The exhibition Utopia Gesamtkunstwerk presents a contemporary perspective of the historical idea of the total work of art. With appropriate scepticism, artists have undertaken to review this legendary figure of thought, thereby casting a critical eye on the history of Modernism: with the upheaval caused by the avant-garde after 1918 and the work theories developed by Schwitters, Duchamp, or Artaud, a holistic and socially critical way of thinking set in as a relevant force.
The idea of the Gesamtkunstwerk, originally a purely aesthetic concept, underwent a redefinition aimed at a renewal of society through an art that was critical of the latter’s mechanisms and institutions.
Social developments like neo-liberalization, standardization, and
functionalization, but also the political reorganization after the fall of the Iron Curtain or the events of 9/11 have an impact on today’s social dynamics and cause feelings of insecurity. The desire to improve life in our society and the question of what models of living are still or again possible today are therefore also increasingly in the focus of artistic interest.
In Utopia Gesamtkunstwerk, over 50 national and international positions explore art after 1960 as to the possibilities and impossibilities of reinterpreting the remaining fragments of the notion of Gesamtkunstwerk.
A comprehensive display, conceived by the artist Esther Stocker for Utopia Gesamtkunstwerk, serves as a stage for works by Marc Adrian, Klaus Auderer, Josef Bauer, Joseph Beuys, Monica Bonvicini, Christian Boltanski, Marcel Broodthaers, Günter Brus, Daniel Buren, Tom Burr, Ernst Caramelle, Bernhard Cella, Cityrama, Heinz Emigholz, VALIE EXPORT, Claire Fontaine, Peter Friedl, gelatin, Inspection Medical Hermeneutics (Pavel Pepperstein, Sergej Anufriew), Isa Genzken, Liam Gillick, Franz Graf, Thomas Hirschhorn, Julia Hohenwarter, Hans Hollein, Christian Jankowski, Ilya Kabakov, Tillman Kaiser, Jean Kalman, Ian Kiaer, Friedrich Kiesler, Martin Kippenberger, Mahony, Gordon Matta-Clark, Ralo Mayer, Paul McCarthy, Jonathan Meese, Hermann Nitsch, Oswald Oberhuber, Hermann Painitz, Seb Patane, Helga Philipp, Walter Pichler, Marjetica Potrc, Jason Rhoades, Thiago Rocha Pitta, Gerwald Rockenschaub, Constanze Ruhm, Gerhard Rühm, Markus Schinwald, Jörg Schlick, Christoph Schlingensief, Gregor Schneider, SUPERFLEX, Una Szeemann, Peter Weibel, Franz West, WochenKlausur, Fritz Wotruba, Heimo Zobernig and others.