Focus Scientific Research

Wiener Kinetismus (Vienna Kinetism) 1920-25

Patrik Werkner. Collaboration: Ulrike Matzer

Collections of the University of Applied Arts Vienna

Through FWF funding, it has been possible to illuminate the identity of the University of Applied Arts (UaK), along with its historical growth. The institution’s predecessor, the Vienna School of Applied Arts, was the birthplace of Vienna Kinetism - Austria's contribution to the abstract, futuristic and constructivistic international trends in 1920s art. The term ‘kinetism’ derives from the Greek ‘kinesis’ (movement), and signifies analysis of the rhythm of movement, and the visual dissection of movement sequences. The initiator was Franz Cizek, professor at the School of Applied Arts and pioneer of a new art didactism for children. From 1917 onwards, in the context of his ‘ornamental morphology’, he conveyed the style and content of the European avant-garde. In terms of productivity and quality, Erika Giovanna Klien, Marianne (My) Ullmann and Elisabeth Karlinsky were the leaders, among a large group of artists who were strongly influenced by Cizek’s teaching and mediation. The collections at the UaK, with their hundreds of graphic works, paintings, photographic documents and archives, provide a centralized resource on Vienna Kinetism. The publication of a comprehensive monograph on Vienna Kinetism is being planned for 2009, through which awareness of the importance of this artistic movement should be raised to an international level.