Hannah Rieger, Heidemarie Dobner

Introduction

Our book is an expression of a deep and long-standing respect for Art Brut. This special art is increasingly becoming a mirror of the dramatic developments in today‘s world. The publication therefore focuses on the artists themselves, 19 women and 43 men.

First of all, we would like to thank the artists presented in our catalogue; they can be found in the image section with a total of 123 works and in the written contributions: Paul Amar, Perihan Arpacilar, Josef Bachler, Laila Bachtiar, Beverly Baker, Pearl Blauvelt, Thérèse Bonnelalbay, Ida Buchmann, Raimundo Camilo, Nek Chand, Kashinath Chawan, Anton Dobay, Guo Fengyi, Jaime Fernandes, Leonhard Fink, Alois Fischbach, Johann Fischer, Franz Gableck, Jill Gallieni, Johann Garber, Giordano Gelli, Madge Gill, Paul Goesch, Martha Grunenwaldt, Hassan (Ousseynou Gassama), Johann Hauser, Margarethe Held, Ernst Herbeck, Magali Herrera, Josef Hofer, Gertrude Hozatko-Mediz, Aurel Iselstöger, Franz Kamlander, Peter Kapeller, Nina Karasek, Franz Kernbeis, Fritz Koller, Davood Koochaki, Johann Korec, Julia Krause-Harder, Pradeep Kumar, Dwight Mackintosh, Dan Miller, Donald Mitchell, Michel Nedjar, Marilena Pelosi, Otto Prinz, Heinrich Reisenbauer, André Robillard, Karoline Rosskopf, Yuichi Saito, Arnold Schmidt, Philipp Schöpke, Günther Schützenhöfer, Mary T. Smith, Oswald Tschirtner, Karl Vondal, August Walla, Scottie Wilson, Josef Wittlich, Agatha Wojciechowsky and Carlo Zinelli.

“Living in Art Brut. 123 Works from the Hannah Rieger Collection” is also the title of an exhibition at the museumkrems, initiated by Heidemarie Dobner, Artistic Director of the think tank GLOBART, and in co-operation with GLOBART.

Curator Monika Jagfeld, Director of the Museum im Lagerhaus, Stiftung für schweizerische Naive Kunst und Art Brut (the Foundation for Swiss Naive Art and Art Brut) in St. Gallen, Switzerland, in her essay “From Gugging to Chandigarh”, describes Hannah Rieger’s collection as a series of journeys to other worlds, with very different kinds of lives, ideas and art. The starting point for her collection was the House of Artists in Gugging. Consequently the essay outlines an art historian’s perspective on the development of Art Brut in the psychiatric context.

Johann Feilacher, Artistic Director at museum gugging, in his article “The Gugging Phenomenon”, gives an overview of how the Art Brut Center – one of the most significant of its kind in the world, combining the House of Artists, museum, gallery and studio – has established its position in the international art world today. Artworks from Gugging still form the core of Hannah Rieger’s Art Brut collection.

Art Brut is inherently an interdisciplinary phenomenon, as it links various different perspectives – from psychiatry to the humanities. Arno Böhler explores its relevance to philosophy in his essay, “Art Brut: the philosophical viewpoint”. The pioneering ideas of Gilles Deleuze, one of the leading philosophers of the twentieth century, are central here.

“Living in Art Brut” has become the branding of the Hannah Rieger collection. In the essay by this title it becomes clear that Art Brut increasingly defines the identity of the collector herself. Initially, in 1980, the beginnings of this project of passion consisted purely of art from Gugging. Back then the legendary and forward-looking psychiatrist Leo Navratil, who founded the artists’ community, was still working there. One of our aims here is also to honour him.

We are particularly delighted that Christine Macel is presenting three Art Brut artists this year at the 57th Biennale in Venice. We are proud that one of them, Dan Miller, from the Creative Growth Art Center in California, also appears here in our book.

Although Art Brut is frequently in the spotlight of the international art world, it still does not receive the recognition that we believe it deserves. In the academic art world amongst museum directors, art historians, gallery owners, auction house assessors and curators – it is not yet universally accepted that Art Brut should have equal status. “Art Brut has always existed, but nobody paid attention to it,” says Arnulf Rainer, one of Austria’s foremost artists and perhaps the greatest collector of Art Brut in the country.

Admittedly, over the last few years Art Brut has frequently been the focus of attention. Some say this is the result of hype, while others see it as an ongoing process of catching up. In the global art world, we see this process of growing recognition for Art Brut developing in two different ways. One is as a specialisation. The other is as a supplement.

Since the start of the millennium new museums have opened throughout Europe which specialise in Art Brut, such as the museum gugging in 2006 and the Museum of Everything, opened in 2010 by London collector James Brett. Similarly in 2010 in France the Lille Métropole Museum of Modern, Contemporary and Outsider Art (LaM) opened an extension just for Art Brut. In Amsterdam an Outsider Art Museum was opened on a five-year temporary basis. From time to time in established museums there are special Art Brut exhibitions or some Art Brut works which are exhibited alongside other contemporary artworks.

In New York, Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne and London, for example, there are galleries which deal exclusively in Art Brut. These cities also have contemporary art galleries which are increasingly interested in representing Art Brut artists. An analagous development is taking place at major art fairs throughout the world: on the one hand the Outsider Art Fair in New York and Paris, on the other fairs that regularly include Art Brut, such as Art Basel, for example. A similar trend also seems to be emerging gradually in the secondary art market. A comparable situation is developing amongst collectors: more and more specialised Art Brut collections, both large and small, are opening up to the public, from the US and Europe to Australia. And in parallel, contemporary collections which have a significant focus on Art Brut are becoming more visible through exhibitions and loans.

All these developments however should not obscure how much still remains to be done to ensure that Art Brut artists have equal status. This, and the growing public recognition of Art Brut as a particular form of art, is exactly what we have been working on together for quite a while, both conceptually and practically.

Art Brut artists are largely autodidacts, giving expression to their “individual mythologies” (Harald Szeemann) through their own individual artistic idiom, reaching beyond the mainstream genres in art and culture. They still need the support of initiators who can set projects in motion, whether they be specialised or supplementary and integrative.

So it has become something of a tradition to hold Art Brut exhibitions in the context of GLOBART. In 2009 Nina Katschnig, Managing Director of galerie gugging, curated an exhibition titled “Hannah Rieger – collected artworks from Gugging”. At that time it was still at Pernegg Abbey in Lower Austria. This was followed by Johann Feilacher’s exhibition “ars publica” – a dialogue between Gugging residents and contemporary artists. In 2010 we exhibited “40 years of art from Gugging in the Otto Mauer collection”. The 2011 exhibition presented “International artworks from the Infeld collection”. In 2012, Eduard Angeli’s exhibition showed the “Eduard Angeli collection – Art Brut from Istanbul”. Angeli was also honoured in 2017 with an exclusive exhibition at the Albertina in Vienna. He was inspired by his friend Leo Navratil to work with patients in a psychiatric hospital in Istanbul. In 2013 there followed a solo exhibition of works by the Austrian Art Brut artist Josef Hofer, who also features in our book.

Linked with these GLOBART exhibitions, the two editors of this catalogue have also been carrying on a continuing dialogue for many years about Art Brut. This year’s exhibition, “Living in Art Brut”, provides an important artistic stimulus for the theme of the GLOBART Academy 2017, “Order and Disorder”. Art Brut shows us that there is no single principle providing any sense of order that we could describe as “normal”, but instead that it is precisely the “disorder” which is fundamental in a changing social system. We hope that encountering the Art Brut works from Hannah Rieger’s collection presented here will spark some lively and intensive discussion.

Our catalogue and the exhibition are the result of a broad co-operation between many people: GLOBART and its sponsors; museumkrems; private sponsors Martin Lenikus and Werner Wutscher; Monika Jagfeld, curator of the eponymous exhibition; the authors, photographers, translators and graphic artists; and the collector herself. We are enormously grateful to all these contributors. In addition there are many people who have been involved in the production of this book, or have provided direct or indirect support. Our heartfelt thanks to: Dieter Achter, Ferdinand Altnöder, Nina Ansperger-Vogt, Alexandra Bachtiar, Sonja Bankl, Pippa Belcredi, Arno Böhler, Christian Berst, Dagmar Chobot, Christiane Cuticchio, Gerhard Dammann, Karin Dammann, Renate Danler, Nicole Delmes, Anthony DePasquale, Thomas Eder, Nico van der Endt, Johann Feilacher, Elisabeth Fink, Gaëla Fernández, Ulrike Gamm, Ortrun Gauper, Susanne Valerie Granzer, Veronika Grubmann, Gerti Hacker, Regina M. Jankowitsch, Olivia Kaiser, Alexandra Kontriner, Nikolaus Köhler, Karin Köllö, Nina Katschnig, Nicoleta Klimek, Marion Koller, Uta Feyl Krumholz, Trisha Kovacic-Young, Otto Lambauer, Michael Landau, Dieter F. Lange, Laura Latanza, Bozo Lazarević, John Maizels, Maurizio Maier, Tom di Maria, Wolf Maritsch, Eve Medioni, Eric Moinat, Elena Ostleitner, Fabian Patzak, Norbert Pauser, Janine Prader, Monika Perzl, Marga Rieger (†), Claudia Röschl, Renate Sager, Tine Salis-Samaden, Franz-Xaver Schlegel, Claudia Schmied, Günter Schönberger, Franz Schönfellner, Christel Schüppenhauer, Wilfried Stadler, Godehard Stadtmüller, Kurt Steinke, Christoph J. Tamussino, Gerhild Tanew, Elisabeth Telsnig, Cynthia Thumm, Matthias Varga von Kibéd, James Wall, Mirko Wittwar, Jasmin Wolfram, Gabriele Wolfrum, Tenzin Yangchen, Susanne Zander and Teresa Maier-Zötl.

Vienna, July 2017

 

Hannah Rieger

Hannah Rieger was born in Vienna in 1957. Her parents, whose family background was Catholic and Jewish, had lived in exile in England for almost twenty years. She completed a degree in economics at the University of Vienna (Mag. rer. soc. oec), followed by two years postgraduate studies in economics at the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS Institut für Höhere Studien) in Vienna. After a short period working as a university assistant at the University of Vienna, she joined the specialist banking group Investkredit in 1983, where she worked until 2010 in various functions including Director of Marketing and Corporate Communications. For many years, Hannah Rieger has been working as an independent consultant for professional development (group dynamics trainer at the Österreichischer Arbeitskreis für Gruppentherapie und Gruppendynamik (OeAGG – Austrian Association of Group Psychotherapy and Group Dynamics), and supervisor and coach with OeAGG and the Österreichische Vereinigung für Supervision und Coaching (OeVS – Austrian Association for Supervision and Coaching). She is also the author and editor of a number of professional publications on topics such as corporate subsidies and family businesses. In 2014 she published her first work on Art Brut – 'Kunst, die verbindet' (United in Art) – through AQ-Verlag, Vienna. The Globart book catalogue 'Living in Art Brut. 123 Works from the Hannah Rieger Collection' followed in 2017. She also works as a lecturer and moderator, e.g. on art topics. Since 2008, Hannah Rieger has been a member of the University Council at the University of Applied Arts Vienna, and since 2013 its Deputy Chairwoman. In

2011 she was awarded the title of Honorary Senator of GLOBART. Hannah Rieger has been collecting Art Brut since 1991.

 

Heidemarie Dobner

Heidemarie Dobner was born in 1956 in Melk/ Donau, in Lower Austria. After completing her school leaving exam at a commercial academy she began her professional career in the Raiffeisen organisation. Later, as mother of three children, she returned to work in 1997 as manager of the Austrian Chamber Orchestra. This was followed by further musical and cultural projects.

In 2000 she began her career at the NGO GLOBART, taking on a range of functions, and was managing director from 2000 to 2016. Since 2005 she has been a board member of the Verein Kunst & Kultur, Geras, Pernegg, Waldviertel (Society for Art & Culture). From 2005 to 2016 she was its secretary general, and in 2016 she became artistic director, taking responsibility for the GLOBART events programme. Since 2009 she has been a board member and since 2017 Chairwoman of the GLOBART Private Foundation.

Dobner’s contributions to Austrian art and culture as well as the related journalistic activities were recognised in 2010 with the honorary title “Professor”.