Zoran Music – Joannis Avramidis

Günter Brus is not only considered one of Austria’s most important and radical artists, but also, to quote Peter Weibel, justifiably as “a major 20th century artist who enjoys an international standing”. As a pioneer of Body Art, he not only paved the way for generations of artists but through his drawings also consistently advanced the lineage of early Viennese Expressionism and with his image/poem collages known as “Bild-Dichtungen” comprising text and image he established a new, art genre that straddled two media. His pursued his style of art uncompromisingly, even when he found the era against him, and was willing to accept other people’s lack of understanding, rejection, accusations, condemnation and even ten years in exile if it meant continuing to champion his art. Today, he is considered a classic, someone with a firm place in the canon of art history and textbooks would be unthinkable without him.

That said, this belated acceptance and canonization is not without its downsides. Those authors considered to be classics tend to be the ones everyone knows but nobody reads, someone whose name is generally familiar although nobody really knows what he writes about. Thus, Wienerroither & Kohlbacher chose “Die Einsamkeit des Spätklassikers” (The Loneliness of a Late Classic) as an apt title for its first presentation of Günter Brus’ richly-facetted work. When you read the name Brus it is often accompanied by the epithet “Viennese Actionist”, a label that has since stuck to him and can be misleading. After all, the Austrian artist who was reviled by most people only conducted actions for seven years, whereas he produced drawings for around 60 years. Since first appearing in public around 1960 Brus has produced a mind-boggling oeuvre that not only includes 40 actions but also over 30,000 drawings, costume and stage set designs for theater and opera productions, not to mention a comprehensive literary work.

The retrospective exhibition at Palais Schönborn-Batthyany featuring some 120 works provides a concise insight into the work of Günter Brus. Starting with the first abstract pieces he produced on Mallorca it continues with the photographs of important actions followed by the post-Romantic drawings of the 1970s, the large-format single sheets and comprehensive “Bild-Dichtungen” (Image-Poems) of the 1980s and 1990s. Through this broad range, the show succeeds in highlighting several unknown and surprising aspects about this classic artist.

Current Dates

  • Fri. 15 Nov 2019, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Tue. 19 Nov 2019, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Wed. 20 Nov 2019, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Thu. 21 Nov 2019, 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.
  • Fri. 22 Nov 2019, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m.