Under the title, Viewing the Other, the Alexander Tutsek-Stiftung presents contemporary glass sculptures by international artists in the context of a series of thematic exhibitions. The title of the exhibition plays with the double meaning of the words. The artists look at things from (an)other perspective and at the same time address their interest in the “other”: the self versus the other (person), the internal versus the external body, civilization versus wilderness, earth versus cosmos, life versus death. They are interested in perceiving the other, in the relationship between contemplation and recognition, in understanding.
Many contemporary artists have rediscovered the magic of the material. They work with materials that are generally allocated to the crafts, to the functional, or to decoration. They value the immediacy and haptic qualities of the material, the physical and emotional effect on the viewer and the historic, intellectual, and spiritual meanings. “The appreciation of the material glass has increased significantly in contemporary art,” says Dr. Eva-Maria Fahrner-Tutsek, Chair of the foundation. She wanted to dedicate an exhibition to this phenomenon and has brought together significant works by renowned international artists.
What aspects of glass fascinate artists who come primarily from painting such as Alejandra Seeber, or those who work with bronze, marble, or wood such as Tony Cragg, or with video such as Mona Hatoum and photography such as Raimund Kummer? Is it the play of light inherent to glass; its reflections, fragility, and translucency, its technical possibilites, tradition and history, its narrative quality? With these questions the exhibition, Viewing the Other, also contributes to the discourse on glass in contemporary art.
The selected works by seven artists are all pieces of exceptional quality and cultural significance. As different as they may be, the thirteen works come together as a narrative: The Speech Bubbles (2014) floating in space by the Argentinian artist Alejandra Seeber (b. 1968), Gespräch unter drei Augen (1990) by Raimund Kummer (b. 1954), or the couple of Listeners (2015) made by the British artist Tony Cragg (b. 1949); the wall piece Glass Feathers (2015) by the Korean artist Ki-Ra Kim (b. 1959), Korb V (2014) with two red cell-shaped vessels by the London-based, Palestinian artist Mona Hatoum (b. 1952); Ashen (2010) by the New York artist Kiki Smith (b. 1954) in which glass flowers grow from a wooden sculpture resembling a coffin, or Overserved (2017), a wall built of reflecting deep-blue glass bricks by Pae White (b. 1963).
The installations create a poetics of space. They transform the house of the foundation, an Art Nouveau villa and once a sculptor’s studio, into a space that draws the viewer into contemplation and reflection.