Since the foundation of the mumok collection in 1959 the museum has brought together around 10,000 works by around 1,600 artists. 55 Dates invites you to encounter 55 of these works—in the form of “blind dates” with art. A first encounter and a visual impression is available by means of the book 55 Dates,which aims to be an exhibition in book form. The more physical experience resting on the relationship between object and viewer in the gallery only comes later. This is a radical reversal of the traditional order of things, as here we are not developing a catalogue to accompany an exhibition, but rather an exhibition that derives from a catalogue.
55 Dates is no typical collection catalogue, since the objects are presented by Jakob Lena Knebl in her own expressive and sensual way that playfully transforms our pleasures in seeing and exploring and in physical encounter. The works are removed from their specific art-historical anchors and no longer seen as documentary illustrations of a collecting history, but rather as auratic objects with very individual power.
55 Dates is also a collection exhibition that takes our encounter with the objects out of the two-dimensionality of a book and into the exhibition gallery, making a paper universe a three-dimensional reality. Here we present artworks not along the lines of the traditional gaze but as a diverse simultaneity of ways of thinking, themes, and artistic media. The selection of works ranges from Paul Klee, Giacomo Balla, and Pablo Picasso to Andy Warhol, and brings together in one space such different approaches as Anna Artaker, Cosima von Bonin, Günter Brus, Friedl Dicker, VALIE EXPORT, Marta Hoepffner, Ed Paschke, and many more. 55 Dates presents a mix of individual preferences and interests, of the well and the lesser known, showing works by artists that have entered into art history and by others who are still to be discovered. Both the publication and the exhibition highlight that art history is not an objective narrative but rather directed and influenced by its protagonists. Neither book nor exhibition can depict the entirety of the mumok collection, and nor do they correspond to conventional expectations of a representative overview or collection of art of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.