• Poetry & Performance / The Eastern European Perspective
    22 December 2017 − 10 March 2018

    Nová synagóga, Žilina, Slovakia Poetry & Performance / The Eastern European Perspective 22/12/17 –  10/03/18 Loans by Kontakt: Vlado Martek: Ciklus Soneti / Sonnet Cycle, 1978-79 Raša Todosijević: Znak / Sign, 1971; Skulptura / Sculpture, 1971; Was ist Kunst, Patricia Hennings? / What is Art, Patricia Hennings?, 1976; Was ist Kunst, Marinela Koželj? / What is Art, Marinela Koželj?, 1978 Tamás St. Auby: Kentaur / Centaur, 1973-1975/ 2009 Curators: Sabine Hänsgen, Tomáš Glanc, Daniel Grúň Nová synagóga in Žilina presents the exhibition Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective curated by Tomáš Glanc, Daniel Grúň and Sabine Hänsgen. The exhibition brings together more than forty artists, poets and creative groups from the countries of the former Eastern Europe as well as contemporary artistic positions. The exhibition will be opened on December 22nd from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. by a series of several performances and will run until March 10th 2018. In the second half of the twentieth century, poets and artists in particular took up the challenge of reflecting on and investigating the instrumentalization of language for communicative and political-ideological purposes. They did so by drawing attention to the “made-ness” of language, its material and medial dimension, and by creating performative situations for themselves and their audiences within which possibilities of verbal expression could be tested and acted out. In Eastern Europe, poetry and performance played a significant role in the unofficial or partially tolerated cultural scene. The writing practice of samizdat and its relation to the devices of concrete and visual poetry have been treated and presented in a number of previous projects. Until now however, less consideration has been given to the circumstances of performance. In addition to the typescript literature of samizdat, subcultural milieus attached particular importance to the oral recitation of poems, exhibitions, and poetry actions. The interrelation between text and situation in poetic acts functioned as a trigger for performances and happenings. The exhibition presents authors from subcultures in socialist states along with contemporary positions that continue the legacy of combining poetry and performance. It shows the efforts of poets and artists to break free from controlled language and normative communicative now and then. Poetry & Performance. The Eastern European Perspective thus confronts the current social challenges in the post-socialist countries through the prism of language and ideology and looks back at their points of departure. Artists: Milan Adamčiak, Pavel Arsenev, Babi Badalov, Bosch+Bosch (Attila Csernik, Slavko Matković, László Szalma), Collective Actions Group, Ľubomír Ďurček, Else Gabriel / Via Lewandowsky, Rimma Gerlovina, Tomislav Gotovac, Group of Six Artists, Bohumila Grögerová / Josef Hiršal, Gino Hahnemann, Václav Havel, Jörg Herold, Semyon Khanin (Orbita), Kinship Moho (Zuzana Jasenková, Kristína Országhová, Magdaléna Scheryová), Dávid Koronczi, Katalin Ladik, Yuri Leiderman / Andrey Silvestrov, Vlado Martek, Andrei Monastyrski, Monogramista T.D, Ladislav Novák, Pavel Novotný, NSRD (Hardijs Lediņš, Juris Boiko, Imants Žodžiks), OHO Group (Nuša & Srečo Dragan, Naško Križnar), Boris Ondreička, Orange Alternative, Roman Osminkin, Ewa Partum, Bogdanka Poznanović, Dmitri Prigov, Lev Rubinstein, Nóra Ružičková / Marianna Mlynárčiková, Mladen Stilinović, Gabriele Stötzer, Tamás Szentjóby, Bálint Szombathy, Raša Todosijević, Jaromír Typlt, Jiří Valoch. Nová synagóga, Žilina, Slovakia J. M. Hurbana 220/11, 010 01 Wednesday — Sunday, 1 p.m. — 7 p.m. free entry (voluntary)


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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.

Lives and works in Graz, Austria.

Solo Exhibitions (selected):

2011     “La Tara / Das Land", Muzeul Taranului Roman, Bucharest, Romania

2009     “Das Land”, (with Seiichi Furuya), Osaka Castle, Osaka, Japan

2006     “Manfred Willmann, DAS LAND”, PhotoEspana, Circulo de Bellas Artes, Madrid, Spain

2005     “Manfred Willmann, WERKBLICK", Retrospektive, Neue Galerie Graz, Graz, Austria

2004     “Oman”, Galerie Bleich-Rossi, Graz, Austria

2003     “Manfred Willmann”, Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria 

2002     “Japanese Food”, Minima Gallery, Zagreb, Croatia

Group Exhibitions (selected):

2017     "Facing Austria", Salzburg Museum, Salzburg, Austria

2012     “Röcke tragen. Die Inszenierung von Kleidung in der zeitgenössischen Fotografie und Plastik“, Museum der Moderne, Salzburg, Austria

2011     “Vermessung der Welt. Heterotopien und Wissensräume in der Kunst“, Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria

2010     “FOUND-Wanted. KünstlerInnen der Steiermark“, Kon-temporär Gallery, Graz, Austria

2009     “In Search of Likeness. Portraits Through the Years”, Kunsthalle Krems, Krems, Austria

2008     “Die Kunst der Landwirtschaft“, Tiroler Landesmuseum Ferdinandeum, Innsbruck, Austria

2007     “21 Positions“, Austrian Cultural Forum New York, New York City, USA

2006     “Why Pictures Now? Fotografie, Film, Video heute“, MUMOK Museum Moderner Kunst Sammlung Ludwig, Vienna, Austria

2005     “The Drifter - The Dreamer”, TENT Centrum beeldende Kunst, Rotterdam, Netherlands

2004     “Land – Landschaft“, Österreichisches Kulturforum Prag, Prag, Czech Republic

2003     “Einbildung. Das Wahrnehmen in der Kunst“, Kunsthaus Graz, Graz, Austria

2002     “Augenblick“, Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Austria

This bibliography provides a list of books available in the
ERSTE Foundation Library

Books/Exhibition Catalogues


Thun-Hohenstein, Christoph, ed. 2007. 21 Positions: [of seeing others and ourselves]. Curated by Christoph Thun-Hohenstein. Vienna: Visual concept & Design [Exhib. Cat., Austrian Cultural Forum New York (May 15-Aug. 25, 2007)]


Pakesch, Peter, ed. 2005. Manfred Willmann: Werkblick. Engl./Germ. Curated by Peter Pakesch. Cologne: Walther König [Exhib. Cat., Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum Graz (Sep. 24-Nov. 1, 2005)]


Frank, Rike, ed. 2003. Manfred Willmann. Engl./Germ. Vienna: Secession [Exhib. Cat., Secession Vienna (Feb. 27-Apr. 27, 2003)]

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