• 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


Manfred Willmann

Even in early works created during the 1970s, the image compositions of Austrian photographic artist Manfred Willmann see a convergence of the most diverse formal and methodological vectors of New Photography, which was just in the process of emancipating itself as an artistic genre. What would later come to characterize Willmann’s photographic language in his large or central series such as “Schwarz und Gold” [Black and Gold] and “Das Land” [The Country]—the fixation of the complex, interwoven and often parallel pictorial narratives in realistic, report-like or snapshot-like particles, of which each introduces its own temporality; a changeable, variously interrupted, excerpt-like reality which must constantly be constructed and reconstructed—can already be seen in his large self-portrait of 1972, as well as in his “Kontaktportraits” [Contact Portraits]. Both of these are more than just rare and early Austrian works of conceptual photography. By combining a conceptual interest in material aspects of photography with the author’s subjective, psychologizing stance, they point beyond the frame of the conceptual. In the works which followed shortly thereafter such as “Schwarz und Gold” [Black and Gold] and “Für Christine” [For Christine], Willmann leaves behind the formalisms of his conceptual years, and his eye for photography’s materiality begins to connect with the wider world, doing so with a nearly insatiable interest in both bodily and embodied knowledge, as well as in knowledge which has become a body. But this turn toward a new sensuousness, which seems almost like a rejection of conceptual photography’s universalizing claims to abstraction, is in reality their consistent intellectual continuation: Willmann is interested in the concept’s distortion, in what a conceptual view of surfaces and situations can unleash. To this day, his works are almost exclusively bundled into series and work groups. Their themes give rise within them to geographies of the everyday—but their gaze upon people, as well as upon the ephemeral, upon the gestural and upon the secret life of objects, employs discrete elements as if they were strategically selected much like one would select unstable, time-resistant arrangements and excerpts of a larger, absent reality. It his alertness to the concrete’s potential to become abstract by being captured and affixed in photography which makes Manfred Willmann’s oeuvre so rich.



1952, Graz / AT

Willmann studied Advertising Art at the HTBL in Graz (Austria) from 1970 to 1971. He works as freelance artist, winemaker, and lecturer. Furthermore Willmann is the founder (1980) and publisher of CAMERA AUSTRIA International. He has received several awards, including the „Würdigungspreis für künstlerische Fotografie“ in 1993, the „Kulturpreis der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Photographie“ in 1994, and the „Staatspreis für künstlerische Fotografie“ in 2009.

Please follow this link for a selected bibliography available at the ERSTE Foundation Library
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