• WHO WAS 1968?
    28 Sept 2018 − 13 Jan 2019

    LENTOS Kunstmuseum WHO WAS 1968? Art, Architecture, Society Curated by: Hedwig Saxenhuber, Georg Schöllhammer Loans by Kontakt from: Heimrad Bäcker, Stanisław Dróżdż, VALIE EXPORT, Stano Filko, Běla Kolářová, Július Koller, Natalia LL, Karel Miler, Petr Štembera, Raša Todosijević and Goran Trbuljak A decade of eruptions, departures and redefinitions in the steel city Linz. The year I968 marks a turning point that ushered in a new era. Across Western Europe and in the United States Student protests and workers’ revolts called into question the post-war power structure itself, while Soviet tanks bulldozed the Prague Spring into the ground and signalled the end of the hope that the Eastern Bloc would open up to the West. This exhibition harks back to the echoes of I968 in Linz and Upper Austria. Embracing the arts, architecture, music, film and literature, it unfolds for the first time a synoptic map on which key figures and moments of local history – some largely unknown to this day – are accorded a place. It enables visitors to embark on exploratory trips and to survey the rich fabric of relationships and linkages that includes points of contact with international scenarios and trends. Experiments in the aesthetic field were begun with a view to escaping from the cultural stuffiness of the first two post-war decades. The participating artists include: Claudia von Alemann, Ant Farm, Heimrad Bäcker, Josef Bauer, Bill Bollinger, Dietmar Brehm, Gerd Conradt, Waltraut Cooper, Stanisław Dróżdż, Erró, VALIE EXPORT, Harun Farocki, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Stano Filko, Helmuth Gsöllpointner, Timo Huber, Johann Jascha, Martha Jungwirth, Gülsün Karamustafa, Gerhard Knogler, Běla Kolářová, Juliús Koller, Peter Kubelka, Zofia Kulik, KwieKulik, Maria Lassnig, Fritz Lichtenauer, Natalia LL, Karel Miler, Josef Nöbauer, OHO, Yoko Ono, Gina Pane, Friederike Pezold, Cora Pongracz, Chris Reinecke, Martha Rosler, Dieter Roth, Zorka Sàglovà, Dominik Steiger, Petr Štembera, Raša Todosijević, Goran Trbuljak, Tucumàn Arde, Jiřì Valoch, Agnés Varda, Peter Weibel, Hannah Wilke, Jana Želibská, Želimir Žilnik, Zünd-Up


Paweł Althamer

Paweł Althamer, a space traveler and inhabitant of Bródno, trained at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw in the “Kowalnia” studio-class of Grzegorz Kowalski (alongside Artur Żmijewski), and he has been well known since the 1990’s for his self-experimentation, sculptures, performances, actions, alternative pedagogy and social activism. His work recalls both Beuys’ social sculpture and Hansen’s Open Form legacies. He could be also described as a deeply relational artist, or as an artist with an affinity for “relational aesthetics,” if one could apply this term to his unusual “local-global” case. Many of his works are documentations (objects, artifacts, and films) of actions organized in special circumstances and addressed to specific groups of people with whom Althamer has collaborated (e.g., residents of the Bródno district of Warsaw, or Grupa Nowolipie), involving them in an artistic process and making them equal artists or co-authors for the first time in their lives. Breaking up the distinctiveness of art in a very realistic and human way, Althamer delegates artistic tasks, giving generous opportunities to other people of different (non-artistic) backgrounds to act as artists, to become the artists, or to co-create the work either as participants or as spectators. It it is the most crucial component of his work.

The topic of the “astronaut” and of traveling through space and time has been present in Althamer’s work since it first appeared in 1991, thereafter reappearing in output such as his student works Boat and Astronaut Suit (1991), Astronaut 2 (commissioned by Documenta X in Kassel in 1997), and culminating with the spectacular group of journeys with golden suits and golden airplanes such as in Common Task (2009). The Astronaut [Astronaut 1] (1995), introduced at an Oikos group exhibition at Muzeum im. Leona Wyczółkowskiego in Bydgoszcz, originated when Althamer got off the train and walked through the city of Bydgoszcz in a home-made cosmonaut costume consisting of found and bought white-colored objects and proceeded to film inhabitants and streets with his camera, which transmitted its image in real time to a TV monitor installed on his back as part of a special rucksack-construction (all the parts of which now form their own art object). In a very interesting way, this work combined Althamer’s participatory projects, which focused on the creative involvement of viewers/spectators, with his interest in “directed reality” and different notions of realism, being consistently analogous to his other works such as The Observer (1995), a sculpture of a figure with glasses and a camera in its hands. 1991 was a formative year for Althamer’s overall work for many reasons, most of all because of his exploratory trip to Mali, where he met and observed the Dogon people. In a 1991 letter to his wife, he wrote: “I have a feeling of being distanced from all events around me and from those that I take part in. I call it a film in which I am playing my own part while watching it at the same time.” Since that time, Althamer has further developed his way of examining the spectators-participants phenomena, going on to his real-time recordings or “directed reality” performances without a recording camera. The project Bydgoszcz Astronaut 1 was the first in this group of works, and it led him a few years later to Motion Picture (2000) for Manifesta 3, Real Time Movie (2004) for Carnegie International, and his Realtime Movie performance at Tate Modern (2007), which was a trailer for his film that was never made (the idea being that the trailer seen on the screen was re-enacted live by Jude Law buying fish at Borough Market). As promptly stated by Francesco Manacorda: “For Althamer ‘real-time films’ are articulations of his artistic notion of ‘directed reality’ which involves insertion of fiction in the real world through open collaboration with ‘real people’ in ‘real conditions’ under the artist’s loose direction.”


1967, Warszawa / PL

Althamer studied in the class of Prof. Grzegorz Kowalski at the Faculty of Sculpture of the Academy of Fine Art in Warsaw (Poland), from 1988 to 1993. He was member of the so-called “Kowalski Studio” at the Academy. Since the early 1990s Althamer collaborates with the “Nowolipie Group”, an organization for adults with mental or physical disabilities, to whom he teaches ceramics classes. In 2004 the artist received the “Vincent Award”.


Please follow this link for a selected bibliography available at the ERSTE Foundation Library
Media File
Browse All