Leibovitz, Tshirtner and Kaiser

At the Galleries: Dec. 2009/Jan. 2010

Annie Leibovitz: A Photographer’s Life 

Kunsthaus Wien is a peculiar realm of angular and distorted surfaces coupled with primeval earthliness.  Annie Leibovitz’s representations of the circle of life mingle in perfectly into the aboriginal environment of the museum.  In addition to her portraits of famous personages, familial photographs from Leibovitz’s private life are also on display, resulting in a unique array of compositions, which are sediments of family albums, diaries, and assignment work. Annie Leibovitz’s photographs for magazines have chronicled American popular culture since the 1970s. Her renowned portraits of entertainers and politicians are the focal point of the exhibition.

Leibovitz’s shots of Bill Clinton, Condoleezza Rice, and Hillary Clinton reflect her adamance for political stories. She seems to communicate that politicians are mere puppets on strings and we get the feeling that Leibovitz’s subjects are posed; simply performers on stage who create conflicts and emanate loneliness, sadness, and discomfort.

The photographer’s personal photographs are the most intimate; the subjects are more honest, with less poise and strut. They tell the best story as they turn to the camera with an open heart. For this reason these images are strikingly astounding and bewildering at the same time.

These familial pictures are not impeccable compositions. Instead, they depict factual segments of peoples’ lives.

Kunsthaus Wien
Oct. 30 – 31 Jan. 31
Daily 10:00-19:00
3., Untere Weißgerberstraße 13
(01) 712 04 95


Duo! Anton Dobay and Oswald Tschirtner

A work by Oswald Tschirtner, depicting his linear and laconic look | Photo: Galerie Gugging

Even though Museum and Gallery Gugging are situated on the outskirts of Vienna, it is worth the trip as it has been newly restored and expanded. Upon visiting this institution, one will truly enter a different dimension. The House of Artists, a building set atop a hill neighboring the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods), is magical place that has been housing Gugging artists since 1981. Currently, the house accomodates nine residents, seven of which are artistically active. However, due to the chronic psychiatric illness and mental disability of its inhabitants, the house is structured as a social care center. At present, the museum’s temporary exhibition is showcasing two great Art Brut representatives: Anton Dobay and Oswald Tschirtner.

Anton Dobay was taken into neuro-psychiatric care after he suffered a stroke at the age of 65. The psychologist Dr. Navratil was captivated by Dobay’s use of vivid sketches. After his stroke, Dobay was incapable of deciphering the meaning of words; therefore he turned to art. His frolic with shapes and forms compensate for his dysfunction in verbal communication as he captures elementary, yet universal quintessence in a naive, but very sagacious manner.

Oswald Tschirtner was a prisoner of war released from captivity in the 1950s. Dr. Navratil propelled Tschirtner to draw out of diagnostic interest, thereby perfecting his technique. Tschirtner’s graphics are linear and laconic; composed of vertical and horizontal lines in ink, quill, and marker. His creations are deceptive, dressed up in humor and sarcasm. While his material is entertaining, the audience often has a hard time decoding or encoding the contents of his work as it is so condensed and at times even evasive. But this is the beauty of it all.

Galerie Gugging
Through Mar. 14
Tuesday – Saturday  10:00 – 17:00
Am Campus 2, 3400 Maria Gugging
0 2243 / 87 087 381


Leander Kaiser: Geste und Konstrukt

Leander Kaiser is the contemporary Schiele without the angularity. His pastel paintings envisage children clothes-less in the sterile environment of what seems like a hospital. Interestingly, the images are not melancholic, but antithetically, quite jovial. The youth seem to go about their business playfully. Kaiser was very much in his element when he managed to pull off this ingenious trick in which he combines innocence and a barren and destitute atmosphere with great success.

Galerie Elisabeth Michitsch
Nov. 18 – Jan. 2010
Monday- Friday 10:00-18 :00
Saturday 11:00-15:00
1., Opernring 7/12 (Mezzanin)
(01) 512 83 13

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