Herbert Foundation

25.10.2020, 11 a.m. - 12:30 a.m.

Talk: Eva Badura-Triska

Heimo Zobernig: A critique of the language of art

Cover of Franz West, Heimo Zobernig, Galerija Studentskog Kulturnog Centra
Belgrade, 1999


At the beginning of the 20th century, Vienna was an innovating centre for art and philosophy including figures such as Gustave Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, but also Sigmund Freud and Ludwig Wittgenstein. Situated on the border between Eastern and Western Europe, Austria has ever since occupied a specific and unique position within the art world. Artistic individuality remained indicative for the artists that emerged in the 1980s, a period in which this country’s art scene grew closer ties with the international developments.

Heimo Zobernig (°1958) can be considered as one of the key Austrian artists within this generation. His oeuvre investigates the often dogmatic positions of high Modernism that had come to an end in the 1960s and 1970s. By questioning and deconstructing the “language of art”, his work also has affinities with Ludwig Wittgenstein’s criticism of language.

The talk by Eva Badura-Triska will offer an introduction to Heimo Zobernig’s oeuvre within the framework of the exhibition Distance Extended / 1979 – 1997. Part I. It will also set his work in relation to that of fellow Austrian artist Franz West (°1947 – *2012), who together with Zobernig became one of the central figures within the Viennese art scene. Even though the artists created very distinct oeuvres and despite their age difference, their approach is akin in many ways and the two have collaborated on various occasions.

Eva Badura-Triska was a curator at mumok, Museum of Modern Art in Vienna, until 2019. Her research focused primarily on Austrian art of the early 20th century as well as of the period of the 1960s to the 1980s. She published reference works on, among others, Heimo Zobernig, Franz West and Viennese Actionism. In 2014, she curated the exhibition Musée à vendre pour cause de faillite, establishing a dialogue between the private Collection of Herbert Foundation and the public collection of mumok.

After the talk, the exhibition Distance Extended / 1979 – 1997. Part I is open for a visit.


Language: English
Location: Herbert Foundation, Coupure Links 627a

The admission fee is 15 euro (8 euro for students) and has to be paid in cash at the reception. Limited places available. Please make a reservation beforehand via reservation@herbertfoundation.org