What is beauty anyway? How do we know what to like? Why does the ideal of beauty change over time? This year’s VIENNA ART WEEK addresses precisely these questions – the same ones scientists and philosophers have been asking for thousands of years. True to the motto “Seeking Beauty,” top-class guests will set off on a quest for beauty, questioning trends and illuminating the dark side of aesthetics in four lectures accompanied by performances. First up is French body-artist ORLAN, who famously had her body surgically altered to reflect art historical ideals of beauty, thereby transforming it into a symbol of perfectionism. Mark Evans, curator at the London Victoria and Albert Museum, will talk about the significance of classical beauty ideals in paintings by Raphael, John Constable and Sandro Botticelli, which have strongly influenced artists to this day, including the likes of Pablo Picasso and Cindy Sherman.
Social change may be reflected in beauty ideals, but it becomes even more apparent in fashion trends: Germany’s most glamorous literature professor Barbara Vinken loves Kleist, Flaubert – and clothes! She will explain how to read styles as seismographs of society. Dejana Kabiljo, founder of the Austrian design label Kabiljo Inc., knows that true beauty leaves room for vulnerability and bad habits. In her “sculptress performance with happy ending,” German-Austrian artist-performer Elisabeth von Samsonow acts as a sculpture that gets spruced up and “corrected” according to her own ideas. Austrian dancer Doris Uhlich, by contrast, will transfigure contradictory ideals of physicality: in her performance “Powder Dance,” she brings the Baroque era to life in her body, giving expression to its urgent desire for abundance and opulence.
Dutch performance artist Krõõt Juurak and Vienna-based French choreographer Anne Juren’s performance “Look Look” satirizes the unwritten laws of fashion and the narcissism it entails with plenty of humor and a pinch of irony. Last but not least, artist Elisa Rose and composer Gary Danner (aka “STATION ROSE”) will perform “Das digitale Schöne,” addressing the burning question as to what extent technological development affects our notion of beauty.
In her “sculptress performance with happy ending,” German-Austrian artist-performer Elisabeth von Samsonow acts as a sculpture that gets spruced up and “corrected” according to her own ideas. Austrian dancer Doris Uhlich, by contrast, will transfigure contradictory ideals of physicality: in her performance “Powder Dance,” she brings the Baroque era to life in her body, giving expression to its urgent desire for abundance and opulence.
program 2–8/9 p.m.
Christoph Thun-Hohenstein (Director MAK Wien)
Robert Punkenhofer (Artistic Director, VIENNA ART WEEK)
artist and founder of Carnal Art, born in France, now lives and works in Los Angeles, New York and Paris
(performativer lecture / FR)
Elisabeth von Samsonow
German-Austrian artist and philosopher, professor at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
DISLIKE MYSELF TERROR ACT/ WANT MYSELF BEAUTIFUL DESIRE SCULPT
curator at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London
„To express the beautiful in visible form“: past masters and present concerns
(lecture / EN)
Krõõt Juurak (Estonia, lives in Vienna) and Anne Juren (France, lives in Vienna), choreographers, performance artists
Barbara Vinken: “Beauty after Hegel’s end of art?”
professor of literary studies at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
(Lecture / DE)
Doris Uhlich in cooperation with Dj Boris Kopeinig
Upper Austria, choreographer and performance artist
Seismic Dancer (Performance)
(Lecture / EN)
Dejana Kabiljo: BEAUTY / what if it would kill you?
artist duo founded in 1988 by video-, media-, and performance artists Elisa Rose and Gary Danner, both from Linz
Das Digitale Schöne
In German, English and French