Large Scale Picture

Vienna Strip. The Starting Point

Last year as Kasper König and I were preparing the exhibition of painting, "The Broken Mirror" ("Der zerbrochene Spiegel") as part of the Vienna Festival the was to create a connection between the two exhibition buildings the Kunsthalle and the Messepalast. The starting point for the "large format picture was the facade of the Kunsthalle which overlooks one of the streets of Vienna with the highest traffic density and is therefore seen by tens of thousands of drivers every day. The public nature of the project led to museum in progress: Since 1990 museum in progress has been working very actively outside conventional museum space as the organiser of ephemeral events which are not linked to a particular space, with exhibitions in various print media, a series of video portraits of artists and an annual poster project spread throughout the whole city of Vienna. Media space was provided as exhibition space without solid walls alongside the "protected" exhibitions. The intention is to make use of "other truths" which Marcel Broodthaers said surround the museum "in great plenty". When we approached Ed Ruscha, who has been concerned with sign-painting and billboards since his early work, with the for large-format pictures he suggested adapting and enlarging two pictures with text. "20th Century", a public picture, extended over the whole 54 metres of the front facade of the Kunsthalle built by Adolf Krischanitz (in dialogue with the Secession and the Karlskirche) and "17th Century", which was only slightly smaller, was hung in an inner courtyard of the Messepalst, a Baroque building. Both large format works used typographical elements in a purely pictorial way. As in many of Ed Ruscha's works the letters were set over an unfocused, vaguely blurred picture.