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Stella Rollig in conversation with Deborah Sengl and Anselm Glück

Sunday, 1 March 2009


Almost exactly a third of the art works in the exhibition Best of Austria. An Art Collection are from contemporary artists. In an exhibition in which thirty Austrian museums and collections each present themselves with three loaned works of their choice, this may be seen as evidence: the acquisition of contemporary art works is not only the greatest challenge and risk, but also the pride, pleasure and passion of the directors, whose central tasks include the expansion of the collections.

The artists represented here find themselves on display in the Capital of Culture Linz09, on the velvet pedestal, so to speak, of the "ideal collection" of selected "top works". This is an opportunity now to question artists. Sales are necessary, but which purchases provide the greatest satisfaction? Which exhibitions? Is the museum still the place for the work most aspired to? In which contexts do artists prefer to see their own work placed, which not?

The staging of Best of Austria with exhibits from eight centuries creates an unusual atmosphere of visual stimulation. How does this affect the spirits of the participating artists?

Best of Austria tells a story of the pleasure of looking and stimulates a debate about the standards and criteria of "best of". Is it the most expensive, the most famous, the most widely publicized pictures and objects that are representatively displayed in Linz? Are they the favorites of directors and heads of collections, who want to bring unknown treasures to light? The answers are as different as the participating institutions. Art from eight centuries – all of them masterpieces.

Deborah Sengl, born 1974 in Vienna, lives in Vienna
Anselm Glück, born 1950 in Linz, lives in Vienna

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Photo: © maschekS.