MADE FOR ADMONT
It was in 1997 that Admont Abbey began to assemble its collection of contemporary art. And this collection has continued to grow to the present day through acquirements from galleries, other collections, the artists themselves, through donations and endowments. Within a very short time, a new situation developed as a result of the close and long term contacts that had been formed, primarily with the artistic community within Austria.
In 2000 – even before the new museum was opened – Lois Renner, at that time considered ‘Austria’s most avant-garde painter’, was retained as the first artist in residence at Admont Abbey. This represented, as it were, an experimental pilot project. Renner took the opportunity to introduce into the Abbey his installation ‘Festung’, a 1:10 scale model of his own artist’s studio, a work that is now part of the Abbey’s collection. He recorded images of it in its new environment where he was able to juxtapose it in contrast with the Abbey Library and its books, the works of the sculptor Josef Stammel and other artworks from the Abbey’s own art depository. This dialogue between different worlds and their interaction over a period of several weeks generated a series of artworks in which two conflicting areas that are not so readily reconcilable were constructively combined to create a whole new outlook.
This was the point at which the MADE FOR ADMONT project came into being. Artists have since been regularly invited to create new works for the collection. In some cases, the monks of Admont have themselves served as artists’ ‘models’ (for Judith Huemer, Erwin Wurm and Konrad Rainer for instance).
There is also a particularly unusual feature that forms part of this project. Since 2001, Admont Abbey has commissioned 27 artists to create works for its special collection ‘BEYOND SEEING – art that brings together the blind and the sighted’; these are artworks that can be appreciated by blind, visually impaired and sighted visitors. Our ‘Artistic Intervention’ event that has been organised more or less annually since 2003 in the Museum of Fine Arts is also evidence of our continuing interest in the world of contemporary art.
Since 2001 and as part of the series MADE FOR ADMONT, 26 artists have created at the behest of the Abbey artworks that can be appreciated by blind, visually impaired and sighted persons alike for the ‘BEYOND SEEING ‒ art that brings together the blind and the sighted’ collection. This artistic project that is unique in Europe opens up new routes of access to contemporary art. What all the works in this special collection have in common is the fact that they are not designed to be primarily appreciated through visual effects. They can be experienced not only by sighted persons but also by blind persons: each artwork can be physically explored and understood. Further information to the collection Beyond Seeing.
The Admont monastery contains the following other special collections:
Hannes Schwarz was one of the most eminent of the artists based in Styria of the post-war period. His oeuvre is the result of his critical interpretation of the history of his time ‒ specifically the poisonous ideology of National Socialism. 24 oil paintings and 68 prints were donated to Admont Abbey by the artist in 2002. Further information to Hannes Schwarz.
To the already extraordinary diversity of the collections – now widely celebrated – in the museum of Admont Abbey is to be added a further and permanent dimension. A group of medieval sculptures, painted panels and stained glass items selected from the Mayer Collection and entitled “Close to Heaven” will shortly be on display here. This exhibition employs largely donated artworks and reflects the recently engendered interest in the religious sculpture of the late Middle Ages, a fascination that extends across the boundaries of all denominations and beliefs. Among the exhibits on display will be various examples of the effigies of the Virgin Mary known collectively as the “Schöne Madonnen” (ca. 1400), works by Niklaus Weckmann of Ulm and by the master from South Tyrol, Hans Klocker of Brixen. The presence of God and the splendours of this world, soul and culture blend to provide a synthesis of the arts. The items accumulated by Kuno Mayer are the visible evidence of his many years of association with the trade in specialised artworks. The purpose of the collection as a whole is promote more permanent interest in the art of the Middle Ages across a more broader range of the public. For Kuno Mayer, the activity of collecting art is something that not only unites enthusiasm with knowledgeabilty, but that also builds a bridge between philanthropy and the world of money. He considers that the values embodied in art and culture provide us with the mainstays of order and stability and enrich our inner being. The exhibition starts on 1 May 2017, daily 10 am to 5 pm!
The whole museum is barrier-free!