Museum Liaunig about to reopen

Exhibition "WIRKLICHKEITEN" - Peter Pongratz

Exhibition "WIRKLICHKEITEN" - Peter Pongratz

Museum Liaunig about to reopen

The Museum Liaunig possesses one of the most extensive collections of contemporary Austrian art since 1945, which is supplemented by leading representatives of classic modernism and exemplary works from international artists. In the reopening year following enlargement, five exhibitions await the visitor. Under the title WIRKLICHKEITEN (REALITIES) works from Herzig, Jungwirth, Kocherscheidt, Pongratz, Ringel and Zeppel-Sperl will be on display along with a one-man show by the Irish artist Sean Scully. In addition, the historic collections of decorated glass, portrait miniatures and the Gold of the Akan provide a conscious contrast programme to the presentations of contemporary art.

The refined museum building, which as if predestined by nature has been placed in the southern Carinthian landscape above the River Drau by the Viennese architectural team querkraft, forms an appropriate architectonic and museological framework for the collections of the industrialist Herbert W. Liaunig. After a year of extension work, the private museum in Neuhaus/Suha, which has already been awarded the Austrian Museums Prize and the status of a protected building, is now about to reopen.

The original architectural concept, comprised of four striking structural elements has now been supplemented by a triangular room for special exhibitions with an adjacent atrium that in 2015 will be dedicated to Sean Scully's abstract paintings, as well as two underground presentation rooms and additional depot space.

From the main gallery, one enters an underground annex, wich contains an artistically and ethnologically unique collection of African gold objects from the 19th and 20th centuries. Behind this room for the presentation of the Akan Gold, which was part of the original museum, new spaces have been added in which the collections of decorated glasses and portrait miniatures from the 16th to the 19th century are housed in a generous display case landscape.

Following the reconstruction work, a new artistic intervention has been integrated into the architecture from querkraft, which has won numerous awards and is characterised by fair-faced concrete, steel and glass. As a counterpoint to Brigitte Konwanz's light installation in the exit area of the underground cube housing the gold collection, Esther Stocker has designed the corridor leading to the glass and portrait miniature exhibitions. Via this connecting passage visitors can also enter the impressive, circular sculpture depot, which is now accessible for the first time. A shop in the foyer als augments the museum's facilities.

The enlargement of the museum has also been accompanied by a change in its opening hours. It can now be viewed without a prior agreed appointment from Wednesday to Sunday between 10.00 a.m. and 6.00 p.m. Guided tours through the contemporary exhibits will be available at 11.00 a.m. and 2.00 p.m. These are included in the price of admission, but participation is not obligatory. Children aged 12 and over are also most welcome.

Museum Liaunig: April 26th to October 31st 2015
Wednesday -Sunday  from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
guided tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
9155 Neuhaus/Suha 41, Austria, 0043/4356/21115
officeatmuseumliaunig [dot] at


The new Exhibitions:

WIRKLICHKEITEN. Painting that bucked the trend
curated by Hans-Peter Wipplinger

With some 250 works comprised of paintings, drawings, prints and sculptural pieces, this presentation constitutes the most comprehensive overview to date of the loose WIRKLICHKEITEN artistic group, which at the end of the 1960s was formed by Wolfgang Herzig (1941), Martha Jungwirth (1940), Kurt Kocherscheidt (1943-1992), Peter Pongratz (1940), Franz Ringel (1940-2011) and Robert Zeppel-Sperl (1944-2005).

These six heterogeneous artistic characters held their first joint exhibition under the title WIRKLICHKEITEN at the Vienna Secession in 1968. The show, which was designed by Otto Breicha, proved to be an unexpected success and the talk was of "The debut of Handke generation in the Austrian visual arts" and "A type of new CoBrA group". As opposed to the stylistic directions of the period, which were dominated by the Viennese school of fantastic realism and abstractionism, as well as emerging avant-garde tendencies such as minimal and conceptual art, which declared painting to be obsolete, the WIRKLICHKEITEN pursued "open" painting that was far removed from academic dogmas and the tyrannies of fashion.

A considerable number of the exhibits in this show are not only on public display for the first time, but are also making their debut in print. A richly illustrated accompanying publication with content that is as profound as it is entertaining and around 350 colour images, offers an invitation to in-depth perusal. Apart from articles from Silvie Aigner, Brigitte Borchhardt-Birbaumer, Daniela Gregori, Susanne Längle, Rainer Metzger, Thomas Mießgang, Florian Steininger and Hans-Peter Wipplinger, the catalogue also contains historical texts from Otto Breicha and Alfred Schmeller, as well as contributions from literary companions of the WIRKLICHKEITEN such as Peter Handke, Elfriede Jelinek and Friederike Mayröcker, and last but by no means least, from the aritists themselves.  


Sean Scully - painting as an imaginative world appropriation
curated by Peter Baum

Sean Scully, who was born in Dublin in 1945, currently numbers among the leading exponents of absolute, non-figurative painting that is influenced decisively by the use of colour. The paintings, which are composed of simple, geometric, fundamental elements consisting of rectangles, squares and bar-like stripes, are based on a strongly emotional, impasto painting method that is both intensive and differentiated.

The painting process, which is carried out openly by the artist and accompanied by tension occupies a place within each of his works. These consist of large formats with the impetus derived from differentially charged, dense brushwork, directed as an exciting block-like drama, or small, sensitive and lyrical water colours as a subtle and charming "Kammerspiel".

Seventeen paintings and four watercolours form the contingent of the exhibition of the artist at the Museum Liaunig, which will last from April 26th to October 31st. The exhibition is to be accompanied by a large-format catalogue.

Almost 200 one-man shows in Europe, the USA and Asia, the global presence of important works in a similar number of museums and public collections, as well as a bibliography that corresponds with this reputation, serve to underline the status of this exceptional artist.


Glasses from 1500 to 1850
curated by Regine Kovacek

The enlargement of the museum building now also allows the presentation of the glass collection of the Herbert Liaunig Private Trust to a broader public. In a purpose-designed room and exhibition showcases, glasses from various epochs are on display. The exhibits range from the beginnings of artistic, European glass in Venice to the products manufactured for the Congress of Vienna and the wealthy patrons of the Bohemian spas.

The glasses on display form a representatve cross-section through all of these eras between 1500 and 1850, their special features, stories and idiosyncratic personalities of the various masters of the art of glass, as well as the various techniques involved.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue.


Portrait miniatures from 1590 to 1890
curated by Dr. Bodo Hofstetter

As the name suggests, portrait miniatures are hand-painted likenesses of the smallest and very smallest size with heights ranging from less than a centimetre to around fifteen to twenty centimetres and occasionally even larger.

From the middle of the 16th century to the time of the discovery and spread of photography in the mid-19th century, they fulfilled the task of providing the most life-like facsimile of a loved one that could be worn, or furnishing an impression of the appearance of a person that one did not know, but with whom one was to become acquainted (if the countenance in the picture rendered this prospect appealing). Therefore, well into the 19th century and long before the arrival on Internet dating, in what were generally arranged marriages prior to which the bride and groom had frequently never met, the exchange of portrait miniatures was the only possibility to assess the extent to which the couple found one another attractive.

Of almost 300 miniatures in the Liaunig collection (tendency upward), a representative selection of 100 items painted in Europe between 1590 and 1900 is shown in this exhibition and these are documented scientifically in a catalogue with over 400 pages.


Akan Gold 

This artistically and ethnologically unique collection of African gold, which can be viewed in an underground, purpose-built annex and during past years has already delighted the museum's visitors, is seen as a counterpoint to the displays of contemporary art. This year, the attractively designed Akan Gold permanent exhibition will again be on display in the dark-blue, cuboid room with its spotlighted showcase landscape and accessible treasure chamber.

The gold objects, which convince with their formal richness and expressiveness, represent important historical and artistic artefacts from various tribes of the Akan ethnic group, which lives in West afria in the regions comprised by the southern half of Ghana and south-eastern Cote d'Ivoire. In the main, the roughly 600 items of jewellery and cult objects, which derive largely from the royal households of the Ashanti, Baule and Fante, date from the 19th and 20th centuries although some individual pieces are far older. However whatever their age, in view of the geometry of their basic forms and elementary figurativeness, the pieces on show offer numerous possibilities for enlightening comparisons with the modern.


Museum Liaunig, April 26th to October 31st 2015
Wednesday to Sunday 10 a.m to 6 p.m.
Guided tours at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.
9155 Neuhaus/Suha 41, Austria, 0043/4356/21115
officeatmuseumliaunig [dot] at