Exhibition dedicated to exploring visual culture through contemporary positions by Mladen Bizumic, Cäcilia Brown, Andreas Fogarasi, Sofie Thorsen, Kay Walkowiak and Anita Witek.


The presentation of contemporary Austrian art is one of the pillars of the Leopold Museum’s exhibition program under the directorship of Hans-Peter Wipplinger. On Thursday, 19th October, the new exhibition of contemporary art Traces of Time opened at the Leopold Museum. It will be shown from 20th October 2017 to 26th February 2018.

The artists featuring in the exhibition curated by Stephanie Damianitsch focus on the exploration of visual culture. Their works are carried by the conviction that visual forms – be they pictures, architecture or everyday objects – are carved out by certain societies and by history, and thus serve as their mirror. The central question of their artistic deliberations is that of how cultural, economic but also political parameters become inscribed in the structure and design of images, form, space and architecture. At the same time, the participating artists also address the cultural construction of perception.

Hans-Peter Wipplinger on the exhibition:“’Showing seeing’ is, according to W. J. T. Mitchell, the primary mission of every study of visual culture. Visual culture in this sense means on the one hand that current cultures are visual because they rely to a great extent on vision, on visibility and on pictures; and on the other that as specific media of visualization, visual forms such as pictures, but also architecture and everyday objects, have always been culturally influenced.”

Decided analyses of visual culture, the predominantly new works featured in the exhibition are presented as specific forms of a documentary practice, which no longer serves as a visual inventory of reality but as an exploration of the visual world.

Curator Stephanie Damianitsch on the focus of the exhibition:“The exploration of this fundamental intertwining and interdependence of culture and visuality is at the heart of the works of the artists featured in this exhibition. Their questions center onmedial dispositifs, on cultural contexts, on pictures as elements of perceptual processes and onvisuality in the sphere of tension of historically alterable social and discursive contexts.”

Anita Witek’sphotographs and wall installations draw onimages disseminated through the mass media. For her current series Artist and Muse she used exhibition posters from the Leopold Museum showing famous works by Egon Schiele. By cutting the main motifs from these templates and working solely with abstract backgrounds, she seeks to investigate the unconscious influence that our everyday image environment exerts on our perception. In his works, Mladen Bizumic also reflects on the medium of photography as a visual document and cultural practice. He is especially interested in the threshold situation of the transition from analog to digital images. With his works, he poses the question as to which factors determine the course of media history and how specific orders of perception are formed through it.

The fact that the question of visual culture is not limited to the medium of the photographic image is evidenced by the works ofAndreas Fogarasi and Cäcilia Brown. They devote their works to the exploration of the urban space as a stage for visibilities. Andreas Fogarasi explores theincreasing “pictorialization” of urban space in today’s media societyand asks which political and economic aspects steer this process. Cäcilia Brown, by contrast, investigates how the visual structures of the urban space translate social order by directing communal life in a subtle manner.

The meshing of culture, society, politics and visuality is also addressed by Sofie Thorsen in her installation, in which she focuses on the presence and absence of cultural objects through the phenomenon of illegal excavations at archeological sites in northern Iraq. Thus, she also investigates the fundamental societal conditions of visibility. In his video works, photographs and sculptures, Kay Walkowiak focuses on formal languages from the image canon of Western art- and cultural history, which he finds in or transfers into other cultural contexts. In his works he manages to reveal visual forms as projection surfaces for social utopias and ideologies.

“What all of the artists presented in this exhibition have in common is that they no longer perceive reality as a natural state. At the core of their works is always the reflection on both historic and current social processes and ideologies that are in principle invisible, but – like ‘specters’– attain a visual presence in the field of the visible,” according to Stephanie Damianitsch.

The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive catalogue in German and English published with Walther König publishers and comprising 176 pages with essays by Arno Böhler, Stephanie Damianitsch and Hans-Peter Wipplinger.

Price: Euro 24.90

Guided tours with the exhibition’s curator are held on the following Thursdays:

9th Nov. 2017, 11th Jan. 2018, 15th Feb. 2018, 6 pm

Discussion panel: On Saturday, 18th Nov. 2017 from 1 pm, the exhibition’s curator Stephanie Damianitsch will hold a discussion with the artists featured in the exhibition. An event within the framework of Vienna Art Week.

Exhibition opening

The exhibition opening was attended by Leopold Museum board member Elisabeth Leopold, the Managing Director of the Leopold Museum Gabriele Langer, the artists Julia Avramidis, Clemens Kaletsch, Andreas Duscha, Heinrich Dunst, Lorenz Estermann, Thomas Gänszler, Benjamin Hirte, Michael Kienzer, Roland Kollnitz, Suse Krawagna, Hubert Lobnig, Constantin Luser, Christian Kosmas Mayer, Maruša Sagadin, Peter Sandbichler, Florian Schmidt, Gregor Schmoll, Misha Stroi and Walter Vopava, the gallery owners and staff Cornelis van Almsick and Magdalena Zeller (Zeller van Almsick, Vienna), Joanna Gemes (l’étrangère, London), Andreas Huber (Galerie Crone, Vienna), Helga and Peter Krobath (Krobath, Vienna), Fiona Liewehr and Isabella Oswald (Galerie Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Vienna), Amer Abbas (Wiener Art Foundation), the deputy director of the mumok Rainer Fuchs, Wien Museum financial manager Christina Schwarz, the curators Heike Eipeldauer, Silvia Eiblmayr, Verena Gamper, Brigitte Huck, Elsy Lahner, Susanne Längle and Ruth Noack, Olga Okunev, deputy head of the Arts and Culture Division of the Federal Chancellery of Austria, the collectors Diethard and Waltraud Leopold, Gertraud Bogner and Prof. Franz Wojda, the architects Laurids Ortner and Heidulf Gerngroß, the philosopher Arno Böhler and the actress Susanne Valerie Granzer, the editor-in-chief of Parnass Silvie Aigner, the co-editor of Spike Susanna Hoffmann-Ostenhof and the journalist Prof. Georg Hoffmann-Ostenhof (Profil), the ORF editors Maria Seifert and Judith Weißenböck, photo specialist Felix Leutner, art restorer Manfred Siems, the vice president of the Association of Friends of the Leopold MuseumLeopold Birstinger, the graphic designer Nele Steinborn, and many others.


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