2008 77 Null Sieben

Exhibition Kunsthaus Köflach, 2007/2008


Gruppe 77: What must be said (once again)
Thirty years ago a group of artists led by Gottfried Fabian left the Graz Secession and entered the Styrian art scene introducing their own ideas by the name of Gruppe 77. But that wasn’t a 180° turn in a different stylistic or even a new ideological direction in art: it was simply and quietly (in the metaphorical sense) a consequence of many years’ watching and refl ecting. Watching their own activities as well as the activities of the others. That way several quite signifi cant criteria of artistic activities and attitudes have gained space and given a new location which has been gradually taken up the opportunity to make its feature visible. Right from the beginning the new union has been gathering art critics and art experts, art connoisseurs and art enthusiasts around themselves, to maintain an increased exchange of ideas which today would be called a discourse. Talking about art, conveying art – those have been high values from the outset, expressing the right opinion, that art cannot be only a picture or a sculpture, but also, perhaps even predominantly, the discussion provoked by the works of art, but leading beyond that center. A number of events has taken account of that view. Apart from the internal and external dialogues which have been boosted again and again, the group is characterized by their self-confi dent inhomogeneity in their individual artistic results and by a further, perhaps even more distinctive feature: concentrated drafting of ideas and projects. Frequently, individual members get together to launch a specifi c installation, a particular artistic “arrangement“. There have always been and still are some “driving forces“ which start such activities and even carry them through to the end. So it happens that, contrary to other unions, sometimes the static form of a group exhibition dissolves. Then the well-considered, long-prepared project of several people or of an individual artist is given precedence. In the collective’s view this seems to make sense for everyone and can possibly also be explained from outside: In the abovementioned “big presentations“ the authors move within both specifi c and general questions of art and the conditions and places connected with art. It means that for instance by “removing“ an installation from the Künstlerhaus to a place beside the Künstlerhaus, the deconstruction of the White Cube in the form of a steel ground plan turned by 90° took place out in the open country (1989); that presentation and representation of art are discussed; that the touring installation of the ”Kunsthaus” blue bubble, already in the media in 2002, referred back to the architecture and the structure of the art space. Taking several people’s idea as its starting point, the group has been devoting its interest to public space in its outstanding project ”Kunst auf Zeit” (“Temporary Art”) for two decades. In summer advertising columns between the Künstlerhaus and Hilmteich were available as an art gallery. During that time, not only a great number of international artists were invited to Graz, but also the master-class students of the Kunstgewerbeschule (School of Arts and Crafts) were offered the opportunity to prove their abilities in this art form. With their profi le shown in a concentrated selection, Gruppe77 makes clear, what potential can be centered in an artists’ union even today, if they leave the old tracks of the local train in order to head for the main station.

Text by Werner Fenz

Participating artists:
Peter Janach
Fria Elfen
Lis Gort
Siegfried Amtmann
Luise Kloos
Hans Kuhness
Alois Neuhold
Hans Jandl
Erika Lojen
Erwin Lackner
Heribert Michl
Aurelia Meinhart
Ingeborg Pock
Wolfgang Rahs
Edith Temmel
Werner Schimpl

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