Gallery Run: Getting Grafik

Michaela Polacek’s graphic imagination adorns the walls of the Ankerbrotfabrik | Photo: Atelier 10

Lech Majewski displays Poland’s postermaking tradition at Visegrafiken+ | Photo: Visegrafiken

The group called Graphikkinder: The children of old-school printmaking | Photo: Graphikkinder

The Künstlerhaus announced its third “Monat der Grafik” this past April, triggering a series of exhibitions across Vienna. While some came and went quickly, a few are still up and well worth a visit. Grafik is a broad term covering a lot of territory. What emerged from my quest was a definition that goes way beyond its English equivalents, “graphic”, “graphics”, “graphic art”, or “graphic design”, and the discovery of very different groups that make up Grafik.



Lech Majewski displays Poland’s postermaking tradition at Visegrafiken+

Lech Majewski displays Poland’s postermaking tradition at Visegrafiken+ | Photo: Visegrafiken

The Visegrád Four refers to the alliance of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland, and its name stems from a meeting of the kings of those areas held in Visegrád in the 14th century. This name was taken over by the group of Grafik teachers who came together to feature their art there this month.

The sheer variety of formats that were used for this exhibition attests to the huge range of techniques that fall under the term Grafik: digital 3D prints, offset prints, aluminium prints, silkscreen prints, woodblock prints, etc. This showcase opens one’s eyes to the myriad possibilities of Grafik.

Some of the more striking works are the posters of Lech Majewski, who teaches Grafik at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. The refined art of poster-making holds a special place in Poland, where posters, which were considered an art form and therefore immune to censorship, provided a unique opportunity for artists to covertly criticise the former communist regime. Through Sept. 13.


Galerie Ungart-Collegium Hungaricum Wien

2., Hollandstrasse 4

Mon-Thu 10:00 – 18:00

Fri 10:00 – 14:00

(01) 214 05810


Kleibel Neuhauser Polacek

Michaela Polacek’s graphic imagination adorns the walls of the Ankerbrotfabrik

Michaela Polacek’s graphic imagination adorns the walls of the Ankerbrotfabrik | Photo: Atelier 10

Atelier 10, one of the new galleries located in the former Ankerbrotfabrik art hub, is not your typical art space. Founded by Caritas and led by Florian Reese, formerly at the Gugging Museum, Atelier 10 exists to support “those artists whose social preconditions do not allow them to navigate within the mainstream art world.” These mainly self-taught artists are invited to use the workspaces to develop their skills and realise their artistic potential.

The gallery’s current exhibition asks the question, “Was kann Grafik?” For Reese, Grafik seems to be about graphic methods and their unique application to what might be otherwise termed drawing. Due to the artists’ circumstances and approaches, Grafik seems to be a more suitable term, as the artists “expand the characteristics of graphic composition in very unique ways”.

After leaving her 9 to 5 corporate job and recovering from an illness, one of the featured artists, Michaela Polacek began “drawing” – and has not stopped since. Now she spends eight or more hours a day in the studio, sometimes on her hands and knees on the floor, using a radiograph pen to form intricate patterns that expand into giant virus-like shapes.
Through Oct. 4.


Atelier 10

10., Puchsbaumgasse 1c/5/5

Mon – Fri 9.00 – 17.00 

(01) 64 11 281


Der Zustand

Sometimes artists have to work within the limitations they are given, which can lead them in unexpected, but not unwelcome, directions. The latest exhibition from a young group of artists called “Graphikkinder”, “Der Zustand”, was inspired by circumstances the artists had to initially accept, but eventually embraced. Recruited to create an exhibition for the Renner Institut, the SPÖ headquarters, the group was at first reluctant, as they hold no particular political affiliation. When shown the exhibition space, they were then informed that they had to work within the framework, literally — using existing actual picture-frames already mounted on the wall.

They not only met the challenge, they used the experience to determine the theme of the project, hence, “Der Zustand”: the condition. Each artist created individual works addressing this theme, ranging from contemplative to boldly provocative. Contents of a purse emptied onto a copier, the copied image made into a silkscreen print, reflected Katherina Trieb’s everyday emotional state. Perhaps most inventive was the last set of works, Daniel Karner’s gigantic offset print of a photographed penis, divided up among the last three frames, a playful reference to the Zustand of “prostituting” oneself for art.

The group formed after becoming friends as students at the Wiener Kunstschule and today see themselves as “children of old-school printmaking”, combining time-honoured manual methods with a modern aesthetic. Their take on the term “Grafik” sent me to the Duden dictionary, which describes it as any kind of reproducible image. But spelling their name with a “ph” instead of the neue Rechtsschreibung “f” is intentional: “We prefer the old-school spelling.” And the Old School.



12., Khleslplatz 12

Mon – Thu 8:00 – 17:00

Fri 8:00 -13:00

(01) 804 65 01-0


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