We picked the best art exhibitions on display in Vienna this February. Explore the contemporary side of the city and visit museums and galleries listed further.
Chinese Whispers at MAK | Stubenring 5, 1010
A comprehensive picture of contemporary Chinese art and its aesthetic as well as iconographic references is presented by the MAK exhibition CHINESE WHISPERS: Recent Art from the Sigg Collection. Collector Uli Sigg (*1946) has been following the development of contemporary art in China since the late 1970s. In the mid-1990s, he started putting together the world’s most representative collection of Chinese art. Cultural techniques and sociopolitical strategies form the frame of reference of the exhibition, which aims at opening up the discourse shaped by the West by contrasting approximately 100 works from the Sigg Collection — among others by internationally renowned artists such as Ai Weiwei, Cao Fei, Feng Mengbo, He Xiangyu, Liu Ding, or Song Dong — with objects from the MAK Permanent Collection Asia.
Ute Müller at mumok | Museumsplatz 1, 1070
At mumok, Ute Müller creates installations that place paintings, objects, and architecture into a dynamic interplay, breaking away from stale concepts of the work of art and forms of perception. Walls and plinths are removed from their usual architectural functions as frames and backdrops, themselves becoming motifs that shape both work and its perception, while images and objects recall real everyday matters in spite of their high degree of abstraction. The walls that are “hung” in the exhibition are no longer mere backdrops for works of art, but works in their own right. By transforming walls from props to exhibition objects, Ute Müller makes the fragile and fleeting nature of seemingly “normal” ways of seeing and evaluating tangible. This confusing game with convention is a precise and strategic reorientation of perception.
Gelatin at Galerie Meyer Kainer | Eschenbachgasse 9, 1010
The realization of a series of portraits for the exhibition Beyond hard at Galerie Meyer Kainer, using the same ex negativo process, originated with a specific commission to create a portrait bust. For gelatin, this was a coincidental but welcome occasion to circumvent their own artistic tastes and ambitions. Though they approach the theme of sculpture in emulation of classical figure groups, gelatin’s special method allows them to roam back and forth freely between chance, laissez-faire, and complex formal sculptural language.
Egon Schiele at Leopold Museum | Museumsplatz 1, 1070
Even a century after his death, Egon Schiele’s oeuvre has lost none of its currentness and virulence. Placed as “injections” into the jubilee show, works by Louise Bourgeois, Tadashi Kawamata, Jürgen Klauke, Sarah Lucas, Chloe Piene, Rudolf Polanszky, Maximilian Prüfer, Elisabeth von Samsonow and Fiona Tan illustrate the various connecting points to contemporary art offered by Schiele’s central themes and motifs, be it in the context of his radical self-reflections and the questioning of his own body, the depictions of women and his ambivalent mother image, his spirituality or the expressive landscapes, cityscapes and portraits.
Katarina Spielmann at Charim Events | Schleifmühlgasse 1, 1040
In the exhibition, the pictures of Katarina Spielmann seem to have a will of their own morphing into the tranquility of a space-time vacuum where landscape, vegetation, and Homo sapiens converge. Such autonomous studies are made with troweled plaster and thin washes of colour accrued into sedimentations of a subdued palette. Expanded upon in numerous sized canvases with fine honed colour, bundles and chords of bulbous shapes often suggest human torsos and bodily limbs.