April 5, 2006 - Neue Galerie Graz am Landesmuseum Joanneum - Art and Politics
April 5, 2006

Art and Politics

Image: Jean Jacques Lebel, Forever Young, la Diva, 1989 Neue Galerie Graz am Landesmuseum Joanneum

Erró, Fahlström, Köpcke, Lebel
8 April until 5 June 2006

Opening: Friday, 7 April 2006, 7pm
Curators: Elisabeth Fiedler, Claus Mewes

Neue Galerie Graz
Sackstrasse 16, A-8010 Graz


A new form of cultural activism developed in the 1960s that sought an escape route from abstraction. Concepts and actions, manifestos and collages, happenings and urban interventions attempted to bring the poetic and the political together in a new manner. The critical concern with contemporary politics and a form of intellectual protest the basis of which were anarchic spontaneity, the breaching of taboos and creative play, opened up new forms and spaces for art. These four artists played a central role in this process.

The majority of exhibits are from the collection of Harald Falckenberg. The Hamburg entrepreneur and lawyer, author of the provocative book »Ziviler Ungehorsam Kunst im Klartext« (Civil Disobedience Art in Plaintext), is counted by many to be among the 100 most important and influential collectors in the world today, because of his preference for radical art, his intuitive feel for contemporary trends and the extraordinary breadth and extent of the work complexes he has acquired.

Arthur Köpcke and Öyvind Fahlström work in total independence of each other in Copenhagen and New York. Entire thematic sections of their work show remarkable parallels, however, despite this isolation and without the two artists ever having met. Köpcke, who is from Hamburg, created a series of enigmatic paintings and objects in relief using collage techniques in his self-imposed exile in Denmark.

The Swede Fahlström created combinations that have brought elements of play and games into his works with their mobile elements that visitors could move and experiment with. Common to both to both artists among other factors, is the inclusion of the recipient in the work concept with the deciphering of individual pieces implicit in this partnership with the observer. The conceptual opening provided for the perception of the work through the use of collage, the dynamism of the gestures employed, together with expansion in space is equally characteristic of both artists.

A close friendship sprang up between Fahlström and the Islander Erró after they met in New York in 1962. Errós work is also marked by the synthesis of different styles and materials coupled with an in-depth examination of contemporary social and political issues. Erró and Jean Jacques Lebel have also been linked by a close friendship dating back to 1955. Lebel, whose father Robert wrote the first important monograph on Marcel Duchamp, grew up during the Second World War within the spheres of influence of both Duchamp and André Breton. In and about 1960 he organised Europes first happenings in Paris.

The exhibition focuses on early work from the 1960s and 1970s of these artists, who have gained fresh topicality following their re-discovery by a new generation, and it aims to provide an outline account both of the artists themselves and of their significance in the development of art with a selection of work and an examination of contexts that are scarcely known in Austria.

Neue Galerie Graz am Landesmuseum Joanneum
Sackstrasse 16, A-8010 Graz / Austria
T 43-316-82 91 55 / F 43-316-81 54 01


Opening times: Tue Sun 10am-6pm, Thu 10am-8pm

Neue Galerie Graz am Landesmuseum Joanneum
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