With this exhibition on Josef Bauer, the Belvedere 21 is showcasing a visionary approach that has hardly been recognized in the international art world. Bauer has been one of the principal protagonists of Conceptual Art in Austria since the 1960s. In the milieu of the Wiener Gruppe (Vienna Group) with the poets Gerhard Rühm, Friedrich Achleitner, and Oswald Wiener, he develops a—in the truest sense of the word—sculptural language that makes a connection between bodies and objects.
The Upper Austrian Concept Artist describes his work as “tactile poetry.” His installations, paintings, objects, and performance photographs always revolve around the question of what can be articulated with art and how. Bauer is interested in combining text, image, and writing in a single language. For him, art and exhibiting constitute an entity, a “language in the space.” To this end, the artist works with suggestion and always establishes new intersections to keep the content topical. The dual meaning of the exhibition’s title, Demonstration, refers on the one hand to the gesture of presenting, on the other to the expression of political protest—two themes that play a major role in Bauer’s oeuvre.
Curated by Harald Krejci.
In cooperation with
Josef Bauer was born on January 12, 1934, in Wels (Upper Austria) and today lives and works in Linz and Gunskirchen. As a young man he won several national pole vault championships, and he also attended business school in Wels from 1953 to 1955. In Paris – away from the museums – Bauer met artists from the American Pop Art movement. From 1956 to 1964 he studied, together with Friedrich Panzer and Hans-Peter Feldmann, at the then art school of the city of Linz. In 1968, Bauer visited the documenta in Kassel and took part in the Ergebnisse '68 exhibition at the Galerie im Griechenbeisl in Vienna. In 1970, his first solo exhibition was shown at Galerie MAERZ in Linz. In 1971, he had a solo exhibition in Vienna and took part in the neue texte exhibition at the Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz. In 1974, the artist exhibited in the Neue Galerie at the Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, and one year later took part in Kunst aus Sprache at the Museum of the 20th Century in Vienna. In 1978, Bauer established contact with the Bielefeld Colloquium Neue Poesie with the help of Gerhard Rühm. He exhibited at the Galerie nächst St. Stephan in Vienna and had a solo exhibition at the Stadtgalerie Bielefeld in 1985. Since 1994 his works have been featured in numerous solo exhibitions as well as group exhibitions at home and abroad. In 2013, he exhibited his works at the invitation of Krist Gruijthuijsen at the Grazer Kunstverein. In 2019 and 2020, Josef Bauer's first major retrospective will be on view at the Belvedere 21 and the LENTOS Kunstmuseum Linz.