The 2017 Edition of viennacontemporary Will Shine a Light on Hungarian and Nordic Art

Gathering 110 galleries from 27 countries, the sixth edition of the fair opens next Thursday.

Ludovic Bernhardt, Preserve Democracy (2016). Courtesy SANATORIUM.

Next week, over 110 galleries hailing from 27 countries will convene in Austria’s capital for the sixth edition of viennacontemporary.

Under the direction of Christina Steinbrecher-Pfandt, the 2017 iteration will bring together the work of over 500 artists, and promises to emphasize Hungarian neo-avant-garde art as well as the practices of emerging artists from across Nordic and Eastern Europe.

Staged in Vienna’s Marx Halle, this year’s program is bolstered by four carefully-curated special sections: ZONE1; Focus: Hungary; Nordic Highlights; and Solo&Sculpture—plus an ambitious series of talks organized by critic and writer Kate Sutton.

Marx Halle. Courtesy viennacontemporary: H.J. Kamerbeek.

ZONE1 will feature 10 solo presentations of artists below the age of 40 who were either born or educated in Austria, including Sarah Pichlkostner, Flora Hauser, Florian Schmidt, and Thilo Jenssen.

Focus: Hungary will take the form of a single exhibition curated by Hungarian art historian and critic József Mélyi. The show—which is the product of a collaboration between acb Gallery, Kisterem, and Vintage Gallery (all three of which are Budapest-based)—will showcase Hungarian artists who worked primarily in the 1970s across the media of action, conceptual photography, and mail art, and who were frequently referred to by mainstream culture as “existentialist.”

Katalin Ladik, Pseudo Prisutnost (1974). Courtesy acb Gallery.

Because of its historical grounding, Focus: Hungary is comprised of heavyweight, established artists—like Attalai Gábor, György Jovánovics, Dóra Maurer, Katalin Ladik, and Károly Hopp-Halász—whose work is already owned by the likes of Tate Modern or the Art Institute of Chicago.

Also on the agenda is Nordic Highlights, in which four galleries—Galerie Mikael Andersen (Denmark); Galleri Bo Bjerggaard (Denmark); Cecilia Billström Gallery (Sweden); and Gallery Taik Persons (Denark/Finland)—will show both young and established artists from the area, including Jaakko Kahilaniemi and Sonja Larsson.

Jaakko Kahilaniemi, Romanticism And Partiotism Studies (Gallen-Kallela 1896) (2017). Courtesy Gallery Taik Persons.

Of particular note is this year’s series of talks, titled “Talks: Borderline,” which will explore the consequences of the ongoing globalization of the art world. Selected panels include “Model Patrons: The Shifting Role of the Collector”; “Positions in Print: The Ethics of Art Writing”; and “Curatorial Statements: Speaking for/through Institutions.”

For the talks, Kate Sutton, the series’ curator, has crafted an impressive list of speakers, including artist Juliette Blightman; João Ribas, Senior Curator of the Serralves Museum; Defne Ayas, Director of Rotterdam’s Witte de With Center; and Alessandro Vincentelli, Curator of Exhibitions and Research at the BALTIC Centre in Gateshead, UK.

Evamaria Schaller, Verzwischenraumt (2017). Still of video-performance. Courtesy the artist and MARTINETZ.

Finally, in a new move, the fair has implemented the viennacontemporary Cinema Prize, established in cooperation with Vienna’s Museum moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (mumok). The winner will be selected from those whose works are being shown in viennacontemporary’s 2017 Cinema program, which is curated by Olaf Stüber and built around the theme of “My own little happiness.”

Screenings include video works by Mark Wallinger, Corinna Schnitt, Gerhard Mantz + Wolfgang Voigt, and Irina Botea Bucan.

The 2017 edition of viennacontemporary will run from September 21 to 24 at the city’s Marx Halle.

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