In 1967, the legendary exhibition “trigon 67” took place at Künstlerhaus, examining the expanded ways art deals with space. In celebration of the fiftieth anniversary, the Künstlerhaus – Halle für Kunst & Medien presents an updated version of this show, titled “trigon 67/17.”
The tri-nation biennial “trigon” was founded in 1963, in the wake of a general cultural upheaval in Graz. Its intention was to intensify artistic exchange among the neighboring countries of Austria, Italy, and Yugoslavia. After two conventional editions, featuring the traditional genres of painting and sculpture, the first thematic “trigon” exhibition in 1967, titled “ambiente / environment,” was devoted to ways of dealing with space in art. Ist cross-genre, three-dimensional works and entirely new form of presentation promptly triggered a “shock of the new.” For instance, the ideas generated by “trigon 67” also laid the foundation for the creation of the steirischer herbst festival, which is also celebrating its fiftieth anniversary in 2017.
At the center of this year’s show are the various ways art investigates space. Once again, fifteen artists (most of them female, this time) from the Trigon region will reexamine the original theme in the original arena—the Künstlerhaus and its outdoor environs—and present new, site-specific productions, installations, and three-dimensional explorations of sculpture, painting, and media.
Fifty years after “trigon 67,” the changing political geography of the Trigon region is taken into consideration. Even though language barriers continue to be broken, and digital communication has improved artistic dialogues, recent developments, such as the reactivation of stationary border controls, are hindering cooperation. Twenty-five years after the trigon biennial came to an end with a survey exhibition in 1992, the political region that trigon once served has again been transformed.
Nevertheless, “trigon 67/17” decidedly pursues artistic and art historical questions: What relevance does space have in contemporary art today? Which developments or changes in institutional and curatorial practices between 1967 and 2017 can be discerned? What significance do exhibition architecture and display have in the presentation of art?
The show’s contextual and historical foundation comprises original works of art, drawings, sketches, archival material, and an extensive slide and film show about “trigon 67,” which will be shown in the basement of the Künstlerhaus. The staging of the entrance has again been conceived in collaboration with the architect Eilfried Huth (1930 Pengalengan, lives in Graz), who, along with Günther Domenig (1934 Klagen furt – 2012 Graz), participated in “trigon 67.” At the time, the two architects created a spiral-shaped dome made of transparent plastic as high as a house for the entrance of the Künstlerhaus. For its fiftieth anniversary, “trigon 67/17 – ambiente nuovo / post environment” offers both a retrospective and an update— and in doing so, turns its gaze on both history and the altered framework of space and art.