After a big renovation, Kunsthalle Krems opened its doors a couple of weeks ago. We asked the new Artistic Director Florian Steininger about changes and perspectives of Lower Austria’s main art institution for contemporary art.
What will be your major task as the new Artistic Director of Kunsthalle Krems?
To establish the Kunsthalle Krems in the international art field, to develop the global network of the art scene, and to give this institution a clear profile within the „Kunstmeile Krems“.
What is your strategy when it comes to program?
The Kunsthalle Krems is the international exhibition centre for modern and contemporary art in Lower Austria. Its program features art after 1945 with a special focus on contemporary artistic production. The Kunsthalle Krems offers a large platform to positions of both established and emerging young artists from Austria and abroad, a platform to present innovative, cross-media, socially topical and art-specific contributions.
What do you think will be the biggest challenge for you in the new role?
I am a team player and I want to make my team proud working for this wonderful institution. To strengthen the identification with the Kunsthalle Krems is very important to me, and of course a great challenge. I very much feel this identification already, and the open minded emotional spirit that affects our guests.
You are also a successful author, how does the curator’s approach differ from storytelling?
Writing about art is different to curating an exhibition, where you have to think and feel in time and space. To visualize a show is very important and a key function of a curator.
How can an institution achieve the balance between pleasing the art crowd and the general public?
We do not want to be an intellectual temple, but more an open place for a sensual perception of art and a space for dialogue and pleasure. The abstract painterly opening show „Abstract Painting Now!“ should spread emotion and joy, a feast for the eyes. But we have a straight focus on quality and scientific claim for all of our exhibition-projects.
How did you select the topic of the first exhibition? Why painting?
20 years ago I wrote my thesis on contemporary abstract painting in Austria and put this painterly stream into an international context. „Abstract Painting Now!“ is my opening and starting show here in Krems, where I present around 60 positions in abstract painting ranging from Gerhard Richter to Sean Scully and Katharina Grosse. There are also a lot of Austrian painters from Arnulf Rainer to Hubert Scheibl included. Although painting has lost its leading role in art it is very present and powerful, also abstract painting, which is already over 100 years old and has died several times during the 20th century.
Tobias Pils will install a monumental painting in the Zentrale Halle. He is the new shooting star in Austria, having major exhibitions abroad, and being collected by international collections and museums.
What will be new in Kunsthalle Krems apart from the renovation?
The spaces of the former industrial building will be much clearer and straighter. You can see the whole order of the columns in the exhibition and office area. The Zentrale Halle can be used with natural light as in the very beginning of the Kunsthalle Krems in 1995. Also the lobby space is very open. The Kunsthalle Krems is going to be connected to the new Landesgalerie Niederösterreich by an underground path.
Abstract Painting Now!
Gerhard Richter, Katharina Grosse, Sean Scully … Kunsthalle Krems
The exhibition “Abstract Painting Now!“ surveys the international landscape of abstract painting today. Featuring more than 60 positions from Gerhard Richter to Sean Scully and Katharina Grosse, the show unfolds a broad and diverse range of this significant painterly practice. The focus is on the nonrepresentational panel painting in all its variants, whether geometric, ornamental, processual, or materially layered.
Curator: Florian Steininger
For the Central Hall of the Kunsthalle Krems, Tobias Pils has conceived a painting installation. Recklessly interlacing abstract and figurative passages, his painted and drawn marks wage a battle between the logic of consecutive steps and its very subversion. Zigzagging like a hare in flight, Pils playfully frees himself of himself while keeping the tension of the achromatic painting at an absolute high.
Curator: Verena Gamper
Save the Date
21 – 24 September 2017
Marx Halle Vienna