“Off spaces” have become firmly established in the landscapes of art exhibitions in almost all bigger cities and serve the function of an unbiased perspective on art. The concept of the “off” appears to be increasingly unsuitable in view of the growing importance of participating in current specialist discourse related to these small exhibition venues which are often privately run. Liberated from the institutional or commercial constraints that go hand in hand with tight ties to public-sector funding, here the focus is often on supporting the local art scene and less on one’s own success in the exhibition business. Curatorial agency in the “off space” is subject to special parameters. While such spaces may be freer than institutional exhibition platforms in terms of program selection, they actually operate on much thinner ice economically and are thus more unstable and more dependent on private support.
During the event “Off Spaces, Project Spaces, and Curatorial Agency beyond the Institutional Frame” junior curator Jana Franze will be speaking with Alexandra Grausam, director of das weisse haus and studio das weisse haus, Eva Ursprung, founder of the open studio Schaumbad – Freies Atelierhaus Graz, and Robert Gruber, artistic director of the venue gottrekorder, about their initiatives. The panel discussion will center on the motivation impelling these initiators to facilitate the supporting function of such independent project spaces, especially for young contemporary art production, and on the conditions necessary today for the presentation of art beyond the institutional spotlight.
Mag.art. Alexandra Grausam (*1973 Vienna, lives in Vienna) recently became a member of the advisory board for the international residency program of the Federal Chancellery of Austria and, in addition to serving on other juries, is on the City of Vienna’s advisory board for new media and visual arts. After completing studies in art history at the University of Vienna, as well as in conservation and restoration at the Technical University of Munich and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, Grausam founded Atelier Siebenstern in 2006, which still remains devoted to the restoration of contemporary art and paintings. She is also the co-founder and director of das weisse haus in Vienna, an independent association which has hosted a studio and residency program since 2013. Another project co-initiated by Grausam is the networking platform AWAY, which has been supporting the foreign residency program of the Federal Chancellery of Austria since 2016.
Mag.art. Robert (di Pauli) Gruber (*1979 Rotterdam, lives in Vienna) studied scenography, visual communication, and music theory at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, the National College of Art and Design in Oslo, and Berlin University of the Arts. As an artist, Gruber has shown his work at Regionale 10, a festival for contemporary art in Styria (2010), Salzburger Kunstverein, Salzburg (2010), 21er Haus am Belvedere, Vienna (2013, 2015), Neue Galerie Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum (2017), and Galerie Messer, Vienna (2018, 2019). Moreover, since 2015 he has curated exhibitions on a regular basis in the independent exhibition space gottrekorder e.v. in Graz. In 2016, Gruber also curated the show “The death wish of self-realizers” at Studio 58 in London. In collaboration with Marcuse Haffner and Sebastian Hoch, he curated the exhibition “Prologue / The Divine Ego” in 2019 as part of the project ada – artistic dynamic association, which is a venue for art and science communication between the local/global/medial/social in Vienna.
Eva Ursprung (*1959 in Köflach, lives in Graz) studied psychology and linguistics. Since 1986 she has been working as a freelance artist and curator. Her oeuvre encompasses installations, performances, art in public, electronic, and social space, videos, conceptual photography, and sound works. Ursprung was a founding member of the feminist magazine on culture Eva & Co and co-founder of the art association W.A.S. (Womyn’s Art Support). From 1997 to 2003 she served as a curator for visual arts at Forum Stadtpark Graz. Currently, she is president of the open studio Schaumbad – Freies Atelierhaus Graz, which she co-founded in 2008, as well as a board member of the Institute of Media Archaeology (IMA) and of the IG Kultur Steiermark. In 1998, Ursprung was an artist-in-residence in Fujino, Japan. She has shown her projects, exhibitions, and installations in many cities, including Vienna, Bonn, Manchester, Belgrade, Madrid, London, Los Angeles, Jerusalem, and Singapore.