Exhibition | Olafur Eliasson: Baroque Baroque

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on November 22, 2015


Olafur Eliasson, Wishes versus Wonders, 2015, as installed at the Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy, Vienna,  2015
Photo by Anders Sune Berg

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Press release for the exhibition now on view in Vienna’s Winter Palace:

Olafur Eliasson: Baroque Baroque
Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy, Vienna, 21 November 2015 — 6 March 2016

With works from Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), Vienna and Juan & Patricia Vergez private collections, Buenos Aires

Olafur Eliasson: Baroque Baroque brings together a significant selection of artworks by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson from the private collections of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary and Juan and Patricia Vergez and presents them within the grand baroque setting of the Belvedere’s Winter Palace. The former city residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663–1736), was an important site of artistic and scientific patronage in baroque Vienna. Baroque Baroque is an encounter between artworks, aesthetics, and worldviews from two vastly different epochs. The exhibition challenges viewers’ habits of perception and proposes that reality can be understood as unstable and evolving, as a process of constant negotiation. Surprising affinities between Eliasson’s works and their temporary settings become evident as the juxtapositions explore the relationships between object and viewer, representation and experience, actual and virtual, giving rise to a concept of the baroque superimposed on itself—the Baroque Baroque.


Olafur Eliasson, Seu planeta compartilhado (Your shared planet), 2011, as installed at the Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy, Vienna in 2015. Photo by Anders Sune Berg.

While emphasizing the way spaces are constructed by history and tradition, Eliasson’s works address the viewer in her embodied experience. Through the use of projections, shadows, and reflections, the artworks foreground the relationship between body, perception, and image. They anchor agency in the body and mind in motion as they invite the viewer’s active engagement by mirroring, fragmenting, and inverting her position within space.

Eliasson says, “I find it inspiring that the baroque exhibited such confidence in the fluidity of the boundaries between models of reality and, simply, reality. The presentation of my works at the Winter Palace is based on trust in the possibility of constructing reality according to our shared dreams and desires and on faith in the idea that constructions and models are as real as anything.”

TBA21 Founder, Francesca von Habsburg says: “This exhibition brings together several elements that I think support the vision of collectors and their responsibility as well as their ability to create art projects that defy traditional categorization. Both Patricia and Juan Vergez and I have been collecting and supporting Olafur Eliasson for many years with great enthusiasm, as he is indeed a renaissance man of many talents! In this presentation we wanted to introduce a parallel, that Olafur himself has mirrored in the exhibition rooms, that juxtaposes the precious Baroque cultural heritage of Vienna with the work of an artist that I feel very close to.”

In the entrance Vestibule, the light installation Die organische und kristalline Beschreibung (1996) floods the walls, floor, and ceiling with swelling washes of blue and yellow light, an ocean of color that loosens the viewer’s sense of the stability of her environment. In Yellow corridor (1997), monofrequency light is used to heighten the precariousness of our relationship to visible space. Eliasson’s optical machines and installations—such as Kaleidoscope (2001), New Berlin Sphere (2009), Your welcome reflected (2003), and Seu planeta compartilhado (Your shared planet, 2011)—reflect the artist’s ongoing investigations of color, perception, transformation, and deconstruction, an inquiry that is particularly interesting in relation to the baroque context. A site-specific intervention in the form of a continuous mirror traversing the enfilade of grand rooms further disorients the viewer by folding and re-folding the complex spaces it produces. Wishes versus wonders (2015), a steel half-ring mounted to the mirror wall in the Hall of Battle Paintings, stages an encounter between reality, illusion, and the elaborate artifice of the surroundings, simultaneously multiplying lines of potentiality.

Within this terrain of doubling and paradox, Eliasson calls into question our received habits of seeing and experiencing space. His artworks make us wonder and reconsider, giving meaning to the enigmatic doubling inherent in Baroque Baroque.

Belvedere–The Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy
Prince Eugene’s Winter Palace [begun in 1697] is one of the most magnificent baroque edifices in Vienna and is the fourth exhibition venue of the Belvedere Museum. Originally built as a lavish urban residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663–1736), then acquired in the eighteenth century by Empress Maria Theresa before being used for the Court Treasury and later as the Ministry of Finance, this baroque palace underwent extensive renovation before reopening as a public museum in October 2013. Since then the Belvedere has staged numerous exhibitions at the Winter Palace, placing particular emphasis on programs and projects that create a dialogue between the baroque setting and contemporary art. Artistic interventions result in inspiring new artworks created in situ that draw on the palace’s unique ambiance and history. Vital starting points have been the city palace’s architecture, the prince’s former collections, and the holdings of the Belvedere.

On Site | The Fritz Lugt Collection (Paris) and the Pars Museum (Shiraz)

Posted in on site by Editor on November 22, 2015

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From the November issue of WoI:

Valérie Lapierre, with photographs by Roland Beaufre, “Dutch Originals: The Frits Lugt Collection,” The World of Interiors (November 2015), pp. 108–17.

A connoisseur like no other, Frits Lugt was just 15 when he bought his first Rembrandt sketch (he’d already written a book). Fifty years on, he opened the Fondation Custodia in Paris [housed in the eighteenth-century Hôtel Turgot], so that generations of experts and laymen alike could share his collection of Golden Age art for free. With brocatelle-lined walls and Vermeer-inspired floors, it’s ‘the place to see drawings in Paris’, as Valérie Lapierre learns.

More information is available from the Fondation Custodia.

Marie-France Boyer, with photographs by Olivia Froudkine, “Splendour in the Grass: The Pars Museum,” The World of Interiors (November 2015), pp. 152–59.

The garden of Nazar (meaning ‘dazzling’) in the Iranian city of Shiraz is home to the jewel-like Pars Museum. Decorated with vibrant panels of tiles, this octagonal pavilion incorporates a sparkling collection of pottery, glassware and bronze work. It also houses the tomb of an enlightened ruler who oversaw an era of urban development and artistic outpouring.


Pars Museum of Shiraz, Iran, The octagonal structure, called the Kolah Farangi (‘foreign hat’) was built by Karim Khan Zand (ca. 1705–79), who is buried there (Photo: Wikimedia Commons, February 2013).

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From the Wikipedia entry for the Pars Museum:

The Pars Museum is a museum in Shiraz, Fars Province, southern Iran and is located in Nazar Garden. The octagonal building was the place in which royal guests were hosted during the Zand dynasty of Iran. It was also used for holding official ceremonies. It is also the burial place of Karim Khan Zand.

The old Nazar Garden was one of the largest gardens of Shiraz during the Safavid rule (1501–1722). During Zand dynasty (1750–1794) Karim Khan built an octagon structure which was called Kolah Farangi. It was used to receive and entertain foreign guests and ambassadors and hold official ceremonies. In 1936 the pavilion became a museum. It was the first museum which was located outside the capital city of Tehran. The brick designs, tiling, pictures and big stone dadoes are among the architectural features of the building. . . .

New Acquisitions | Pair of 18th-Century Silver Sculptures at Mia

Posted in museums by Editor on November 22, 2015

Now on view at Mia:

The Archangels Saint Michael and Saint Raphael: A Pair of 18th-Century Silver Sculptures
Minneapolis Institute of Art, 14 November 2015 — 3 January 2016

Giuseppe Sanmartino, Saint Raphael with Tobias, his Dog, and the Fish, c. 1780 27 × 17 × 12 inches; The Archangel Saint Michael in Triumph, c. 1780 33 × 14 × 14 inches, Silver, gilt bronze (Minneaplis Institute of Art, Gift of Al and Mary Agnes McQuinn 2015.24.1,2)

Giuseppe Sanmartino, Saint Raphael with Tobias, his Dog, and the Fish, c. 1780, 27 inches high; The Archangel Saint Michael in Triumph, c. 1780, 33 inches high, silver, gilt bronze (Minneapolis Institute of Art, 2015.24.1,2)

A pair of two silver statues by Neapolitan artist Giuseppe Sanmartino (1720–93), donated to the museum by long-time trustees Al and Mary Agnes McQuinn, marks one of the most important additions to Mia’s silver collection. Executed with amazing detail, the statues testify to a devotion to the two Archangels, an act that goes back to the Early Christian period and continues to flourish in Southern Italy (as well as in the Greek and Russian Orthodox churches) to the present day. Throughout Christianity, Saint Michael and Saint Raphael are venerated for their healing powers. The exhibition celebrates the acquisition of these unique masterpieces, without peer in any American museum collection, and whose only comparables remain in Italian churches.

Exhibition | The Jane Austen Reading Room

Posted in exhibitions by Editor on November 22, 2015

Now on view at Mia:

Living Rooms: The Jane Austen Reading Room
Minneapolis Institute of Art, 21 November 2015 — 26 June 2016

Living Rooms Project; project to reinterpret the period rooms at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts; Department of Decorative Arts, Textiles and Sculpture; Jennifer Komar Olivarez, curator-in-charge

This installation situates Jane Austen in a unique period room setting. Taking up two of Mia’s well-loved English interiors—the Queen Anne room and the Georgian Drawing room—this display will discuss Austen’s habits as a reader and writer, recreate scenes from her novel Emma (celebrating its 200th birthday in 2015), and invite museum visitors to read works that Austen read, wrote, or inspired. This project is part of Living Rooms, an initiative to present Mia’s historic interiors and decorative arts collections in new ways.

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