press release

This exhibition of the works from the collection, organized in partnership with the Generali Foundation, explores the connection between movement, the body, and light in art. Kinetic objects, performances, and films are shown in combination with photograms, photographs, lithographs, and drawings. The selected works from the various holdings of the Museum der Moderne Salzburg span a period from the late nineteenth century through to the present and include recent acquisitions.

The invention of the photographic and film camera opened up new opportunities to record and reflect movement in art. Technological innovations vastly increased artists’ expressive possibilities, although to this day, classic techniques such as drawing continue to be used to explore the perception and representation of movement. The terms “photo” and “kinetics” derive from the Greek words for light and movement respectively. Especially in the 1950s, these two components played an important part in the development of kinetic art, setting images, objects, or the human body in motion. The exhibition encompasses a wide spectrum of art: works on paper produced by the effects of light, holograms, mobile objects, and the human body engaged in movement, such as dance. Movement as an artistic medium exists in techniques like double- and long-exposure photography, as a fundamental part of the moving image in film, through experiments with optical illusions, reflection, and light, as well as in the movement of the viewers themselves.

In memory of the artist Gustav Metzger (1926–2017), who died recently, one room of the exhibition has been dedicated to his work. In 1959, Metzger devised his concept of Auto-Destructive Art in which works destroy themselves through biological, chemical, or technological systems. The work of art is only completed once this disintegrative process has finished. It was Metzger who co-organized the Destruction in Art Symposium in London in 1966, a key international event examining this theme. He also developed the concept of Auto-Creative Art. Based on the idea of works that create themselves he made a series of kinetic objects including Drop on Hot Plate.

With works by Marc Adrian, Francis Bruguière, Ernst Caramelle, Max Ernst, Simone Forti, Jaromír Funke, Andrea Geyer, Lotte Jacobi, Werner Kaligofsky, Barbara Kasten, Erika Giovanna Klien, Brigitte Kowanz, Ulrike Lienbacher, Heinz Loew, Marko Lulić, Luiza Margan, Dorit Margreiter, Gustav Metzger, László Moholy-Nagy, Eadweard Muybridge, Mathias Poledna / Karthik Pandian, Ferry Radax, Man Ray, Christian Schad, Alfons Schilling, Otto Steinert, Curt Stenvert, Helene von Taussig, Ian Wallace

Curators: Sabine Breitwieser, Director, and Antonia Lotz, Generali Foundation Collection Curator Presented by Generali Foundation