Take an excursion into the more local side of modern art with a solo exhibition for Karl Anton Fleck at the Albertina Modern. Expect around 90 drawings and montages by this Austrian artist.
- Most works drawn from the Chobot collection
- A mix of the abstract, surreal, and innovative
- Strong focus on portraiture
- Runs Nov 18, 2022 – Jan 22, 2023
- See also:
Genius in pencil
(Karl Anton Fleck, FANGO TANGO TAUBENBAD, 1971; Grafit, Buntstift, Wachskreide auf Zeichenpapier; ALBERTINA, Wien – Sammlung Dagmar und Manfred Chobot © Bildrecht, Wien 2022)
Summer 2022 saw the main Albertina site present highlights from the Chobot collection: some 800 works of contemporary art recently donated to the museum by Dagmar and Manfred Chobot.
Winter 2022 sees the Albertina Modern get more thematic with the acquired materials; the Chobot works contribute most of the art featured in an exhibition of (mostly) drawings by Vienna-born Austrian artist Karl Anton Fleck (1928-1983).
Other Viennese institutions owning Fleck’s works include the MUMOK (in a nice dose of symmetry, one drawing of theirs bears the title Chobot with Pipe) and the Leopold Museum over at the MuseumsQuartier.
Though best known in his home country, Fleck’s works are no stranger to international audiences. They find space, for example, in the art collection of Sweden’s Helsingborg Museum. And New York’s MoMA owns Fleck’s 1974 Nude, drawn in pencil and chalk.
The Chobot collection included all of Fleck’s artistic estate, and the exhibition presents various themes that characterised his oeuvre. It shows his drift from abstract to more figurative approaches, all laced with surreal tendencies and occasional pop art influences.
(Karl Anton Fleck, WIEN(D)HUNDE, 1971; Grafit, Buntstift, Wachskreide auf Zeichenpapier; ALBERTINA, Wien – Sammlung Dagmar und Manfred Chobot © Bildrecht, Wien 2022)
One theme, for example, is the prominent role given to self-portraits in later works, albeit portraits that often blur the lines between human and animal.
Fleck worked as a retoucher, an influence that seems to pervade much of the exhibition. A look around the galleries reveals regular dark smears and distorted views that add a further twist to the images presented.
At times, it seems as if Fleck wanted to clearly distinguish art from photography as reproduction of a purely physical view, while at the same time drawing inspiration from the medium and his work with it.
A touch of humour and social commentary raises its head regularly. I liked Thonet Selbststillleben featuring the bentwood chairs familiar to coffee house visitors, a pitcher of flowers, and…the artist’s severed head on a seat. It makes you look twice.
But my favourite pieces were the three entirely abstract works in washed Indian ink from 1960: perhaps the blacks and greys simply resonate with the times we live in.
Dates, tickets and tips
Admire Fleck’s imagination from November 18th, 2022 until January 22nd, 2023. Any valid ticket for the Albertina Modern includes the exhibition.
The exhibition runs concurrently with Ways of Freedom, featuring works by various giants of post-WWII abstract expressionism (like Jackson Pollock). As such, the Albertina Modern delivers a tasty sampling for winter of both international and local modern and contemporary art.
If viewing the exhibition in November and December, be sure to cross over the road facing the Albertina Modern to visit one of Vienna’s best Christmas markets.
How to get there
Just follow the travel tips at the bottom of the main Albertina Modern page. The location is within walking distance of the centre and close to one of Vienna’s largest subway stations.
Address: Karlsplatz 5, 1010 Vienna