Cooperation between the Sofia City Art Gallery and one of Europe’s most interesting and active museums, namely the MUMOK in Vienna is a remarkable undertaking, which is a powerful indication of SCAG intentions and ambitions. The long-term cooperation project sets out to present several large-scale exhibitions following the development of modern art between the 1960’s and the present day.
“Viennese actionism” is the first exhibition in the said series. This is the most emblematic Austrian movement, which, though very short-lived (1960-1971), had a significant impact on the international development of avant-garde, making the notion of the latter a much more inclusive one. The movement fights against conservative values in both art and life, opposing the conventional genres of painting, sculpture and drawing by highlighting direct work in space with the human body, as well as with various liquids and objects. Actions by representatives of the movement violate a number of taboos in an attempt to gain more genuine experience of both physical and mental reality. Other means of expression, besides performances, are film and photography.
Artists Günter Brus, Otto Mühl, Hermann Nitsch and Rudolf Schwarzkogler are the major representatives of Viennese Actionism and it is their work that the exhibition focuses on. It also features works by world-famous artists such as Jackson Pollock, Emilio Vedova and Yves Klein, who herald Viennese Actionism in their attempts to move away from conventional styles in painting. The exhibition also features works by Marina Abramovic, Vito Acconci, VALIE EXPORT, Yoko Ono, Carolee Schneemann, whose actions are reminiscent of Viennese actionists’ critical tone with regard to social, political and artistic issues.
The exhibition features 61 works, including photographs, prints, videos, paintings. Exhibition catalogue in Bulgarian and English is also available.