top of page

Publication On the Margin of the Austrian Mainstream Art Discourse: Art Brut and Disability Art during the Coronavirus Pandemic

Publisher: Verein Kunstentropie, Vienna 2022

Layout: Milena Gajić

Proofreading and translation: Milena Kaličanin, Angela Schmidt

ISBN: 978-3-200-08107-9

Editor: Amalija Stojsavljević

Contributors: Randkunst Graz, Florian Reese, Hannah Rieger, Goran Stojčetović, Florian Asei, Emanuel Calise, Jelena Micić, Moritz Mittelbach, Max Memeczek, Peter Prager, Jörg Rath, Katrin und Felicitas Wölger, Team Beste Werkstatt, Edin Zilkić

Although perhaps pretentiously titled, what lies before you is not “classic” research or a factual book about artists with (mental or physical) disabilities in Austria during the corona virus pandemic; rather, it is a modest attempt to give a rough picture of an artistic production that often evokes hermetic or exotic overtones. Therefore, we sought to reveal different layers of the topic through textual contributions in the form of interviews and one essay, ranging from women collectors and women artists of the Art Brut scene, through problematising terminology and research approaches in the context of marginal art, to the radiance of Gugging and its impact on the formation of institutions and this particular artistic practice outside of Austria. The publication also features copious visual documentation provided by courtesy of the Austrian artists, showing their works of diverse art media, and different aesthetic and conceptual designs.

The pandemic itself made communication and direct contact with most institutions and relevant actors extremely difficult—impossible even—which is why we were touched by the assistance, smooth cooperation and rather valuable suggestions coming from a number of individuals.

It has been more than two years since the coronavirus became part of our daily life, forcing us to start questioning the existing norms of life and functioning. Our lives have changed to such an extent (whether we realise it or not) that we have even started perceiving time as “life before and after the pandemic”, “new normal”, “post normal”, and so on. However, breaking with normality and deviating from our everyday conformist urges compels us to think about the social groups that were accustomed to living with limitations even before the virus outbreak.

The pandemic has had a direct impact on the Austrian art world, affecting subcultures from various social, ethnic, and political groups, whose art, to a greater or lesser extent, participates in, shapes, and transforms the country’s art scene. Artists with disabilities are one of those groups, as their artistic practices (themes, narratives, production processes, and media) diverge significantly from the commodified, market-driven mainstream art. Who are the artists with disabilities in Austria and what topics are they concerned with? What have they been creating during the pandemic? How has the pandemic affected their art and has it generated new themes?

The publication’s nature is experimental—it does not seek to provide definitive answers, but wishes to sketch diversity in the visual domain of the works as well as their social reception.

We would like to express our gratitude to all of the participants, as well as the Cultural Department of the City of Vienna and Federal Ministry for Arts, Culture, Civil Service and Sport, for enabling us to bring this publication to fruition.

bottom of page