The presentation of Art Nouveau and expressive ceramics has a long tradition in our gallery. On the one hand it corresponds to the credo of the Wiener Werkstätte – the pursuit of the complete art work that unites all areas of art. Of course, ceramics should not be left out. On the other hand, it is due to our personal enthusiasm for the creative possibilities of the material ceramic.
On the occasion of a big Michael Powolny exhibition in 1990 we presented the Powolny catalogue raisonné. The work of Eduard Klablena was also honoured for the first time in the gallery in a comprehensive exhibition with a publication in 2000.
Christa Zetter discovered her passion for the expressive ceramics of the Wiener Werkstätte early on and purchased as one of the first in the 80ies large collections in the USA. Since then the ceramics of Vally Wieselthier, Gudrun Baudisch, Susi Singer and Co are a fundamental part of the gallery’s program. For a long time we had the desire to make a comprehensive, representative exhibition, which is dedicated to the outstanding ceramic work in Vienna from 1900 – 1930.
After five years of preparing, the time has come!
Once and for all, this presentation should clear up the still prevalent prejudice that ceramics as utensil or applied art should not be equated with the fine arts. Most of the art works shown are purely sculptural and testify to the creative power of the artists. The juxtaposition of the highly stylized, strictly geometrical or apparent symbolistic Art Nouveau ceramics with the expressive, boldly coloured Wiener Werkstätte ceramics is thrilling. The formal transformation of an artistic generation could hardly be any greater.
I remember a nice anecdote: One day the artist Kiki Kogelnik visited our gallery. In the conversation, Kiki mentioned that Vally Wieselthier’s typically expressive women’s heads have led her to us. This was the beginning of a long collaboration and friendship with the most important Austrian Pop Art artist.
This event shows us – art is able to bring people together and inspire them.