This, perhaps provocative question, is the point of departure for this comprehensive exhibition we would like to propose if you are visiting Salzburg until November 6th, 2016.
Anti:modern assembles work by an international cast of artists to draw a differentiated picture of modernity. The show examines numerous events and phenomena in western Austria, gathering evidence of liberal-minded attitudes and an embrace of modern life and art and tracing how such openness was subsequently buried beneath the political propaganda of the 1930s. Surveying a wide range of thematic fields and multiple genres, it lays out the manifestations and conditions of production of modern life-worlds and the consequences of intellectual and practical opposition to modern life.
When we imagine the city as a platform for modernity and progress, we think of international metropolitan centers like New York, Berlin, Paris, and Vienna. With the inauguration of the Empress Elisabeth Railway in the nineteenth century, Salzburg was increasingly connected to the network of Europe’s major cities. The growing town attracted conventions of international scientists and scholars such as the first International Psychoanalytical Congress in 1908 and was home to private scientific laboratories like the one established by the Exner family. The Salzburg Festival is widely regarded as a crucial source of fresh impulses for the arts, both in Austria and abroad. Among the less well-known and surprising examples of cultural initiative in 1920s Salzburg are the International Society for Contemporary Music and the Elizabeth and Isadora Duncan School. The work of artists’ groups and local women activists demonstrate the growing presence of progressive thinking and democratic processes.
But the exhibition does not draw a veil over conservative and traditionalist tendencies and efforts to enlist the arts for political purposes in the 1930s. Obliteration and expulsion as well as forms of aesthetic and political exile are important themes, raising the question of how the way was paved for the return of modernity after 1945. Interspersed between the chapters showcasing historic art and materials are selected works by international artists including Alice Creischer/Andreas Siekmann, Renée Green, Hans Haacke, Oliver Ressler, Gerhard Richter, Isa Rosenberger, and Franz West that consider various thematic aspects from a contemporary angle.
7/23/2016 – 11/6/2016
To enjoy the exhibition and to create something special you should take the elevator up to the Museum der Moderne and enjoy a walk downhill with great views over Salzburg and the Hohensalzburg Fortress after the exhibition.