Aesthetics of Change - 150 Years of the University of Applied Arts Vienna

A cooperation of the University of Applied Arts Vienna and the MAK.

In 1867 the School of Arts and Crafts was established at the Imperial Royal Austrian Museum of Art and Industry (today’s MAK) to enable Austrian arts and crafts to compete internationally. This school is the antecedent institution of today’s University of Applied Arts Vienna, which is now celebrating its 150th anniversary.

This time span is the topic of the first part of the jubilee exhibition at the MAK (lower Exhibition Hall). While short texts highlight the vicissitudes of the Angewandte’s history, around 400 exhibition objects offer insight into the developments it begat and begets. The presentation shows objects from the University’s own collections, supplemented by works from the MAK’s holdings and individual items on loan, as well as a number of documents from classes. Thousands of biographies have become associated with the Angewandte through teaching or studies in the meantime, among them “stars” of art, design, and the history of architecture, as well as names that are not yet well known.

For their exhibition design, BWM Architects chose an encyclopedic arrangement of the topical points, which leads to unexpected juxtapositions. The evolution of the curriculum is depicted in an expansive genealogy in the central Exhibition Hall. In addition, numerous Angewandte departments have provided up-to-date videos to convey a sense of contemporary education, showcase student projects, and give a glimpse into life at the Angewandte.

The second part of the jubilee exhibition (upper MAK Exhibition Hall) outlines theses for the future and advocates for a reorientation of education, art, and society. Three chapters—Social Turn, Technological Turn, and Cultural Turn—aggregate and present trends in thematic complexes. The exhibition focuses on the latest pioneering research in addition to contemporary artistic positions, and concludes in a virtual installation showing ideas and visions for the future.

“Future is there, where we ourselves strive towards it,” says curator Peter Weibel. In keeping with this notion, the curatorial team has created an interactive exhibition experience with its contribution to “Aesthetics of Change.” Virgil Widrich and Stefan Unger from checkpointmedia and Pia Scharler and Gerhard Jordan from getusedtoit reinforce this aim with a striking design concept: They deconstruct the exhibition space in order to transform it through an interplay of light and dark, and in this way skillfully set the scene. The focus is not on demolition and decay, but on decampment and upheaval. The spotlight is on the new; old structures dissolve in the darkness. Spatial elements like columns and beams reappear in altered form, so that visitors can conquer them. This combination of ruins and enchanted forest allows the search for and redefinition of the future to commence.

Curators: Peter Weibel, Director, ZKM | Center for Art and Media, Karlsruhe, and professor emer., University of Applied Arts Vienna;
Gerald Bast, President, University of Applied Arts Vienna; Elisabeth Schmuttermeier, Curator, MAK Metal Collection and Wiener Werkstätte Archive; Patrick Werkner, Cultural Historian, professor at the University of Applied Arts Vienna

More events:

LET'S TALK: Kunst, Architektur & Design im Digitalen Zeitalter


15. December 2017 - 15. April 2018
MAK, Stubenring 5, 1010 Wien
Gerald Bast and Peter Weibel - Curators in dialogue
16. December 2017 - 14:00
MAK, Stunbering 5, 1010 Wien