The tri-country biennial “trigon” was founded in Graz in 1963, and for decades it presented an opportunity for wider artistic exchange between ex-Yugoslavia, Italy, Austria, and other countries. “trigon 67” in particular, which took place at the Künstlerhaus and its outdoor environs with the title “ambiente / environment,” was one of the biennial’s central exhibitions, featuring fifteen, nowadays well-known artists, who examined contemporary architectural issues and the perception of space.
To celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of “trigon 67” and steirischer herbst, the Künstlerhaus has reevaluated these once heavily discussed approaches. In the exhibition "trigon 67/17 – ambiente nuovo/ post environment" (23.09 – 23.11.17), fifteen young artists from the Trigon region have once again revisited the original subject, presenting a range of practices that deal with space and architecture in contemporary art.
In the symposium, which will take place on three consecutive Thursday afternoons at three prominent art institutions in the Trigon region, academics, curators, and critics will discuss and investigate the exhibition “trigon 67,” highlighting its repercussions on contemporary art in Austria, Italy, and ex-Yugoslavia. In addition, the current exhibition “trigon 67/17 – ambiente nuovo / post environment” at the Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien, will be another main focal point.
On the last day of the exhibition “trigon 67/17 – ambiente nouve / post environment,” speakers in the symposium will examine works shown in the exhibition and relate them to the international and current sculptural discourse. “trigon 67,” shown exactly fifty years ago, builds the historical starting point of discussion.
In his presentation, curator of Neue Galerie am Universalmuseum Joanneum and co-founder of the artist group G.R.A.M. Günther Holler-Schuster, will speak about the “trigon“- biennials “Ambiente,“ 1967, “Architektur und Freiheit,“ 1969, “intermedia urbana,“ 1971 und “Audiovisuelle Botschaften,“ 1973, and how they attempted to expand the spatial definitions of art, moving from art to architecture, and finally media. At the time, reaching beyond notions of physical space, however dynamic these might be at the time, one wanted to explore new spaces—cultural and virtual spaces—that we now consider commonplace. It was, all of the sudden, important to contemplate space not as a container but also figure in the social, cultural, and technical components. Therefore, statements about space were no longer only the responsibility of architects but were opened up to the visual arts, and in this case the “trigon” exhibitions became a consequential foundation for later developments, for example in virtual space.
In “Steel and Silk” Roger M. Buergel, director of the Johann Jacobs Museum in Zürich and artistic director of documenta 12, will attempt to connect two disparate spaces: the antic gardens of Suzhou (China), a site in which a specific relationship of self and world calls for further explanation, and the post-conceptual spaces created by “Diamond Cuts: Sea of People,” an installation by Tina Gverović.
Eva Maria Stadler’s presentation will take a closer look at the exhibition “Europäer” (German for Europeans), curated as part of the steirischer herbst festival at Kunstverein Graz in 1993, one year after the end of “trigon.” Artists from Albania, Bosnia, Georgia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Croatia were commissioned by former director Stadler (nowadays director of the Institute of Art and Knowledge Transfer, University of Applied Arts Vienna) to create new works. The political upheavals and changes in the early 1990s were shaping a new picture for Europe—a picture of new beginnings and opening. The productive power of this political emancipation and solidarity was and still is in need of our attention. Therefore, looking back also means facing forward.
Ensuing from the controversial first iteration of “Skulptur Projekte Münster” in 1977, curator Kasper König’s contribution will examine the genesis and format of the exhibition, which occurs in public spaces throughout the city only every ten years. König will reflect on Münster’s specific situation as a city of universities and beaurocrats, relating it to larger developments of installation-based art, while working out parallels and differences to “trigon 67.”