20 Years of The VERBUND COLLECTION
Aneta Grzeszykowska, Untitled Film Stills, 2016. © Aneta Grzeszykowska. Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Raster. Sammlung Verbund.
Albertina presents an exhibition of works from VERBUND COLLECTION, Vienna, held in celebration of the collection’s twentieth anniversary. The corporate collection was founded by the Austrian electricity company VERBUND in 2004 and holds around one thousand works by two hundred artists. The show includes new acquisitions that will be presented in Austria for the first time.
The large bodies of work by artists such as Cindy Sherman, Francesca Woodman, Birgit Jürgenssen, and Renate Bertlmann compiled in keeping with VERBUND COLLECTION’s maxim “depth instead of breadth” make up the first part of the exhibition. Sherman is presented side by side with contemporaries like Martha Wilson and younger artists like Aneta Grzeszykowska, who reenacted Sherman’s famous black-and-white series Untitled Film Stills in color. They are followed by works of the feminist avant-garde of the 1970s that deal with the reduction of women to the roles of housewife, wife, and mother, the use of the female body, and female sexuality. The term feminist avant-garde was coined by VERBUND COLLECTION’s founding director Gabriele Schor in 2007 to honor the pioneering work of these artists. She successfully positioned them in the art-historical canon with an exhibition that toured throughout Europe for ten years. Through this focus on in-depth collecting, Schor secured VERBUND COLLECTION’s singular status.
In the context of the spatialization of art in the 1970s, another section is dedicated to works that deal with the conceptual, poetic, and psychological perception of spaces and places. Sawing a house in two and tilting one half by a few degrees, Gordon Matta-Clark creates his ‘Anarchitecture’ as a critique of conventional architecture. David Wojnarowicz poetically links his life in New York to that of the French poet Arthur Rimbaud. And Ernesto Neto creates a psychologically charged space based on Sigmund Freud’s Interpretation of Dreams in which a doll dwells in a rocking chair and is mysteriously connected to a superego outside the cage.
The anniversary exhibition presents new acquisitions in the context of ‘Gender, Identity & Diversity,’ works that have never been shown in Austria before. Artists create spaces of memory; see, for instance, South African-born Kganye Lebohang, who uses photomontages to explore her relationship with her deceased mother, or Kazakhstan-born Alexander Ugay. A descendant of the Korean diaspora, he traces his ancestors with analogue and AI photographs. With her large-format collages, Norwegian-Nigerian artist Frida Orupabo creates scenes that address colonial history, slavery, racism, and sexism. Zanele Muholi identifies as non-binary and actively campaigns for LGBTQ+ rights in South Africa. Muholi’s staged self-portraits criticize the Eurocentric view of the black body. Sin Wai Kin deconstructs and reconstructs social narratives and embodies four non-binary identities of a fictional boy band in the video “It’s Always You.”
Artists: Renate Bertlmann, Barbara Bloom, Marcella Campagnano, Veronika Dreier, Renate Eisenegger, VALIE EXPORT, Gerda Fassel, Simon Fujiwara, Simryn Gill, Nan Goldin, Aneta Grzeszykowska, Suzy Lake, Kganye Lebohang, Anne Marie Jehle, Birgit Jürgenssen, Kirsten Justessen, Sin Wai Kin, Joachim Koester, Auguste Kronheim, Brigitte Lang, Louise Lawler, Angelika Loderer, Karin Mack, Gordon Matta-Clark, Anita Münz, Zanele Muholi, Ernesto Neto, ORLAN, Gabriel Orozco, Frida Orupabo, Florentina Pakosta, Margot Pilz, Ingeborg G Pluhar, Elodie Pong, Tomoko Sawada, Senga Nengudi, Elaine Shemilt, Cindy Sherman, Lorna Simpson, Penny Slinger, Annegret Soltau, Sophie Thun, Alexander Ugay, Jeff Wall, Gillian Wearing, Carrie Mae Weems, Hannah Wilke, Martha Wilson, David Wojnarowicz, Francesca Woodman, Nil Yalter.
Curator: Gabriele Schor, founding direct