The Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy
November 21, 2015–March 6, 2016


With works from Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21), Vienna
and the Juan & Patricia Vergez collections, Buenos Aires
“I find it inspiring that
the baroque exhibited such confidence in the fluidity of the boundaries between models of reality and, simply, reality. The presentation of my works at the Winter Palace is based on trust in the possibility of constructing reality according to our shared dreams and desires and faith in the idea that constructions and models are as real as anything.”

BAROQUE BAROQUE brings together a significant selection of artworks by Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson from the private collections of Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) and Juan and Patricia Vergez presenting them within the grand baroque setting of the Belvedere’s Winter Palace. The former city residence of Prince Eugene of Savoy (1663–1736), was an important site of artistic and scientific patronage in baroque Vienna. BAROQUE BAROQUE is an encounter between artworks, aesthetics, and worldviews from two vastly different epochs. The exhibition challenges viewers’ habits of perception and proposes that reality can be understood as unstable and evolving, as a process of constant negotiation. Surprising affinities between Eliasson’s works and their temporary settings become evident as the juxtapositions explore the relationships between object and viewer, representation and experience, actual and virtual, giving rise to a concept of the baroque superimposed on itself — the BAROQUE BAROQUE. Alongside these works, new site-specific interventions activate and articulate the historical ensemble, establishing a dialogue between the volubility of the baroque architecture and the modulating perception provided by Eliasson’s artworks.
Eliasson plays elegantly with visual illusion, with the liminal and the ephemeral, and with the material and the immaterial, using extroversion and introspection to resonate with cosmological ideas; his works relate strongly to notions of transformation and artifice inherent in the concept of the baroque. As an epoch of great turmoil, the baroque saw revolutionary optical and scientific discoveries as well as a blossoming of interest in the phantasmagoric and the occult. The baroque is here understood as a prolific process of constant reformulation; the tension between light and dark, knowledge and speculation, and rationality and spirituality opens up unexpected, “other” spaces of potentiality and transformation. The commissioner and original inhabitant of the Winter Palace, Prince Eugene of Savoy, was a visionary with magnificent taste and unrivaled interests in architecture, design, and art that were matched by his passion for the sciences, including mineralogy and astronomy. Prince Eugene was, like Olafur Eliasson, a man of tremendous vision who loved to embellish but also to discover, to invent, to publish, to create, and to provoke. 

Curated by Daniela Zyman and Mario Codognato 

The accompanying catalog Olafur Eliasson – BAROQUE BAROQUE examines some of the trajectories of thought raised by the encounter between Eliasson’s artworks and their temporary baroque housing: in particular, how transformations of space, perception and cognition reflect the realms of politics, technology, and the Anthropocene. With contributions by Mario Codognato, Irmgard Emmelhainz, Paul Feigelfeld, Georg Lechner, Sandra Noeth, Mirjam Schaub and Daniela Zyman. Edited by Agnes Husslein / Belvedere and Francesca Habsburg and Daniela Zyman / TBA21. Sternberg Press, Berlin. EUR 36.

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Creating Worlds: Roundtable with Olafur Eliasson, Aurélien Barrau, Mirjam Schaub, and Daniela Zyman

November 20 2015, 5pm
Hosted on the occasion of the opening of OLAFUR ELIASSON – BAROQUE BAROQUE, the roundtable discussion explores different notions of world making. Eliasson, physicist Aurélien Barrau, philosopher Mirjam Schaub, and TBA21 curator Daniela Zyman come together to discuss creativity and knowledge production, as well as the expressive transgressions of reality and illusion that are evident both in the Baroque and in Eliasson’s work.

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The Danish Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson (born 1967) works in a wide variety of mediums, including installation, painting, sculpture, photography, and film. Since 1997 his critically acclaimed solo shows have appeared in major museums around the world, such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and Tate Modern, London, and in major international exhibitions such as the Venice Biennale. In 2003 The weather project, installed in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern, was seen by more than two million people. Eliasson’s projects in public spaces include Camera obscura für die Donau, Austria (2004); Your black horizon, commissioned by TBA21 and installed in a pavilion designed by David Adjaye at Lopud, Croatia (2005); The New York City Waterfalls (2008); Your rainbow panorama, a 150-meter circular colored-glass walkway situated on top of ARoS Museum in Aarhus, Denmark (2006–11); and Cirkelbroen (The circle bridge), Copenhagen (2015). In 2006 Eliasson was awarded the Austrian Frederick and Lillian Kiesler Prize for Architecture and Art.
Established in 1995, Eliasson’s Berlin studio today employs about ninety craftsmen, specialized technicians, architects, archivists, administrators, and cooks. They work with Eliasson to experiment and to develop and produce artworks and exhibitions, as well as to archive and communicate his work, digitally and in print. In addition to realizing artworks in-house, the studio contracts with structural engineers and other specialists and collaborates worldwide with cultural practitioners, policy makers, and scientists. It regularly hosts workshops and events in order to further artistic and intellectual exchanges with people and institutions outside the art world.

From 2009 to 2014 Eliasson led the Institut für Raumexperimente (Institute for Spatial Experiments), a fiveyear experiment in arts education affiliated with the Berlin University of the Arts. He is currently adjunct professor at the Alle School of Fine Arts and Design in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Since 2012 Eliasson has directed the social business Little Sun, together with the engineer Frederik Ottesen, which produces and distributes solar lamps for use in off-grid communities.

Eliasson lives and works in Copenhagen and Berlin.

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Founded in 2002 by Francesca Habsburg in Vienna, Thyssen-Bornemisza Art Contemporary (TBA21) represents the fourth generation of the Thyssen family’s commitment to the arts. The foundation is dedicated primarily to the commissioning and dissemination of ambitious, experimental, and unconventional projects that defy traditional categorizations. This approach has gained the collection a pioneering reputation throughout the world.
The foundation’s projects promote artistic practices that are architectural, context- and site-specific, performative, and often informed by an interest in social aesthetics and environmental concerns. Many of the projects reflect the shift to transdisciplinary practices embracing architecture, sound, music, and science. Francesca Habsburg has been collecting and supporting Olafur Eliasson for many years with great enthusiasm.
The Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy
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Originally built as a lavish stately residence for Prince Eugene of Savoy, then acquired in the eighteenth century by Empress Maria Theresa before being used for the Court Treasury and later as the Ministry of Finance, this Baroque jewel in Vienna’s city centre is a centre of art and culture once again. With the opening of the Belvedere’s fourth museum, Prince Eugene of Savoy’s most important rooms in his state apartment are now accessible to the public.
Building on the historical legacy and far-reaching impact of the cosmopolitan prince, a further important art hub has been established in Vienna’s city centre that is fed by interactions between the town and the garden palace – the Winter Palace and the Belvedere. They have now been reunited after more than 260 years. Following the first exhibition, dedicated to the prince on the occasion of his 350th birthday, the main aim is to create a dialogue between cultural heritage and contemporary art – an approach that has been realized with great success at some of the world’s great art institutions including the Belvedere Palace. The staterooms in Vienna’s Himmelpfortgasse have become a place of artistic encounter between the Baroque setting, the Belvedere’s collections, and contemporary art. Presentations are developed with direct reference to the site and the result is inspiring new artworks created in situ, drawing on the palace’s unique ambiance and history. Vital starting points are the city palace’s architecture, the prince’s former collections, and the holdings of the Belvedere.

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The Juan & Patricia Vergez Collection in Buenos Aires, Argentina was developed by Juan Vergez and Patricia Pearson-Vergez in the late 1980s. The collection initially focused on Argentinian artists of the 1960s and 1970s, and after many trips to Brazil and Europe it expanded its international focus. In 2006 they opened Tacuarí, a four-story building which used to be a former traditional ink factory in the center of Buenos Aires. Many Latin American and post-Wall European art as well as commissioned pieces from Argentine artists are shown and rotated at least once a year.
Tacuarí’s program focuses on fostering relationships between emerging Buenos Aires talents and well-known artist from around the world.

In 1999 Juan and Patricia Vergez purchased their first artwork by Olafur Eliasson, Yellow corridor (1997) at the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery after seeing a show called “Children of Berlin” at PS1.
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Art Contemporary
Scherzergasse 1A | 1020 Vienna
The Winter Palace
of Prince Eugene of Savoy
Himmelpfortgasse 8 | 1010 Vienna
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Thyssen Bornemisza Art Contemporary
Scherzergasse 1A, 1020 Vienna