VBKÖ – Vereinigung bildender Künstlerinnen Österreichs


The Portal


28 October – 26 November 2021
Opening hours: Thu and Fri, 14:00–19:00; and by appointments

Opening: 27 October, 17:00–21:00
Performance: Darja Shatalova, 27 October, 17:00–21:00
Artist Talk: Christina Werner & Anna Scherbyna, 30 October, 18:00–20:00
Screening + Artist Talk: »SuperNova«, Rah Eleh, 20 November, 18:00–21:00
Workshop: »HOW MANY LAYERS? [A SHARING PRACTICE]«, Nina Sandino, 22 November, 18:00–21:00
Pre-book launch: »Holzskulpturen selbst gemacht«, Vinko Nino Jaeger, 26 November, 19:00
Finissage: 26 November, 19:00–21:00

Katharina Aigner, Bernadette Anzengruber, Veronika Burger, Louise Deininger, Rah Eleh, Fanni Futterknecht, Vasilena Gankovska, Cornelia König, Stephanie Misa, Amanda Piña, carla raiz, Lisl Ponger, Nicole Sabella, Nina Sandino, Anna Scherbyna, Käthe Schönle, Darja Shatalova, SKGAL, Miae Son, Alexandra Tatar, Christina Werner, Inge Wurzer, and REAL ESTATE

The Portal is a show curated by our exhibition team through open call for VBKÖ’s members and invited artists.

The iconic portal in the Maysedergasse is the only remaining eyewitness to the history of VBKÖ, existing since 1910 as entrance to its exhibition spaces and archive. We define this golden door not only as a doorway but also as a starting point, threshold, wormhole, as an escape route, border or opening; it can stand for new beginnings, time travel, change, access, passage, progress, gatekeeping, transition; it can be the portal to different realities and worlds; it guards who gets in and out; and, ultimately, it can mean transformation or the end. 

The exhibition at the VBKÖ thus tackles “The Portal” from various perspectives and presents artistic contributions that critically examine the theme in its manyfold meanings. In the context of the VBKÖ’s own history, for example, the association was founded in 1910 to promote female artists and to advocate for the improvement of their artistic, economic and educational conditions at a time when institutions such as the Secession, the Künstlerhaus and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna were exclusively open to men. Among the VBKÖ’s first achievements was therefore its successful advocacy for women*’s admission to the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna and, first and foremost, to give women* artists their own space to exhibit. The VBKÖ is thus among the earliest women*-run art spaces in the world to open its doors to artists that were shunned otherwise. Today, the VBKÖ still provides a space for experimentation as well as political and activist work to create a new, vibrant connection between historical engagement and contemporary, queer, feminist art production. For the first time in its history, the 2021 VBKÖ Board is composed of four strong women* artists of color.

A central question of the exhibition therefore is: Why are doors open for some and closed for others? In a more broader context, the show also asks: Why can some people cross a border that would be life-threatening for others? How do politics create barriers and how do we break them down? And more acutely, is the pandemic a portal, as Arundhati Roy wrote: “Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal, a gateway between one world and the next. We can choose to walk through it, dragging the carcasses of our prejudice and hatred, our avarice, our data banks and dead ideas, our dead rivers and smoky skies behind us. Or we can walk through lightly, with little luggage, ready to imagine another world. And ready to fight for it.”

27 October, 17:00–21:00
Darja Shatalova

Artist Talk
30 October, 18:00–20:00
Christina Werner & Anna Scherbyna

Screening + Artist Talk
20 November, 19:00–21:00
SuperNova by Rah Eleh

22 November, 18:00–21:00
(Please sign up: sandino.ross@vbkoegmail.com)

Pre-Book Launch
26 November, 19:00
Holzskulpturen selbst gemacht by Vinko Nino Jaeger





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