Vienna/Neuhaus, April 19, 2012
In May 2008, the Museum Liaunig Neuhaus/Suha opened its doors with an attractive cross-section of the collection of the Austrian industrialist, which currently contains 2,800 works. The Museum building, which was planned by the Viennese architectural practice querkraft is located in southern Carinthia near St. Paul and Lavamünd on a hill above the River Drau.
The attractiveness of the puristically designed museum, which relies primarily on daylight and is open from the beginning of May until the end of October, has aroused interest well beyond Austria’s borders. It has also served to enhance the reputation of the collection, which is displayed on an area of some 3,500 m2 and focuses primarily on Austrian art after 1945/50 with supplementary international highlights.
The aim of the collector Herbert Liaunig and his art-loving family, was to offer the public access to important works and major blocks from his art collection, which has been built up over more than forty years and centres on painting, sculpture and singular works on paper. The objective was to thus shed light on the astonishing potential of Austrian contemporary art and this intention attains preliminary fruition during the current year with the exhibition “Reality and Abstraction 2”.
Accompanied by a richly illustrated, in-depth catalogue book (edited by Silvie Aigner), which is the fourth publication in a series, the current cross-section of the museum’s collection shows no less than 200 works. To a large extent, these consist of concrete art, geometric abstraction, minimalism and monochrome painting.
The current development in contemporary art, which shows overlaps and increasingly pluralistic tendencies and partly involves the use of electronic media and networked data processing (Richard Kriesche, Helmut Mark, Melitta Moschik, Georg Salner) also finds important supplementation in this year’s large, panoramic show in the form of Lettrist statements of diverse intent (Heinz Gappmayr, Wolfgang Ernst, Alighiero E. Boetti, Heimo Zobernig), light installations (Brigitte Kowanz), new, data-supported “portraits” from Hermann Painitz and monochrome, structuralist painting (Aubertin, Gasteiger, Stanzel, Klaus Staudt, Pierre Soulages et al).
In addition, works by the stone sculptors Karl Prantl, Osamu Nakajima and Franz Xaver Ölzant, who already number among the classicists, will also be on display. In their reductive tendencies, which relate basically to geometric abstraction and concrete art, these sculptures can truly be said to demonstrate a proximity to the aforementioned “structuralists”.
Helga Philipp, Mark Adrian and Joos + Joos will be exhibited with works from their later years, Eva Schlegel with screen prints on lead and Klaus Pinter, who lives in France, with a large, pneumatic room installation.
Fritz Panzer, Werner Reiterer und Hans Schabus react to daily routine and current symptoms with exceptional works on surfaces and in space that are reality-related, humorous, pictorially original and “sophisticated”.
In the sense of the new representationalism, this also applies to Peter Kogler in the form of an exciting interplay between very early gouaches from 1983 and the large computer generated painted works from 2010.
Recent, international purchases include works from Tony Cragg and Imi Knoebel. Moreover, dating from last year and therefore extremely current are pieces from Heinrich Dunst and Karl Hikade, as well as equally impressive large-scale works from Robert Schaberl, Hellmut Bruch, Eric Kressnig, Ferdinand Penker and Hans Grosch, which number among the lasting exhibits in a generously arranged exhibition, which in its efforts aimed at dialogue and contrasts, is full of surprises.