2 February – 12 August 2018
To mark the artist’s 80th birthday, Belvedere 21 is dedicating a comprehensive retrospective to the oeuvre of Günter Brus.
‘In keeping with this year’s motto “Spirit of ‘68”, which underpins the overall activities of Belvedere 21 during 2018, this exhibition honors Günter Brus as the great art rebel of the 1960s. Fifty years after the radical “Kunst und Revolution” event, we show that Brus has never stopped developing and reinventing his artistic material time and again,’ according to Stella Rollig, Director General of the Belvedere and Belvedere 21.
Günther Brus is now considered one of the most important international artists in Austria. As a representative of Viennese Action Art, during the 1960s he shone a light on the powerful presence of the physical and psychological constitution of man and the exposure of the individual to social rules. With his radical, body-based and performative work, he succeeded in detaching himself from the “brand” of Viennese Action Art and going down in history as the fundamental pioneer of international action and performance art. In 1970, Günter Brus turned his back on Action Art and focused increasingly on the medium of drawing, with “pictorial poems” and theater works.
A particular highlight of the retrospective is the comprehensive presentation of the selected series. Alongside the familiar action photos, supplemented by material that has barely been exhibited to date, Brus’s serial drawings and “pictorial poems”, including the 160-part cycle Leuchtstoffpoesie und Zeichenchirurgie [Luminescence Poetry and Drawing Surgery], are shown in their entirety. A total of around 120 work cycles and works with more than 700 individual objects can be seen in the exhibition, including films and previously unknown series of works.
‘The exhibition on the upper floor of Belvedere 21 offers an overview of the artist’s entire oeuvre and makes correlations visible. Hence the theater projects, the cycles of drawings and the artist’s books, along with the early gestural painting and the familiar actions, are evidence of Brus’s radical idea of art as a consistent destruction of the artwork, or more precisely its traditional form as panel painting, ’ explains curator Harald Krejci.