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forum metall

In 1977 Linz dropped an "artistic bomshell" that resonated far beyond Austria’s borders: forum metall presented large-scale metal sculptures by internationally renowned contemporary artists in the Donaupark. The opening of the presentation coincided with that of the Fourth Bruckner Festival.

Linz: Industrial location and rising artistic metropolis
Three years after the completion of Linz’s flagship concert hall, the Brucknerhaus, forum metall marked another important stage in the city’s development from a location of industry to a city of culture. On 12 September 1977 the city’s first open-air museum opened in the Donaupark, offering the first truly representative overview of abstract sculpture of the 1960s and 1970s. At the same time forum metall offered comprehensive insights into the possibilities iron, steel and aluminium held in store for sculptors.

A new type of event
The conception, organisation and artistic direction lay in the hands of Helmuth Gsöllpointner, then Dean of the University of Art and Industrial Design Linz and professor of the Metal Master Class, and of Peter Baum, then Director of the Neue Galerie der Stadt Linz (today’s LENTOS). One of the aims pursued by the organisers of forum metall was to leave the trodden paths of conventional exhibitions and strike out in an altogether new direction. At the same time, the choice of metal as a material for artists to work with underlined its importance for Linz, the "steel city". The perfect interplay between art and the economy made it possible to realise this outstanding open-air ensemble of contemporary art.

The "Linzer Superding" [The Linz thing at the top of the pile] (DIE ZEIT)
The media echo surrounding forum metall exceeded all expectations. No exhibition in Austria in the field of modern art had ever called forth comparable interest both on the part of the media and the public. In this way, forum metall succeeded spectacularly in focusing international attention on its status of an emerging metropolis of art.

 
The LENTOS is in charge of the maintenance of the artworks.
As part of Linz’s year as Capital of Culture Linz09 the Linz AG had a lighting system installed for the sculptures.

A Roll Call of the Elite of Plastic Artists
For forum metall internationally renowned plastic artists from seven nations were invited. On the basis of their blueprints all sculptures were conceived with the Linz venue in mind and executed in Austrian workshops in close collaboration with the artists, some of whom even supervised the physical process of production in person. The scultpures were to remain in place for at least two years. Thanks to the spontaneous generosity of the artists, many exhibits are now on permanent loan.

Artists and sculptures:
Herbert Bayer, Brunnenskulptur (1977)
Max Bill, Pavillonskulptur III (1977)
Amadeo Gabino, Hommage à Anton Bruckner (1998)
Mathias Goeritz, Die Schlange – La Serpiente (1986)
Erwin Heerich, Untitled (1977)
Piotr Kowalski, Thermocouple (1977)
Eduardo Paolozzi, Hommage à Anton Bruckner (1977)
David Rabinowitch, Ellipse in 10 Teilen (1974–77)
Erwin Reiter, Strömung (1977)
Günther Uecker, Tisch der Austreibung (1977)
Helmuth Gsöllpointner, Evolution (1979) originally installed on the precincts of Oberbank (Untere Donaulände) and integrated into forum metall in 2010

Works of art that were formerly part of forum metall
HAUS-RUCKER-CO, Nike von Samothrake (1977)
Donald Judd, Four Boxes (1977)
Bernhard Luginbühl, Linzer Atlas (1977)
Klaus Rinke, Zwei Vertikalachsen, die sich im Erdmittelpunkt treffen (1977)

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Foto: © maschekS.