OLAFUR ELIASSON: BAROQUE BAROQUE – The Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy

OLAFUR ELIASSON: BAROQUE BAROQUE – The Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy


The Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy
November 21, 2015–March 6, 2016
Daily from 10 AM to 6 PM


With works from Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), Vienna and the Juan & Patricia Vergez collections, Buenos Aires

BAROQUE BAROQUE brings together a significant selection of artworks by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson from the private collections of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) and Juan and Patricia Vergez presenting them within the grand baroque setting of the Belvedere’s Winter Palace. The former city residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663–1736), was an important site of artistic and scientific patronage in baroque Vienna. BAROQUE BAROQUE is an encounter between artworks, aesthetics, and worldviews from two vastly different epochs. The exhibition challenges viewers’ habits of perception and proposes that reality can be understood as unstable and evolving, as a process of constant negotiation. Surprising affinities between Eliasson’s works and their temporary settings become evident as the juxtapositions explore the relationships between object and viewer, representation and experience, actual and virtual, giving rise to a concept of the baroque superimposed on itself — the BAROQUE BAROQUE. Alongside these works, new site-specific interventions activate and articulate the historical ensemble, establishing a dialogue between the volubility of the baroque architecture and the modulating perception provided by Eliasson’s artworks.

Eliasson plays elegantly with visual illusion, with the liminal and the ephemeral, and with the material and the immaterial, using extroversion and introspection to resonate with cosmological ideas; his works relate strongly to notions of transformation and artifice inherent in the concept of the baroque. As an epoch of great turmoil, the baroque saw revolutionary optical and scientific discoveries as well as a blossoming of interest in the phantasmagoric and the occult. The baroque is here understood as a prolific process of constant reformulation; the tension between light and dark, knowledge and speculation, and rationality and spirituality opens up unexpected, “other” spaces of potentiality and transformation. The commissioner and original inhabitant of the Winter Palace, Prince Eugene of Savoy, was a visionary with magnificent taste and unrivaled interests in architecture, design, and art that were matched by his passion for the sciences, including mineralogy and astronomy. Prince Eugene was, like Olafur Eliasson, a man of tremendous vision who loved to embellish but also to discover, to invent, to publish, to create, and to provoke.

Curated by Daniela Zyman and Mario Codognato

The accompanying catalog Olafur Eliasson – BAROQUE BAROQUEexamines some of the trajectories of thought raised by the encounter between Eliasson’s artworks and their temporary baroque housing: in particular, how transformations of space, perception and cognition reflect the realms of politics, technology, and the Anthropocene. With contributions by Mario Codognato, Irmgard Emmelhainz, Paul Feigelfeld, Georg Lechner, Sandra Noeth, Mirjam Schaub and Daniela Zyman. Edited by Agnes Husslein / Belvedere and Francesca Habsburg and Daniela Zyman / TBA21. Sternberg Press, Berlin. EUR 36.

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