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Alfred Hrdlicka

A Collection curated by Peter Baum

The Existential Situation of Man

He is a truth-fanatic whose creative process knows neither compromise nor tabu. For over half a century, Alfred Hrdlicka, the wiry, sensitive berserker, has persued - committed, brave, and upright with no desire to conform - the path outlined for him by his moral stance and artistic credo. With unique artistic versatility, full of tension and verve and always concious of the relationship between politics and art, he pays contemporary and at the same time timeless tribute to sculpture, drawing, painting, etching and lithographs, his art "dedicated to the object and the human figure, as well as to man as the regulating starting-point of all artistic creation".

This expressionistic boxer with a quick eye and a precise punch has always scored high, but he has also always known how to maintain fairness and endurance during artistic developments and contests whose opportunties, fashions and pluralisms Hrdlicka knew how to survive. Long recognised internationally, Hrdlicka is beloved and irreplaceable as a teacher, commentator and a truely-Viennese,, difficult-to-restrain talk-show guest, a prime example of a someone with whom the Austrian public has a love-hate relationship - in this comparable only to Thomas Bernhard.

In the Field of Tension of Private Collections

The views of Viennese collections, differing both in structure and size, and adapted to the size and order of the rooms in the Palais Harrach, offer an exciting essay on Alfred Hrdlicka. Encompassing fourty years, this exhibition curated by Peter Baum confronts the viewer not only with famous masterpieces (bronzes and large paintings) but also with small, sensitively hung graphic ensembles - an "all-over" of the 73-year old artist and his collaboration with the Viennese gallery owner, Ernst Hilger, that has lasted over two decades.

Vital sections of the show will illustrate the ability of partnership, love of collecting, and personal relationships based on mutual respect to provoke, and to aid the understanding of such an impressive oeuvre. The exhibition will also document Hrdlicka?s ceaseless agitation and education work.

All those involved in putting this show together are united by their decade-long personal involvement with the work of an artist whose whole subjectivity is directed towards searching for truth and depicting it in his work - something which provokes controversy per se.

Over 200 works make it a somewhat-different Hrdlicka exhibit and the result of what is, without claiming to be a complete retrospective, the essence of the artist.


15 January 2002
to 28 February 2002

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