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Hannes Schwarz – Memorial exhibition

Hannes Schwarz – Memorial exhibition

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Hannes Schwarz – Memorial exhibition

In 1997, Admont Abbey acquired 24 oil paintings and 68 prints by Hannes Schwarz that were given by the artist in the form of a donation. These works were on display in the former winter riding school on the ground floor from 2002 to 2019. For the 2021 season, a selection of the works from the Hannes Schwarz foundation has been moved to a newly adapted area in the Museum of Contemporary Art. Initially on display will be the early works of Hannes Schwarz.

Hannes Schwarz was born in 1926 in Anger near the town of Weiz. Because of his artistic talent, the authorities insisted he should be educated in a Nazi-run elite school. While studying painting in Stuttgart in 1944, he was conscripted into the army. The atrocities and horrors perpetrated by the Nazis that he witnessed left him with deep and long-lasting psychological scars. His work is characterised by a critical engagement with the history of his times. In 1948 he began painting again and became one of the undisputed greats of the Graz art scene. He became fascinated by Existentialism and the Frankfurt School. His worldview can be particularly clearly recognised in his 'cage' paintings of the 1960s. The bars and malformed human figures are symbols of coercion and of the hopelessness of life.

In 1980 a trip to Spain resulted in the cultivation of a gentler style. Human figures disappeared to be replaced by unpeopled landscapes that represent life. In his later works, he employed motifs with cult-like and sacral associations. And finally, in his images of fruits, a cautious longing to give affirmation to life becomes apparent.

A book on the life and work of Hannes Schwarz is available from the museum shop: Hannes Schwarz, Innenreise. Das künstlerische Werk von Hannes Schwarz im Benediktinerstift Admont. Ed. by Abbot Bruno Hubl and Michael Braunsteiner, Admont 2002.

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