For this year’s series of exhibitions from the Styrian art associations Kunstverein Werkbund, Künstlerbund Graz, and Vereinigung Bildender Künstler Steiermarks—titled A History of One’s Own—it is not a book that serves as point of origin for the conception and the content of artistic exploration. Instead, due to two significant anniversaries at participating art associations—150 years of Styrian Kunstverein Werkbund and 90 years of Künstlerbund Graz—we are now jointly embracing the challenge of thematically integrating these festive occasions into the exhibition format. The three resulting exhibitions are not only meant to help reflect on the achievements and the countless histories of these organisations, but also on the association structures and their objectives in the present day. In the process of preparing the exhibition project, each association selected one or several works from its long-standing art-historical inventory, or they agreed upon an exemplary, representative artistic position, as in the case of Künstlerbund Graz, since they found it to be especially well suited to this endeavour and felt it to have successfully bridged historical time to assert sustainable artistic power still today. This important referential work or position then became the point of departure for the individual members’ artistic explorations so as to exclusively create new works of art in response. This process was possible thanks to the friendly cooperation of the one association not celebrating an anniversary.
Distributed across the exhibitions again this year are time-proven drawings, paintings on canvas, sculptures, installative spatial elements, along with notes corresponding to the selected key work, fostering reflection on the history of the respective artist association and its projected future, as well as artistic commentary on its mission in today’s society. In this open and productive sense, the focus of preparation for the annual exhibition was once again placed not on the curatorial selection of solo positions, but on the encounters and in-house discussions at the art associations in preparation for the exhibition series. The intense analysis of the history/histories of the art associations, the brainstorming, and the collective working and production process were integrated into the exhibition context. In the three subsequent exhibitions, they now present—to as broad of an audience as possible—the specific nature of each respective art association on the basis of these newly created works.