Visionary and ground-breaking: pioneers of innovation from Lehmbruck to de Bruyckere

New directors and curators present annual preview for 2016

During their inaugural press conference held on Thursday 3rd December 2015, the new Directors of the Leopold Museum – Hans-Peter Wipplinger (Museological Director) and Gabriele Langer (Managing Director) – presented ongoing and future exhibition projects together with the museum’s curators and guest curators. The exhibitions scheduled at the Leopold Museum for 2016 range from 19th century art and Classical Modernism all the way to contemporary art. The majority of projects involve the collection of the Leopold Museum and aim, according to Hans-Peter Wipplinger, at “continually placing the exhibits of the Leopold Collection into new contexts from a contemporary perspective by presenting parts of the collection alongside loans in temporary exhibitions”. These exhibitions will include works by international as well as Austrian artists.

Treasures in need of restoration: donators and sponsors wanted

The first exhibition of the coming year, which was initiated by Hans-Peter Wipplinger and conceived in cooperation with the Curator of the Collection Franz Smola, will shine the spotlight on “Hidden Treasures of the Collection” of the Leopold Museum from 29th January. The presentation will show a selection of works which had already been in need of restoration when they were brought into the foundation from 1994, but that have not yet been restored due to a lack of time or funds. Conservational measures are necessary not only for paintings but also for objects from the Wiener Werkstätte and for pieces of furniture. Hans Peter Wipplinger: “With this exhibition, we seek sponsorships for these artworks in order to be able to present them as part of the museum’s permanent collection in the future”.

Leopold Museum abroad: Kubin, Boeckl and co. go traveling

Under the motto “The Leopold Collection Goes Abroad” the museum intends to intensify presentations of select compilations of works from the collection outside of its exhibition halls. Rather than focusing exclusively on art from Vienna around 1900 and on works by Egon Schiele, these external presentations will also feature works by exponents of Austrian Atmospheric Impressionism (Emil Jakob Schindler, Tina Blau, Theodor von Hörmann and many others), the graphic works of Alfred Kubin as well as Austrian art of the 1920s (Herbert Boeckl, Hans Böhler, Albin Egger-Lienz, among others).

Lehmbruck: innovator and pioneer of modern sculpture

From 8th April, the first comprehensive retrospective of the oeuvre of Wilhelm Lehmbruck (1881—1919) will trace the eminent Expressionist sculptor’s artistic development. Hans-Peter Wipplinger, the curator of the exhibition: “We dedicate this presentation to the influential innovator and pioneer of modern European sculpture”. Alongside chief works by Lehmbruck, the exhibition will also feature works by his friends, companions and contemporaries, including Alexander Archipenko, Amedeo Modigliani, George Minne, Ernst Barlach, Käthe Kollwitz and Egon Schiele. The presentation culminates in the juxtaposition of Lehmbruck’s works with those of Joseph Beuys, who used to emphasize the impact Lehmbruck’s art had on his own. Wipplinger: “The artistic dialogue between Lehmbruck’s works and those of Joseph Beuys reveals the striking similarities between their formal principles, especially in their drawings, in terms of the aspects of fleetingness and incompleteness. This juxtaposition also illustrates that the impact of Lehmbruck’s oeuvre extends far beyond his time”.

De Bruyckere: raw beauty and vulnerability of the human body

Coinciding with the retrospective of Wilhelm Lehmbruck’s oeuvre, the Leopold Museum will present the first major solo exhibition of the Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere (born in 1964) in Vienna. The exhibition’s curator Stephanie Damianitsch: “With her impressive sculptures, which present the human body in its raw beauty and vulnerability, the artist is one of the most internationally famous sculptors today”. In her works de Bruyckere focuses on the formations and deformations of the human body as places of historic inscriptions, deriving her inspiration from current media images as well as from the classical iconography of art history. With its focus on the art of Viennese Modernism, the Leopold Museum provides an ideal space of resonance for this solo exhibition. Damianitsch: “Much like de Bruyckere, the artists of Viennese Modernism – along with their focus on psychologization – also sought to ‘recognize the flesh’ (Werner Hofmann), proceeding ‘from figuration to defiguration’ in order to ‘link life and death, Eros and Thanatos, the pleasure principle and the death drive’ (Jacques Le Rider)”.

Hörmann: Atmospheric Impressionist and visionary

The Atmospheric Impressionist Theodor von Hörmann (1840—1895) is among the most unusual and autonomous artists of the late 19th century. From 29th April, a first large-scale exhibition of works by this artist, who was influenced by the School of Barbizon and the French Impressionists, will trace Hörmann’s path from Realist to Impressionist. The curator of the exhibition, the art historian Marianne Hussl-Hörmann, is both a direct descendant of the artist’s as well as an authority on his oeuvre. Hussl-Hörmann: “Theodor von Hörmann embarked on innovative paths both in his painting and in his cultural political activities. He was the first to raise and pursue visionary ideas such as championing the foundation of a Secession and of a gallery of modern art in Vienna. His oeuvre is a vivid testament to the struggle for a new perception and an adequate pictorial language in the context of international art movements”.

Foreign Gods: tribal art in the context of Modernism

The museum founder Rudolf Leopold was a very versatile collector. From 23rd September, the exhibition “Foreign Gods” will present the high-quality compilation of tribal art from the Leopold Collection for the first time. The ethnologist Erwin Melchardt, who scientifically reviewed the objects over the past years, will place these masterpieces of so-called “primitive” art into the context of works from Classical Modernism together with the Leopold Museum’s curator Ivan Ristić. Ristić: “The exhibition will illustrate the influence that African and Oceanic art had and continues to have on Picasso, who famously understood ‘what art was really about’ when he saw the African masks at the Paris Musée d’Ethnographie, on the works by exponents of the Expressionist artists’ group ‘Die Brücke’, on the Surrealists, the Dadaists as well as on contemporary art”. Erwin Melchardt: “For the collector Rudolf Leopold the ‘primal’ art of the so-called ‘indigenous peoples’ was a priori Expressionist. The museum’s collection comprises more than 200 rare ancestral figures, dance masks, tools, architectural sculptures and other extraordinary works”. A selection of these objects will enter into a stimulating dialogue with works by Pablo Picasso, Amedeo Modigliani, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Max Ernst.

The Poetics of the Material: young artists and the “material” of stories and history

From 21st October the exhibition “The Poetics of the Material” will showcase works by six artists living in Vienna – Benjamin Hirte, Sonia Leimer, Christian Mayer, Mathias Pöschl, Anne Schneider and Misha Stroj. Their works address cultural discourses and historicity and are characterized by the variety of media and materials used to create them. With their sculptural and multimedia approaches, they increasingly focus on the material aspects of artworks and these aspects’ potential for creating meaning. As Stephanie Damianitsch, the curator of the exhibition, explains: “The material as well as the media practices of visualization become the language of new narratives often shaped by irony, which arise from the playful interrelationship between the material, medium, display and space”. Contrary to critical reflections on historicity and its representations under the currently widely used terms “virtuality”, “simulation” and “immaterialization”, an entirely new emphasis is placed on the world of tangible objects, their esthetics and their history, in these artists’ works.

The Directors

Hans-Peter Wipplinger studied art history as well as theater and communication studies at Vienna University. He has worked at the OK Center for Contemporary Art in Linz and at the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York, among other institutions. From 2003 to 2007 he acted as director and general manager of the Museum of Modern Art in Passau as well as from 2008 to the end of September 2015 as director of the Kunsthalle Krems. Since October 2015 he has held the position of Museological Director of the Leopold Museum.Hans-Peter Wipplinger has curated numerous themed as well as monographic exhibitions on Classical Modernism and Contemporary Art, featuring artists such as Paula Modersohn-Becker, Francis Picabia, Joseph Beuys, Yoko Ono, Franz West, Anna Jermolaewa, Pipilotti Rist and Ernesto Neto, among others.

Gabriele Langer studied finance, accounting and taxationat the University of Applied Sciences in Vienna and has also worked as a lecturer in operations management. For over 15 years she worked for one of the most reputable tax consultancy and auditing firms, where she was in charge of outsourcing the Austrian federal museums. In 2000 she became managing director of the Kunsthistorisches Museum. Between 2008 and 2013 she worked as an auditor and tax consultant specializing in advising cultural institutions and the most famous Austrian festival before she started working at the Leopold Museum in April 2013. On 1st August 2015 Gabriele Langer was appointed Managing Director of the Leopold Museum.

Temporary exhibitions:

WILHELM LEHMBRUCK. Retrospective (08.04. – 04.07.2016)

BERLINDE DE BRUYCKERE (08.04. – 04.07.2016)

THEODOR VON HÖRMANN (29.04. – 05.09.2016)

FOREIGN GODS. Tribal Art in the Context of Modernism (23.09.2016 – 09.01.2017)

THE POETICS OF THE MATERIAL (21.10.2016 – 30.01.2017)

Presentations of the collection:

EGON SCHIELE. Self-Abandonment and Self-Assertion. New Presentation of the Egon Schiele Collection (since 23.09.2015)




For questions, please contact:

LeopoldMuseum Private Foundation
Mag. Klaus Pokorny - Press / Public Relations
0043 1 525 70 - 1507




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