Birgit Jürgenssen

Bank Austria Kunstforum, Vienna
16/12/10 till 06/03/11

curated by
Gabriele Schor (Sammlung Verbund) und Heike Eipeldauer (Bank Austria Kunstforum)

In the winter of 2010/11, Bank Austria Kunstforum and Sammlung Verbund jointly present the first posthumous retrospective of the work of Birgit Jürgenssen (1949-2003). The Vienna-born artist is regarded as one of the internationally outstanding representatives of the feminist avant-garde. Basing her work on the emancipatory potential of Surrealism and inspiration by Freudian psychoanalysis in dialogue with the social-critical discourse of her generation, since the late 1960s she developed a complex and stylistically multifaceted art.

The female body and its metamorphoses are at the centre of her subtle works, which predominantly involve drawings, paintings and photography. Birgit Jürgenssen started to teach in Arnulf Rainer's class at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts in 1982 and worked there enthusiastically until her early death in 2003. mehr

The approximately 250 works in this long awaited retrospective - including many as yet unknown from her legacy - may at last demonstrate how intensively irony, wordplay and the pleasure in transformation infuse an oeuvre that unfolds within the great tradition of enlightenment and women's emancipation. Peter Weibel has admired the artist's work ever since her early years and appraises it thus: »Birgit Jürgenssen is the missing link that is at last being discovered for history, not only of Austrian feminism between Maria Lassnig and Valie Export, but also for the international women's art movement extending from Francesca Woodman to Cindy Sherman. Because of her surrealist and structuralist (ethno-structuralist) tradition, she has secured a universal position for herself within this spectrum. To appreciate her rank, Birgit Jürgenssen may be seen as representing a contemporary position in continuation of Meret Oppenheim and Louise Bourgeois.«

BIRGIT JÜRGENSSEN. Exhibition catalogue

Gabriele Schor, Heike Eipeldauer (eds.)
with essays from Ingried Brugger, Elisabeth Lebovici, Gustav Schörghofer, Katharina Sykora, Peter Weibel, Giovanna Zapperi.

Prestel Verlag, Munich, 2010.
Hardcover, 312 pp., 21,0 x 27,0 cm
240 color ills.
ISBN 978-3-7913-6337-0 (Museums Edition)
ISBN 978-3-7913-5103-2 (Booktrade Edition)

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