Girolamo Savoldo and Dosso Dossi, the exhibition moves to collages by Kurt Schwitters and canvases by Giorgio de Chirico, to installations by such artists as Tony Cragg, Fischli & Weiss and Giulio Paolini, and to photographs by Andreas Gursky and Thomas Struth.

PastPresentFuture creates a dialogue between cultures and among art – with ancient and contemporary works juxtapositioned alongside paintings, photographs, installations and sculptures. This kind of exchange, established thematically, elicits a sensory and conceptual experience that is both charming and surprising to the viewer.


Each of the seven exhibition galleries at the Bank Austria Kunstforum houses a section of the show, capturing both dialogue and classical themes of art history, including nature and the representation of self, the body and objects. In addition to engaging both the past and the present, this dialogue explores man’s historical relationship to his world through natural, interior, human, urban and social landscapes.

The exhibition opens with a section entitled “Re-create the Past”, which presents a surprising dialogue between contemporary artists – including Thomas Struth, Candida Höfer, Olivo Barbieri and Giulio Paolini – and past masters such as the bambocciante Van Bloemen, the pictor classicus de Chirico and the decadent Makart. The work of these artists joins to give new shape and sense to history’s perennial themes.

The exhibition moves on to the “Sublime and Picturesque” section, bringing together such artists as 17th century painter Paul Bril and Charles Daubigny – the leading member of the “Barbizon School” – with the contemporary artists Georg Baselitz, Gerhard Richter and Andreas Gursky.

Next, in the “Metropolis” section, visitors arrive at the works of current leading creative minds. This includes more by Andreas Gursky, as well as pieces by Massimo Vitali, Gabriele Basilico, Fischli & Weiss, Lorca diCorcia and Wolfgang Tillmans. Here a relationship is developed between the individual and urban spaces. This is followed by the theme of “rule” that characterizes the “On Geometry” room, with works by Imi Knoebel, Gerwald Rockenschaub, Ghada Amer and others.

Representations of the body and face are featured in “Body Talk” and “Face to Face,” two of the exhibition’s most striking sections. Visitors can see, side by side: a masterpiece by Antonio Donghi and a photograph by Valie Export, the pioneer of Viennese Body Art; Dossi’s magnificent “Psiche abbandonata da Amore” alongside photographs by E.J.Bellocq; Savoldo’s “Portrait of a Gentleman” tête à tête with anonymous faces depicted by the young Austrian artist Hans Schabus; Baglione’s extremely rare “La testa del Battista presentata ad Erode” next to Trude Fleischmann’s photograph of Alban Berg’s death mask.

This unexpected tour closes with “Objects of Desire,” in which an installation by Tony Cragg is in close quarters with a large composition by Recco, and a still life by Ruoppolo is alongside Andy Warhol’s famous “Flowers.”

All of the works are from the UniCredit Group Art Collection. While some of the featured works are on display for the first time, others have been shown in leading institutions that include the Munich Alte Pinakhotek, the Tosio Martinengo Art Gallery in Brescia, the Salzburg Museum der Moderne, MAMbo in Bologna and MAXXI in Rome.

The show is accompanied by two bilingual catalogues – English/Italian and German/Italian (published by Skira). In this catalogue, all of the exhibited works are illustrated in full color.

The exhibition’s next stop is Verona’s Palazzo della Ragione, from February 27 to May 30, 2010. There the show will be a collaboration with Fondazione Cariverona, which will supplement each section of the exhibition with works from its collections, many of which have never before been seen.

Authors (in alphabetical order) :

Doug Aitken, Ghada Amer, Giovanni Baglione, Stephan Balkenhol, Olivo Barbieri, Georg Baselitz, Gabriele Basilico, John Ernest Joseph Bellocq, Michael Biberstein, Mathias Bitzer, Pieter Van Bloemen, Paul Bril, Balthasar Burkhard, Vincenzo Castella, Jordi Colomer, Philip-Lorca di Corcia, Tony Cragg, Charles-Francois Daubigny, Giorgio De Chirico, Antonio Donghi, Dosso Dossi, Igor Eskinja, Lara Favaretto, Trude Fleischmann, Fischli & Weiss, Francisco Goya, Andreas Gursky, Jitka Hanzlovà, Candida Höfer, Axel Hütte, Francesco Jodice, Mimmo Jodice, Imi Knoebel, Heinrich Carl Christian Kühn, Maria Lassnig, Richard Long, Pietro Longhi, Hans Makart, Ryuji Miyamoto, Muntean/Rosenblum, Hermann Nitsch, Luca Pancrazzi, Giulio Paolini, Arnuf Rainer, Giuseppe Recco, Gerhard Richter, Gerwald Rockenschaub, Giovan Battista Ruoppolo, Giovanni Gerolamo Savoldo, Hans Schabus, Kurt Schwitters, Annelies Strba, Beat Streuli, Christine Streuli, Thomas Struth, Wolfang Tillmans, Marco Tirelli, Export Valie, Carlo Valsecchi, Massimo Vitali, Andy Warhol, Franz West, Erwin Wurm, Heimo Zobernig

General information:
PastPresentFuture – Highlights from the UniCredit Group Collection
Bank Austria Kunstforum, October 16 – January 10, 2010

Address: Bank Austria Kunstforum, Freyung 8, 1010 Vienna
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday from 10:00 am to 7:00 pm and Friday from 10:00 am to 9:00 pm,

UniCredit & Art –
UniCredit Press Office – 02.8727.5790

UniCredit Group Collection

UniCredit Group
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