A.E.I.O.U. From Klimt to Hausner to Wurm – Austrian art in the Würth Collection at Art Forum Würth Capena

The exhibition “A.E.I.O.U. From Klimt to Hausner to Wurm – Austrian Art in the Würth Collection “, opens at the Art Forum Würth Capena, one of the 15 exhibition spaces of the Würth Group, after presentation at the Würth Museum in Künzelsau in 2013.

On display are a wide selection of paintings, graphics and sculptures by over thirty artists, starting with Gustav Klimt, Oskar Kokoschka, Rudolf Ribarz, Carl Fahringer, through the vast Austrian artistic production of the twentieth century, with figures such as Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Rudolf Hausner, Hermann Nitsch, Arnulf Rainer, Alfred Haberpointner, Alfred Hrdlicka, Peter Pongratz, as well as younger members such as Erwin Wurm, Markus Redl and Markus Hofer.

Austrian art enjoys a privileged position in the Würth Collection, today representing one of the most extensive private collection of works by Austrian artists outside Austria.

There is also a special relationship between Professor Dr. h. c. mult. Reinhold Würth and Salzburg, the place he chose as his second residence and which in 2015 awarded him the “Ring”, in recognition of the many cultural activities he supported, including the “Walk of Modern Art”, a series of sculptures exhibited at various points of the city (including works by Kiefer, Mario Merz, Abramovic, Balkenhol, Plensa, Cragg and Wurm) and the sculpture park at Schloβ Arenberg, home of the AAF (the American Austrian Foundation).

In addition, one of the Group’s exhibition spaces, the Art Room Würth Austria, has been on display in Böheimkirchen, at the gates of Vienna since 1999.

The title “A.E.I.O.U” takes a wink at the mystical motto that Emperor Frederick III inserted in his coat of arms, inscriptions, inventories and the buildings he had commissioned in the fifteenth century. A recent interpretation translates the title: “Austria Europae Imago, Onus, Unio” as Austria: image, onus and union of Europe. The description of this transalpine country as mirror of Europe may well be reflected in art, in consideration of Austria’s enormous contribution to modernity by the specificity of the mid-European feeling in visual arts, literature, music and psychoanalysis. This mysterious motto which has never been completely clarified draws attention to a country which has often played a central role in European history, as confirmed by the recent presidential elections.

Despite its autonomous position, the Austrian art evolution is always to be perceived in relation to major international trends.

In the early twentieth century, influenced by European artistic currents of the time, the Viennese Secession aimed at becoming an independent development of the Jugendstil and aspired to renew its traditional conception of art. In addition, French Impressionism influenced many artists such as Eugen Jettel, Rudolf Ribarz and Otto von Thoren. Even in Austria the Second World War resulted in the birth of a new artistic trend. Sculptor Wotruba left a lasting mark in Austrian sculpture and Hoflehner and Hrdlicka trained in his school.

After World War II, the Art Club of Vienna became a benchmark for artists ranging from surrealist to abstract: a meeting place for cultural exchange.

Among the experiences of the early 1960s the research of the pioneers of Viennese Actionism, Brus, Nitsch, Muehl and Schwarzkogler, whose performances were often deemed obscene or illegal by the police, aroused strong reactions and scandal.

In 1968 artists such as Pongratz, Ringel and Kocherscheidt presented themselves to the public under the name of “Wirklichkeiten” (reality), thus bringing the idiom of Austrian painting to a fresh start, which reached its zenith in the 1980s in the “triumph of painting” (Dieter Ronte) with the “New Wild Ones” (Neuen Wilden).

The Würth Collection has dedicated monographic exhibitions in its venues to some of the artists on display including Damisch, Haberpointner, Rudolf Hausner, Xenia Hausner, Hridlicka, Hundertwasser and Rainer.

There have been diverse participations in various editions of the Venice Biennale (e.g. Fronius, Anzinger, Rainer, Wurm and Zitko), as well as important points of contact with Italy, closely linked for example to Hermann Nitsch. His historical art dealer Giuseppe Morra inaugurated the Nitsch Musem in Naples in 2008 and, in Torrita Tiberina not far from Capena, the Mario & Maria Pia Serpone Foundation built the Nitsch Chapel anew in 2012, where some of the artist’s works are on permanent display.

Hradil, who is present in the exhibition with two paintings, won a scholarship from the Austrian Cultural Forum in Rome in 1963, while sculptors Hoflehner (who died in 1955) and Redl, attracted by the Tuscan plastic tradition, both chose the region as one of the sites for their studios, respectively at Colle Val d’Elsa and Carrara.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue by the editor Siridoff