Wilfried Stadler

Preface

In our search for satisfactory answers to ever more complex questions, intellectual and logical arguments often seem inadequate. If thinking is to be successful, it must be preceded by perception. And it is art which shows us the best path to perception.

Since its foundation 20 years ago, GLOBART has been an “academy for the future”, drawing its regenerative energy from lively interaction between the issues of the day and the world of ideas, with creative input from music and the arts. It is precisely this close connection between contemporary thinking and artistic creativity which opens up new perspectives.

A look at Hannah Rieger’s collection of distinguished Art Brut works takes this connection to extremes and at the same time reverses it. Artistically talented people who are not part of everyday society, or are only sporadically part of it, comment through their cryptic work on events which they largely perceive just as an echo, using their own individual artistic idioms. This provokes us to pay attention in a different way and provides new insights into the nature of the realities all around us. Is it pure chance that their work has found one of its places of development near the same Vienna that became the starting point of the most important schools of psychotherapy?

I got to know Hannah Rieger’s special relationship with this creative parallel world, which flourishes outside of traditional categorisation, during the more than two decades in which she was responsible for corporate communications, marketing and art at the same bank where I also worked. On the walls of her office, in which numerous publications, events and exhibition projects took shape under her prescient leadership, we were given the first glimpses of what at that stage were just the beginnings of her collection. The precision and consistency in her passionate and confident selection of pieces for her collection, which today has grown to over 400 works, may have its origins in her family background. Hannah Rieger’s great-uncle was Heinrich Rieger, one of the leading art collectors of the interwar years. He died in 1942 in the Theresienstadt concentration camp, and his wife Bertha fell victim to the Holocaust two years later at Auschwitz.

We are grateful that Heidemarie Dobner, the artistic director of the GLOBART Academy, was able to persuade Hannah Rieger to allow a significant cross-section of her collection to be exhibited. We were fortunate too that Monika Jagfeld, who developed the St. Gallen Museum im Lagerhaus, Stiftung für schweizerische Naive Kunst und Art Brut (the Foundation for Swiss Naive Art and Art Brut), into an internationally known centre of expertise and a memory store of works from the artistic borderlands, was willing to curate this exhibition.

The museumkrems in the former Dominican Church proved to be an ideal exhibition space for GLOBART initiatives last year. The Greek artist Danae Stratou exhibited her enigmatic Black Boxes there, by invitation from Heidemarie Dobner. This work offered a widely acclaimed projection area for contemporary longings and fears, which were closely related to last year’s theme, “realities”. The theme for GLOBART Academy in 2017 is “Order and Disorder”, and once again associations and cross-connections to the exhibits of “Living IN Art Brut” come to mind.

I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the creation of this wonderful show of artworks and express my sincere hope that this exhibition receives all the acclaim it deserves!

 

Wilfried Stadler

Wilfried Stadler was born in 1951 in Salzburg and studied economics at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, where he founded the business journal “thema“. After graduating he worked for several years in industry and as an advisor on economic policy. From 1987 onwards he worked in the banking industry, from 2002 to 2009 he was Chairman of the Managing Board at Investkredit Bank AG. Since 2009 he works independently, mainly on Supervisory Boards of various Austrian family companies and as advisor for an investment company.

In 2008 Wilfried Stadler was nominated honorary professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business, he also teaches at the University of Salzburg, is co-editor and columnist for the Austrian weekly “Die Furche“ and has been president of GLOBART since 2014. He is author of numerous publications on economic policy, financial markets, corporate finance and business ethics.