Museum of Contemporary Art
Tradition and innovation go hand-in-hand at Admont.
Diversity in Admont Abbey 2018 - Beauty and Aspiration
Faith has a future today only when it also satisfies the senses - in its buildings, in its art, in its public appearance, in its liturgy. "Do we believe in our future?" This is the question, with which the Graz-Seckau diocese greets the public on its 800th anniversary, to introduce its motto for this year – "Sow the seeds of the future". With this in mind five exhibitions can be visited in historically important locations in Styria. One of these is at Admont Abbey, which with its theme of "Beauty and Aspiration" is participating with exhibitions in its different museum sectors.
The Benedictine community at Admont Abbey has, over the whole of the more than 900 years of its existence, always had a major interest in the art and culture of its period and has been involved in sponsoring these within its capabilities.
Admont Abbey is now inhabited by present-day monks and provides employment for present-day people. Many are involved in the maintenance of the heritage and historical legacy of the Abbey (restoration work and conservation of the various materials, such as paintings, the Abbey structure and its library) in order to safeguard these for future generations. And they are also systemically continuing in the tradition of the Abbey by addressing the work of creative individuals of our time. It is by means of this approach that today the old is being protected and new things for the future are being created at a location with a long history. Tradition and innovation go hand-in-hand at Admont. Diversity is our daily experience and objective here!
The Contemporary Art Collection since 1997
Admont Abbey has been continuously collecting works of contemporary art since 1997. This collection now consists of almost 1500 works by some 160 artists, most of whom were born in the period from the mid-20th century in Austria or are currently based here. The collection falls into two parts; works acquired from artists’ studios and galleries and works specially commissioned for the in-house MADE FOR ADMONT series. In recent years, a number of artists have created major works at the request of the Abbey.
An internationally significant feature is the special ‘collection within the collection’ called ‘BEYOND SEEING ‒ art that brings together the blind and the sighted’. Specifically created for the collection at Admont since 2002, these works are not designed to be primarily appreciated through visual effects. Made to a very high standard, they can be enjoyed by visually impaired, sighted and blind visitors and promote dialogue between them.
The collection also contains larger groups of work by specific artists, such as the selection of his works donated to Admont Abbey in 2002 by the artist Hannes Schwarz. Another important group is formed of works by representatives of the so-called ‘Neue Malerei’ (New Painting) movement, who have since developed in other directions.
Thanks to on-going acquirements, permanent loans and donations, the collection is always in an exciting process of dynamic evolution. In addition to works by established artists who have made a name for themselves not only in Austria but also internationally, Admont also purchases works by young and less-well known artists whose creativity is apparent. Whenever possible, Admont Abbey endeavours to help young and as yet not established artists to find their potential.
Room for artistic intervention in the museum of fine arts
Carola Willbrand, 2017
Carola Willbrand lives and works near Cologne; since 1981 projects, exhibitions, performances, artist books using materials of daily life: wallpaper, carpet, worn clothes. The thread ties all my materials together. The metaphor ‘thread’ is the image for life.
At Admont Abbey, equal emphasis in terms of presentation and acquirement is placed on quality ‘outsider art’ ‒ specifically that made by creative disabled persons. Special exhibitions staged as part of the ADMONT GUESTS programme create a dialogue between the Admont collection and other collections.
The monks and employees of the Abbey are permitted to take works that are in storage out on loan and many take full advantage of this opportunity. Over the past few years, contemporary art has become part of our day-to-day experience and is a living, ubiquitous presence at Admont. The Museum of Contemporary Art together with the special exhibition rooms on the ground floor and the Abbey estate provide a platform for the presentation of various aspects of modern art in different combinations and in new relationships.
The whole museum is barrier-free!
Click here for an overview of exhibitions since 2002.