Thaddaeus Ropac to Donate Exhibition Proceeds to Refugee Charity

The Austrian gallery is showing its philanthropic side.

Gallerist Thaddaeus Ropac is showing his philanthropical side. Photo: Alexandre Isard via Paris Match

News of mega-collectors spending hundreds of millions at the fall auctions in New York dominate the headlines in the media this week. Meanwhile, the European refugee crisis continues unabated. Hundreds of thousands of asylum seekers risk their lives to flee war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, and those who survive the journey land on Europe’s shores every day.

In such a climate one would be forgiven for viewing the art market as a cold, money-driven industry. The truth is that many auction houses, dealers, collectors, and institutions are doing their bit to make a difference in their communities.

Austrian gallerist Thaddaeus Ropac has just announced a dual exhibition at his Villa Kast space in Salzburg to raise awareness, and money, for refugees in Austria.

The show will take place Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac's impressive Salzburg space. Photo: Ulrich Ghezzi via

The show will take place Galerie Thaddaeus Ropac’s impressive Salzburg space.
Photo: Ulrich Ghezzi via

Conceptualized by the Austrian writer Christoph Ransmayr, the project titled “Luminous Writing: For a Brighter Outlook Along the Refugee Routes in the Darkness of Europe,” invites artists living and working in Austria—including writers, actors, painters, and musicians—to contribute statements on the ongoing crisis. The statements will be written on the gallery walls in luminous ink that will glow under black light.

“Since the European Union has become the refuge of increasing numbers of displaced and desperate victims of European greed and destructiveness,” Ransmayr told Kleine Zeitung, “Europe wants nothing to do with the supplier of this wealth and has forgotten that a large portion of Europe’s population were periodically refugees themselves.”

Millions of refugees have fled to Europe to escape conflict and poverty. Photo: Hendrik Schmidt via Getty Images/AFP/

Millions of refugees have fled to Europe to escape conflict and poverty.
Photo: Hendrik Schmidt via Getty Images/AFP

In an exhibition brief he adds, “With their luminous writing, the artists […] do not seek to dictate where or how one person should help another—rather they wish to join with the stout-hearted helpers in public space, so that at least along the escape routes, unlike in the obfuscated parliaments, the outlook will once more become brighter.”

Parallel to the “Luminous Writing” show, the gallery is also organizing a “Charity for the Refugees” exhibition featuring several internationally known artists including Georg Baselitz, Joseph Beuys, Sylvie Fleury, Anselm Kiefer, Arnulf Rainer, and Erwin Wurm.

All proceeds will be donated to a local refugee aid foundation headed by Austrian humanitarian Doraja Eberle.

“Luminous Writing” runs from November 21, 2015 – January 9, 2016 at Villa Kast, Salzburg

“Charity for Regugees” runs from November 21, 2015 – January 16, 2016 at Villa Kast, Salzburg

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