Vernissage my Heart is the title of a 2019 album by Austrian band, Bilderbuch. A rather prophetic title, perhaps: the Approximation by Bilderbuch exhibition at the MuseumsQuartier showcases the art created for, with and around the group…
- Definitely not just for Bilderbuch or music fans
- Might be one of my all-time favourite exhibitions
- Physical and digital works related to the band’s album covers, stage sets, videos, social media etc.
- Top highlights: the actual stage the band uses, the self-playing guitar, the wall of sneakers
- Located in the frei_raum Q21 exhibition space
- €7 entrance fee
- All display info in English, too
- Runs Feb 28 – Nov 8, 2020 (new extended dates)
- See also: The MuseumsQuartier
Music is art, art is music (possibly)
There’s a certain joy to life at the interface, whether defying classification or simply dipping artistic toes into different media and genres.
And there’s an inventiveness to be enjoyed when lines of art, imagination and creativity cross each other. When designers collaborate with musicians. Or writers with dancers.
Take the top Austrian band, Bilderbuch, who won the prestigious national Amadeus awards for Best Band and Best Live Act in 2017.
Bilderbuch’s music resists categorisation. Words waved around include such terms as Art Pop, but I lack the insight to come up with any meaningful description (I’m more Puccini than punk these days).
But Bilderbuch are also enablers…ushering art into existence through collaborations on album covers, videos, stage sets, photographs, and more with various visual artists; collaborations built on mutual respect and open exchange, creating a dynamic swirling mass of creativity that pops off ideas and art like an angry Catherine wheel.
The Approximation by Bilderbuch exhibition offers the chance to see the results…a heady mix of photographs, sculptures, installations, videos and more where the energy and synergy is almost tangible. This is not a band retrospective or history but a celebration and manifestation of creative exchange, with most works new for the exhibition or adapted from existing material.
The word “approximation” in the title is a deliberate choice, referring to the convergence of a curve toward a line (though the two never meet). It might be understood, here, as art that represents the ideas, emotions, thoughts or context of an artist or band, but cannot mirror them precisely: approximations, not reproductions.
These are works that capture an essence, but not the entire substance…the accuracy of the approximation depending on the degree to which artist and band open themselves to (and understand) each other. Or something like that.
On reading the above back to myself, I may have drunk one too many coffees. (Or not enough.)
Anyway, this exhibition is, frankly, excellent. Eclectic and thematically intriguing, so kudos to the band, the artists and the curators: Fresh Max, Jannik Schäfer and Klaus Krobath.
But what of the art itself?
- The self-playing guitar is a work of utter genius, conceived by the Sucuk & Bratwurst design collective from Berlin for an album cover and given physical form for the exhibition by guitar maker, David Kaserer
- Daliah and Ben Spiegel’s PEOPLE PLATFORM PLEASURE POWER allows you to take centre stage on a raised platform, captured on video camera, but never seeing yourself from the front on screen
- The sneaker wall built by Clemens Loeffelholz uses 400 white Asics trainers (his original stage set used 1000)
- The One.Earth stage (also by Loeffelholz) is not merely an exhibition piece. It’s the actual stage Bilderbuch will use for appearances at festivals, gigs and award shows during the exhibition. Which means it will disappear for a day or two every now and then. Bilderbuch fans might want to snap a photo up close with this particular exhibit.
(The room housing the stage along with energetic street-style paintings by Mafia Tabak also features a 30 minute original soundtrack composed by the band for the exhibition.)
- ..and a lot more I could get effusive about but this article is long enough.
One particularly joyous aspect of each exhibit are the various perspectives you might take when viewing. Take the photo of singer, Maurice Ernst, dressed as Empress Elisabeth in front of a portrait of the same lady. Is it just humour? A comment on Vienna’s predilection with the past? A comment on masculinity?
Creative, thought-provoking, diverse, and – also – fun.
Dates and tickets
Approximation by Bilderbuch runs from February 28th to November 8th, 2020. At the time of writing, the exhibition space opens Thursday to Sunday (midday to 9pm).
Unlike most frei_raum Q21 exhibitions, this one requires a ticket (€7), which you can find online or at the MQ Point ticket office and shop.
How to get to the exhibition
The main MQ article has travel tips. The exhibition occupies a wing at the southeast end of the complex.
If you’re outside the MQ and facing the main entrance, go left until you spot the posters (same entrance to the complex as the Komische Künste cartoon shop).
Address: frei_raum Q21 exhibition space, Museumsplatz 1/5, 1070 Vienna