Visionary Spaces. Walter Pichler meets Frederick Kiesler

in a display by Sonia Leimer

For all their differences, the oeuvres of Frederick Kiesler (1890 – 1965) and Walter Pichler (1936 – 2012) are based on a similar approach to questioning the relationship between humans and their surroundings. The two artists’ visionary ideas of spatial sculptures derive from the freedom of their trans-disciplinary thinking and creativity.

Although Pichler was born almost half a century after Kiesler and the two lived on different continents, they did meet each other in person – in 1963 in New York. That was at a time when Pichler was decisively influencing the international debate on the future of building and housing, a discussion that was closely bound up with the critique of post-War functionalism. Kiesler and his transdisciplinary approach were re-discovered, as it were, and he became a key point of reference for the Austrian art and architecture scene.

Taking the two artists’ meeting as its starting point, the exhibition explores the overlap between them in terms of content such as how the two delved into utopian architecture, principles of organic form, perception, spirituality, performativity, and design. In so doing, it underscores the visionary qualities of their respective avant-garde proposals and thus encourages the fruitful application of their ideas to current issues.

Based on her own works, artist Sonia Leimer (born 1977) has developed a display for the encounter of these two distinctive oeuvres. Her mutable sculptural objects serve as walls, plinths, and interfaces within the gallery spaces. By overcoming the customary division of sculpture and architecture the objects draw on the artistic practice of both Kiesler and Pichler.


An exhibition of the Belvedere, Vienna, in cooperation with the Kunstmuseen Krefeld.

Curated by Verena Gamper.
Assistant Curator: Anna Ewa Dyrko

#WalterPichler #FriedrichKiesler #SoniaLeimer


Biographies of the Artists

In cooperation with