With its opening celebration on March 25, 2021, the Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien is being transformed into the HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark. The improved opportunities and positioning of the HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark are evident in its high-quality production and active presentation of the art of our time. Its international focus on contemporary art integrates outstanding regional production and thus represents a cultural contribution to a common Europe. Its exhibitions and their themes in fine art and media art are intended to open up new “visual spaces” and hence alternative “idea spaces.” The institution stands for increased openness of communication on the levels of seeking, discussing, and imparting via analog and digital channels making it an initiator and platform of exchange. Thanks to increased cooperation with international players, the HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark is a lighthouse that shines beyond Austria’s borders. This openness is reflected in the fundamental decision to offer free admission.
Art should be a language everyone can understand, which creates the new, describes the unfamiliar, and undermines habitual connections by speaking via other images and their inspiring perception. That is also why there is only one art, and it is—like the one world—international and breaks through all local borders. Access to at times ambitious critical art is supposed to be, much like education, a freely accessible value; for that reason, the HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark provides low-threshold, barrier-free access. Art educates—at no cost but not for nothing.
At the HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark, the experiment with art as a medium to understand a hotly debated, fragile present day is opened up to public discussion. It will engage with a daily life that is not always easy and with its globally approaching impositions in order to counter issues of the at times unmanageable present with a significant, critical, and stimulating response in artistic utopias and visions. Ideally, interested visitors will be infected by the elan and creativity of artists and by our program carefully crafted to encourage curiosity and reflective thinking in a liberal, tolerant, and diversely specialized society. We must leave behind an increasingly palpable constraint and head out to new shores.
Several architectural adaptations make the HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark even more attractive to visitors. In addition to changes to its outward appearance, spatial access inside has been improved by a variety of built-ins, a renovated reception area, and restored floor of the museum that has improved the exhibition spaces in general.
A new graphic look, for which Fondazione Europa is responsible, and redesigned website launches the upcoming year of the program. Creative director Alexander Nussbaumer works for, among others, Frieze, Belvedere, and Hatje Cantz. In 2022, his firm will design the catalog for the Austrian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale.
The new curator at the institution as of 2021 will be Cathrin Mayer, who will share responsibility for the program with artistic director Sandro Droschl. She studied art history in Vienna from 2018 to 2020 and was curator at the KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. Mayer is interested in recent international art and socially relevant themes.
The program of the HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark presents novel alternative images in confronting the upheavals of our time. In the first year of its program, a sometimes-utopian arc will span from antiquity to plans for the future.
It begins with the extensive thematic exhibition "Europe: Ancient Future" presenting a wealth of artistic ideas about a common Europe beyond the usual practical constraints. The project stands for a Europe without the restraints of the nation-state and populism and searches for new response to an “ancient” and yet astonishingly topical-sounding pass that could be our future modernity.
The “branding” efforts of the State of Styria demonstrate the connection to the region and its tradition as a place of contemporary art, its commitment and its confidence, and it is a task and responsibility for progressive and critical presentation and reflection. Federal support from the Austrian government as well as that of the City of Graz heighten expectations that the institution be fit for the future so that the HALLE FÜR KUNST Steiermark strong support for new art will make a cosmopolitan Europe possible.
Something has been built up that is now taking shape.
“Come! Into the open, friend!”*
*Friedrich Hölderlin, "Der Gang aufs Land. An Landauer," 1800–01