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Roland Goeschl / Fritz Wotruba

EXPLOSIV 1958-1975

20 June 2012 to 25 November 2012
Belvedere 21Belvedere
With its special exhibition Roland Goeschl/Fritz Wotruba. EXPLOSIVE. 1958–1975, the 21er Haus presents two artists that are closely associated with the museum next to the Schweizergarten: in 1969, Roland Goeschl celebrated his first major one-man show in the “old” 20er Haus, while Fritz Wotruba’s estate has permanently been on view here since November 2011 within “Wotruba at the 21er Haus”. “Roland Goeschl numbers among the most outstanding reformers of sculpture in Austria. That is why we are thrilled to start the first special exhibition of ‘Wotruba at the 21er Haus’ with him,” says Agnes Husslein-Arco, the Belvedere’s director. “As the Fritz Wotruba Private Foundation, which is accommodated in the most crucial museum of Austrian art, we intend to illuminate Wotruba’s œuvre from ever new perspectives. The juxtaposition with the great sculptor Roland Goeschl offers an opportunity of not only encountering one of the most important exponents of the Austrian post-war avant-garde, but also of rediscovering his teacher,” adds Wilfried Seipel, chairman of the Fritz Wotruba Private Foundation.

Roland Goeschl: Polychrome Sculptures and Cubist Abstractions

More than fifty works are on display, 27 of which derive from a generous donation Roland Goeschl made to the Belvedere in 2011. Divided into several sections, the show initially concentrates on Goeschl’s early period: having studied under Wotruba, he started out by investigating the human body. Following a stay in London in 1962, the Salzburg-born artist discovered polychrome sculpture, and the signal colours red, blue, and yellow were to become his signature. In the mid-1960s, Goeschl radicalized his notion of sculpture and expanded his works into architectural structures: through his explorations of urban space, percent-for-art programmes, façade solutions, and his ‘dumpings’ in public places, Goeschl merged the opposites of ‘figure and architecture’ in new spatial constellations.

Goeschl/Wotruba: Related in Terms of Ideas

“In the late 1960s, Goeschl began decomposing his figures into geometric forms as if they were building blocks and put them together again in a different way. At the same time, he was working in public space, building walk-in sculptures and encouraging visitors of exhibitions to participate by interpreting his sculptures,” says Harald Krejci, the exhibition’s curator. Although Goeschl left his former teacher Wotruba’s more purist approaches far behind in terms of form, the exhibition illustrates that the two sculptors were nevertheless related in terms of ideas. “Wotruba created figures referring to architectural elements as early as the 1950s. He used his work for stage designs to radicalize his sculptural approach, which ultimately found its expression in the Church of the Holy Trinity in the 1970s, a sculptural architectural structure,” Krejci points out.

The exhibition addresses Wotruba’s handling of Modernist movements, such as Constructivism and Concrete Art, and presents what are probably Goeschl’s most well-known works: the legendary Humanic commercial spots from the 1970s. As a commercial artist, the artist designed the company’s eventually famous logotype and the façade of the Humanic building in Vienna’s tenth district, Favoriten, (1976), as well as the façade of a huge tile emporium in Vösendorf (1978).