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Admont Abbey Museum opens special exhibitions on 19 March

Styrian roots connect...

Admont Abbey Museum opens special exhibitions on 19 March

Wednesday, 16 March 2022

Next Saturday, 19 March, the Admont Abbey Museum will kick off this year's season with two top-class special exhibitions. The close connection to Styria combines Gothic and contemporary art.

The Admont Abbey Museum is putting the spotlight on Styrian cultural heritage. And in two exhibitions at once. Last year, the two emperors "We Frederick III & Maximilian I - Their World and Their Time" triggered a veritable run on the special exhibition of the same name. "The great popularity and the numerous requests for an extension have prompted us to put on a new edition of what is probably the most important special exhibition that the Abbey Museum has ever shown," says Abbot Gerhard Hafner. Exhibits from the Benedictine Abbey of Admont and the Mayer Collection are complemented by loans from all over Austria, South Tyrol and Germany and provide a fascinating insight into the world, times and environment of the two Habsburg personalities. The presentation consists of a sequence of three exhibition rooms leading up to the enthroned Emperor Frederick III. Expressive portraits, panel paintings and sculptures, weapons and armour, magnificent charters and seals, funerary shields, epigraphic features and important manuscripts illustrate the world view, beliefs, flourishing craftsmanship and the living and dining culture of the 15th and early 16th centuries. An absolute highlight of the completely rearranged exhibition: "The coat of arms stone of Frederick and his wife Eleanor of Portugal", as Barbara Eisner-B. explains, because "the entire life story of the emperor can be told with this exhibit, which is dated 1452", says the curator. The close connection to Styria can be seen in the place where it was found. Originally, the coat of arms stone was embedded in the stonework of Graz Castle and came to the Universalmuseum Joanneum in the second half of the 19th century. It was conserved and researched for the Admont special exhibition. The documentation of the research project is clearly explained on display boards and focuses on this year's motto of the special exhibition: "Cultural heritage on the move!" Just like the display boards, video stations by experts from various disciplines build a bridge from the late Middle Ages to modern times. They expand the space for encounters with the selected exhibits and enable a very special experience tour.

Styria provides impetus

This year, the Collection of Contemporary Art is embarking on a search for clues. "Styrian Roots" is the title of this year's special exhibition, which takes us back to 1997. Back then, the Stiftsmuseum began collecting contemporary art by young Austrian artists. This new collection was presented to the general public for the first time in 2003. Even then, it was noticeable that many of these works of art originated in Styria. Although this concentration was never intended, the significant role of Styrian art in the Austrian and international scene at the time was no coincidence, says Braunsteiner. "Styria has been providing important impetus in the field of visual arts for decades," says the curator. The development of Styria as a cultural region is at the centre of this year's special exhibition. Renowned artists with close links to Styria compare the conditions of their artistic production in the past and present and provide an outlook for the future. 30 short videos, accessible via QR code, invite visitors to join this discussion, because "the topic is in the air", as Braunsteiner emphasises. As the owner of probably the most contrasting private museum in Austria, the Benedictine Abbey of Admont endeavours to play its part in the production, perception and communication of Styrian art. It is no coincidence that many of the works on display are "Made for Admont", as the Abbey Museum has also been commissioning works of art for over 20 years.

Art in the Natural History Museum

The fact that the Styrian connection runs like a red thread through the entire museum this year is also evident in the works of the German-born artist Nikola Irmer, who recently moved to Graz. Her works can be seen this season in the Natural History Museum and show excerpts from zoological collections and depots. Although these were not created in Admont, they originate from collaborations with other museums, including those in Oxford, Florence, Vienna, Berlin and Leiden. However, a future "Made for Admont" project relating to the museum's own collection is being considered.

Things of the heart with soul

Heribert Friedl has designed this year's Room for Artistic Intervention at the Kunsthistorisches Museum. The Feldbach-born artist has long been interested in fragrances and their effects. With his site-specific installation, he shows how invisible information inherent in clothing can evoke the memory of a deceased loved one. Heribert Friedl also speaks of the scent of time that has found expression in these things. Against the backdrop of his dialogue with the Korean-German philosopher, cultural scientist and author Byung-Chul Han, he says: "The history that grows on things through long use animates them to become things of the heart."

Memoria and Message Control

"Power and New Media on the Threshold of the Early Modern Era" is the title of this year's special exhibition in the Manuscript Room. Emperor Maximilian I was more than preoccupied with his death and posthumous fame, which is why he commissioned scholars and artists to report on his deeds in words and images. He skilfully had historical facts packaged in a fictional guise. This resulted in the adventures of the knight Theuerdank and the Freydal, a tournament book that retells the life story of the still young emperor. The letters of a specially designed font, which adorn the Theuerdank with many decorative elements, show that Maximilian I was not only interested in broad reproduction, but above all in perfection. The work also contains numerous woodcuts made by prominent artists of the time.

Opening hours

Our museum is open from 19 March to 30 December 2022; in the

April, May, June and October from Wednesday to Sunday: 10:30 to 15:30
March, November and December from Friday to Sunday: 10:30 to 15:30
July, August and September from Monday to Sunday: 09:00 to 17:00