Scintillating: Giacometti opening at the Leopold Museum

Erwin Wurm opens exhibition on the "Pioneer of Modernism"

Vienna (OTS)– Giacometti has arrived and stuns Vienna! For the first time in 20 years, the oeuvre of perhaps the most important sculptor of the 20th century is back on display in Vienna. The Leopold Museum hosted the exhibition’s opening on the evening of the 16th of October and, despite fierce competition from the likes of Toulouse-Lautrec, Karl Prantl and Peter Weibel, the museum was overflowing with guests. That evening, Vienna was a true hub of Classical Modernism and contemporary art.

Erwin Wurm: Opening speech on obligation to non-sense in art

Erwin Wurm, one of the most important contemporary artists, delivered a pithy opening speech on the exhibition "ALBERTO GIACOMETTI. Pioneer of Modernism". Using Henry David Thoreau’s plea for the "duty of civil disobedience" towards the state as an analogy, Wurm spoke of the necessity of "non-sense" in art, though not to be confused with senselessness, and highlighted the importance of the freedom of sense as a maxim and counter model to the abuse of art by institutions like the state and church or by self-proclaimed revolutionaries and reactionists.

GIACOMETTI: Exhibition celebrating 20 years of Leopold Museum Private Foundation

To Peter Weinhäupl, Managing Director of the Leopold Museum and organizer of the show, the Giacometti presentation is the ideal exhibition to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Leopold Museum Private Foundation. More than 4.5 million people have visited the museum in these past 20 years, attracted by around 70 different exhibitions, which brought the greatest artists in the world to Vienna. They included the French Impressionists, Toulouse-Lautrec, the German Expressionists, Barlach, Munch, as well as time and again the masters of Austrian art Klimt, Schiele, Kokoschka, Kolo Moser and Olbrich. The museum further presented "naked truths" and naked men, clouds, images of women, Jugendstil jewelry, photographs of the highest quality by artists from Erich Lessing to Christoph Lingg and much more.

Exchange: Kunsthaus Zürich – Leopold Museum / Schiele – Giacometti

Franz Smola, the Museological Director of the Leopold Museum and curator of the Giacometti exhibition, pointed out another important anniversary at the heart of the present Giacometti cooperation. Christoph Becker, the Director of the Kunsthaus Zürich, had planned a presentation to mark the 25th anniversary of the Schiele exhibition his museum showed in 1989 in Zurich. This exhibition presented the Leopold Collection for the first time in its full range, prior to it being shown at the Vienna Kunstforum. Now the Leopold Museum has acted as the main lender for the current encounter between Egon Schiele and the contemporary artist Jenny Saville, an exhibition that opened two weeks ago in Zurich. In return, Franz Smola suggested bringing Giacometti to Vienna, seeing as the last retrospective of Alberto Giacometti’s works in Vienna took place 20 years ago. The Kunsthaus, along with the Alberto Giacometti Foundation in Zurich, the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti in Paris, the mumok in Vienna and many other eminent public and private lenders, have made this show of superlatives possible. 150 works by Giacometti and his contemporaries, from Picasso to Miró, from Pollock to Bacon, afford a vivid image of the boundless vitality and ground-breaking power of the art created in Paris from the 1920s to the 1950s.

Giacometti at the Kunsthaus Zürich: Difficult beginnings and successes

Philippe Büttner, Curator of the Collection of the Kunsthaus Zürich, spoke about the coming-into-being of the Giacometti Foundation, the difficult beginnings, the oppositions and the successes. He also related a tragic occurrence in the life of this highly sensitive artist. Trying to flee the Nazi troops that were marching on Paris, Giacometti got caught up in an air raid. Suddenly, amidst the ensuing chaos, he saw an arm, detached from the body, a scene of indescribable brutality. The artist’s take on this scene, on this helplessly stretched out hand can be seen in one of the posters advertising the Giacometti exhibition at the Leopold Museum. The photograph by Gordon Parks shows the artist sitting among his inimitable sculptures, the rendering of the arm projected into the picture. This one photograph, this singular story relates the entire tragedy of the 20th century, but also highlights the artist’s eminent ability to give shape to what is otherwise indescribable.

900 opening guests: Swiss ambassador Bubb, widow of Balthus Countess Klossowska de Rola and Schiele connoisseur Wolfgang Georg Fischer

The approximately 900 guests attending the opening spent hours exploring the exhibition designed by Weinhäupl Architects based on Franz Smola’s ideas, which affords the downright sacral sculptures a worthy venue, a temple of art.

At the Leopold Museum, Elisabeth Leopold, Diethard and Waltraud Leopold, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Leopold Museum Helmut Moser and the directors Franz Smola and Peter Weinhäupl welcomed Christoph Bubb, the new Swiss ambassador and his wife Regula Bubb, Jan Sechter, ambassador of the Czech Republic, the Chinese ambassador Zhao Bin, Michael Franz, head of the department of culture at the ministry of culture, the cooperation partner and Director of the Kunsthaus Zürich Christoph Becker, the Curator of the Collection of the Kunsthaus Zürich Philippe Büttner, who is also the Managing Director of the Alberto Giacometti Foundation and co-curator of the present exhibition at the Leopold Museum, the legendary politician Beppo Mauhart, the publisher of the catalogue accompanying the exhibition Nikolaus Brandstätter, Alexandre Colliex, director of development and international relations at the Fondation Alberto et Annette Giacometti, as well as the charming Countess Setsuko Klossowska de Rola, lender and widow of the eminent artist and friend of Giacometti’s BALTHUS (real name: Balthasar Klossowski de Rola).

The opening’s orator and star of the art scene Erwin Wurm, who was accompanied by his enchanting wife Lisa Mougin-Wurm, was far from the only artist in attendance. Also spotted were Florentina Pakosta, Maria Moser, Linde Waber, Nives Widauer, Hannes Mlenek, Heribert Mader, Rudi Wach and Lorenz Estermann.

The unique atmosphere surrounding the large-scale Giacometti exhibition at the Leopold Museum was further enjoyed by the doyen of art and contributor to the Giacometti catalogue Wolfgang Georg Fischer and his wife Jutta Fischer, in whose gallery Giacometti himself once admired works by Schiele, the gallery owners Johannes Faber and Peter Coeln (Westlicht), the Giacometti collector Helmut Klewan, the art manager Jürgen Weishäupl, the art historian Christian Bauer and many others.

 

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