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Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien

11.01.2022

The Artist and the Beast

2022 will be an exciting year for art. And we’re going to tell you here about ten exhibitions that you really shouldn’t miss: not only in Vienna, but also Berlin, London and Paris.

From Surrealism to Francis Bacon and Edvard Munch: These major exhibitions offer unusual perspectives on art that you may know, but should rediscover.

Francis Bacon: Man and Beast at the Royal Academy of Arts in London (from 29.1.)

Francis Bacon is one of the most important 20th-century artists. Crippled bodies, bloody masses of flesh, innards that have been pulled outside the body: Bacon’s paintings reveal extreme violence, are unembellished and daring. One of his central motifs was the scream. He was open about his addiction to gambling, his masochism and his excessive drinking. But something that has been addressed too little to date is Bacon’s fascination with animals. In many of his paintings, one is unsure, where the human ends and the animal begins. The artist observed wild animals on his travels in Africa and had a large collection of books about animals in his studio in London. The exhibition "Man and Beast" at the Royal Academy of Arts in London addresses Bacon’s life-long fascination with the subject.

Dalí – Freud. An Obsession in the Lower Belvedere in Vienna (from 1.2.)

The surrealist artist Salvador Dalí was fascinated by the ideas of the Viennese doctor Sigmund Freud, who researched the unconscious. He also tried to meet his idol personally on several occasions. He was in Vienna in April 1937, but the contact failed. The pair didn’t meet until 1938. An exhibition in the Lower Belvedere investigates this obsession with Freud and examines its impact on Dalí’s work.

David Hockney: INSIGHTS in the Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien (from 10.2.)

You will certainly know David Hockney’s popular swimming pool paintings. From 10.2, the Bank Austria Kunstforum will offer the first opportunity to see a comprehensive retrospective of this fascinating British artist in Austria, with many of his famous paintings and prints making the journey from the collection of the Tate in London to Vienna. Hockney addressed the issue of his homosexuality at a very early date, when this was still regarded as a criminal offence in England and repeatedly painted the landscapes of his homeland in the North of England, but he was also interested in the clean interior designs of his adopted home on the West Coast of the USA.

Charles Ray in the Centre Pompidou in Paris (from 16.2.)

The human figures of the American artist Charles Ray are threateningly large. The best known is his statue of a boy holding a frog. The child, who originally stood in Venice but was removed after popular protests, is 2.44 metres tall. His figurative sculptures, which play with antiquity but in connection with contemporary subjects, also surprise and irritate in the museum context. A Ray exhibition can be seen in the Centre Pompidou in Paris from 16.2.

Edvard Munch in the Albertina (from 18.2.)

An architecturally spectacular new museum dedicated to the painter Edvard Munch (1863-1944) recently opened in Oslo. The Norwegian, whose famous painting "The Scream" depicts a sense of existential distress that remains modern and poignant, has inspired more colleagues from following generations than hardly any other artist. This is why, in its main exhibition in 2022, the Albertina will show not only around 60 masterpieces by Munch, but also artistic reactions. "Edvard Munch – In Dialogue" is the name of the exhibition that can be seen from 18th February to 19th June, in which works by the Norwegian will encounter others by Andy Warhol or Tracy Emin.

Surrealism Beyond Borders in Tate Modern in London (from 24.2.)

The focus on the artistic movement Surrealism has intensified in recent years and we have already seen a major exhibition about women in Surrealism. From 24th February, Tate Modern in London also wants to broaden the perspective and free Surrealism, which emerged in Paris in the 1920s, from its narrow regional limits. Surrealism is a means of addressing reality in new and different ways. The exhibition "Surrealism Beyond Borders" features artists from around the world, who have been influenced by Surrealist ideas.

Iron Men: The Armour of the European Renaissance in the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien (from 15.3.)

It looks as if it’s come straight from a sci-fi film: Armour that was worn between the late 15th and early 17th centuries. An exhibition in the Kunsthistorisches Museum features gems from the collection alongside examples lent by the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and Real Armeria in Madrid: For example, the masked helmet made for Markgraf Albrecht von Brandenburg-Ansbach resembles a bird’s head. These items of armour are masterpieces of craftspersonship and one is fascinated by the lightness with which the material appears to fall when it imitates fabric, despite being made of metal. "Iron Men" runs from 15.3. to 26.6.

Helmut Newton Legacy in the Bank Austria Kunstforum Wien (from 19.10.)

The Berlin-born Helmut Newton (1920-2004) continues to fascinate and provoke with his theatrical photographs, many of which feature naked women, who are self-confidently and aggressively looking into the camera and, thus, challenging voyeuristic clichés. To mark the artist’s centenary, the Bank Austria Kunstforum is showing an exhibition with 300 works that document Newton’s entire oeuvre, from his fashion photography, via his nudes, to rarely shown works that shed light upon the relationship between art and commerce.

Monica Bonvicini in the Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin (from 28.10.)

Monica Bonvicini is an Italian concept artist, who lives in Berlin. Her works deal with the interplay between gender roles, power relationships and architecture. The aim of her art is to stimulate thoughts that we otherwise wouldn’t have had. In doing so, she also works a lot with language, employing this with humour. The Neue Nationalgalerie in Berlin will present a comprehensive solo exhibition of the artist from 28.10.

VALIE EXPORT in the Albertina Modern (from 26.10.)

The Austrian artist VALIE EXPORT became famous in the 1960s for her feminist works. One of her best-know actions is the Tapp- und Tastkino (Tap and Touch Cinema): Onlookers were invited to touch EXPORT’s bare breasts. The idea behind the artist’s street action was to confront viewers with the fact that taking a voyeuristic look at a woman’s body in a darkened cinema was considered normal. Many works by the media and performance artist VALIE EXPORT are documented in photos. Since the 1970s, she has been critically investigating how we perceive images and the mass media. The Albertina Modern will show rarely exhibited photographs by the artist.