After Mercedes-Benz Art Collection exhibitions in distinguished museums all over the world—New York, Karlsruhe, Detroit, Johannesburg, Tokyo, Singapore, São Paulo—the presentation in the Museum moderner Kunst in Vienna (mumok) is the second major show in Europe featuring major works from the collection. About 130 works ranging from classical Modernism and the post-war avant-garde via European Zero and Minimalism to international contemporary art are being presented. The show in the mumok includes installations and video art as well as painting and drawings. Taken together, the selected works represent the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection’s focal point in the field of abstract avant-garde work and reduced-conceptual movements from the Bauhaus to current international contemporary art.
The exhibition is structured into thematic fields, each of which presents discoursive references to historical and current positions: Bauhaus and De Stijl, Hard Edge and New Color School USA, Constructive and Concrete Tendencies, European Zero avant-garde, Minimalism and design aspects, Neo Geo and contemporary positions. The show brings together about 75 artists from roughly 20 countries, and the works cover a time span of one hundred years, from 1908 (Adolf Hölzel) to 2007 (Eva Berendes).
Classics such as Josef Albers, Oskar Schlemmer, Jean Arp, Adolf Fleischmann, Hermann Glöckner or Georges Vantongerloo are presented alongside key works or groups of works from the 1960s to the 1990s by artists including Absalon, John M Armleder, Jo Baer, Daniel Buren, André Cadere, Enrico Castellani, Gene Davis, Helmut Federle, Günter Fruhtrunk, Rupprecht Geiger, Poul Gernes, Peter Halley, Donald Judd, John McLaughlin, François Morellet, Jeremy Moon, Olivier Mosset, Julian Opie, Gerwald Rockenschaub and Heimo Zobernig.
A survey of current trends in abstract-geometrical and minimal art is provided by works from artists including Krysten Cunningham, Stéphane Dafflon, Maria Eichhorn, Liam Gillick, Nic Hess, Jim Lambie, Mathieu Mercier, Sarah Morris, Danica Phelps, Andreas Reiter Raabe, Ugo Rondinone, Tom Sachs, Pietro Sanguineti, Katja Strunz and Andreas Reiter Raabe.
As already suggested by the exhibition title—”Pictures about Pictures. Discourses in Painting”—this show is not showcasing a museum-style sequence of styles and isms. The presentation is in fact attempting to create a referential dialogue between the works and to reveal discursive links between individual formal ideas and subject matter. The intention here is to consider art history not in the sense of ‘invention’ and ‘progression’, but as an argumentative union of pictures in temporary contexts and transitional forms.