Three Rotterdam institutions show a unique collection of visual art

This summer Witte de With, TENT. and the Nederlands fotomuseum are showing a selection from the art collection of the Austrian Generali Foundation. Since the late 1980s Generali has been building a collection of international visual art, in which the emphasis lies on conceptual art, social involvement and the use of electronic media. For the first time a survey exhibition of the collection has been assembled, which will only be seen in Munich, Rotterdam and Zagreb. The exhibition includes work by Harun Farocki, Bruno Gironcoli, Dan Graham, Hans Haacke, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula, Heimo Zobernig and many others.

The Generali collection: history, scope, topicality

The Generali Foundation was established in 1988 by the Generali Vienna Group, with the goal of promoting contemporary art. With a collection of Austrian sculpture as its point of departure, the emphasis later shifted to the thematization of art as a social space. Installation works, film, photography, video and media in general that allow the production of art as a process have therefore defined this unique collection for many years. The collection comprises about 1,500 works by about 160 artists. What is especially remarkable about the Generali Foundation is that it involves a ‘corporate’ collection which nevertheless has been assembled, expanded, maintained and made accessible as a true public collection. The Generali Foundation has always exhibited and collected art which is still considered ‘difficult’ or ‘problematic’ due to the media involved or the topics addressed, and which is therefore rarely collected. Photography, film, video and installations are amply represented in it; the Generali Foundation has indeed played a pioneering role in collecting policy with regard to these media. It holds the largest collection of artist’s videos in Europe (more than 350 works). The works of many female artists who are still not adequately represented in museums are also a strong focal point of the collection. In that way too the Generali Foundation distinguishes itself from other institutions.

Artists showing in Occupying Space in Rotterdam

Azra Aksamija – Fareed Armaly – Gottfried Bechtold – Norbert Brunner – Ernst Caramelle – Maria Eichhorn – valie export – Harun Farocki – Andrea Fraser – Rainer Ganahl – Isa Genzken – Bruno Gironcoli – Dan Graham – Hans Haacke – Hans Hollein – Sanja Ivekovic – Mary Kelly – Richard Kriesche – Elke Krystufek – Friedl Kubelka – Dorit Margreiter – Gordon Matta-Clark – Walter Pichler – Adrian Piper – Mathias Poledna – Marjetica Potrc – Florian Pumhösl – Martha Rosler – Gerhard Rühm – Michael Schuster – Allan Sekula – Peter Weibel – Franz West – Heimo Zobernig – and many others in the video program.

Occupying Space in Rotterdam

In this exhibition it is intended to make various connections between different art works as well as between different artists. The concept of this private collection is reflected through the exhibition?s dialogue-like presentation. Works from the 1960/70s are linked to works of a younger generation. Pivotal works of Austrian pioneers in the visual arts build the core of the collection. These often radical positions in Austrian art are juxtaposed with those of international artists. For each of the three institutions in Rotterdam, individual topics have been developed, which will be reflected in the presentation and selection of the art works from the Generali Foundation Collection.

Occupying Space in TENT.

body / media / narratives

Works by Fareed Armaly, Gottfried Bechtold, Ernst Caramelle, VALIE EXPORT, Harun Farocki, Dan Graham, Sanja Ivekovic, Richard Kriesche, Elke Krystufek, Friedl Kubelka, Dorit Margreiter, Adrian Piper, Peter Weibel, Heimo Zobernig and videos by many other artists presented in the New Design for Showing Videos by Dan Graham.

Occupying Space in Witte de With

architecture / space / intervention (2nd floor)

Works by Azra Aksamija, VALIE EXPORT, Isa Genzken, Dan Graham, Hans Haacke, Hans Hollein, Gordon Matta-Clark, Walter Pichler, Marjetica Potrc, Florian Pumhösl, Martha Rosler, Allan Sekula.

sculpture / body / space / performance (3rd floor)

Maria Eichhorn, VALIE EXPORT/Peter Weibel, Andrea Fraser, Isa Genzken, Bruno Gironcoli, Hans Haacke, Adrian Piper, Mathias Poledna, Gerhard Rühm, Allan Sekula, Franz West, Heimo Zobernig.

Occupying Space in the Nederlands fotomuseum

image / text / research

This part of the exhibition will put the emphasis on the artist as researcher in relation to certain topics such as art as a media documenting or questioning reality. Works by Norbert Brunner/Michael Schuster, VALIE EXPORT, Harun Farocki, Rainer Ganahl, Dan Graham, Sanja Ivekovic, Mary Kelly, Elke Krystufek, Friedl Kubelka, Martha Rosler, Gerhard Rühm. Works that seem only loosely connected to photography in this context are also exhibited at the fotomuseum thereby emphasizing their thorough relevance for a better understanding of the artistic and social significance of the medium. This thematic aspect of the collection policy of the Generali Foundation offers interesting starting points for reflection on the fotomuseum’s own collection policy thereby raising questions like: What is the significance of photography in general for the work of artists employing it? What does it mean to collect works that reflect theoretically on, or pose critical questions about the qualities or use of the medium itself?

The exhibition

With this collaboration TENT., Witte de With and the Nederlands fotomuseum have seized a unique chance to devote attention to the relation between photography and visual art from the special perspectives that the collection involved supplies (conceptual and performance art, cross-overs between disciplines and media, etc.).

Organised by Generali Foundation in cooperation with Witte de With, TENT. and Nederlands fotomuseum. Curated by Sabine Breitwieser (Director Generali Foundation) in collaboration with Rein Wolfs (Head of presentation at the Boijmans Van Beuningen Museum), Thomas Meyer zu Schlochtern (Director TENT. Centre for Visual Art), and Frits Gierstberg (Head of Exhibitions at the Nederlands fotomuseum).

Other venues: Haus der Kunst, Munich (March 9 – May 15, 2005),Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Croatia (end of September 2005).


Nederlands fotomuseum | TENT. | Witte de With
Witte de Withstraat 63 / Witte de Withstraat 50