Amédée Ozenfant, Nombreux objets, 1927
Reading Time in Space
Modernism at mumok
mumok / Nov 16, 2019 – April 13, 2020
Vienna, Austria

This exhibit Reading Time in Space / Modernism at mumok 1910 to 1955 traces passages of time and artistic concepts, accounting the idea of an expanded concept of art, one that relies on connection and permeation beyond a traditional chronological order.

In recent years, mumok’s classical modernism collection was shown under ever-changing thematic contexts. This year’s presentation deals with the myriad developments of modernism, its chronologies, and various – even contemporary – attempts at historicization.

One of the exhibition’s conceptual jumping-off points is the question of how the avant-gardes were perceived in the early twentieth century: Is modernism a historical period? The first documenta exhibitions (1955 and 1959) significantly shaped our view of this time. In 1955, a “cleansed” modernism (Walter Grasskamp) was presented under the slogan “Abstraction as a World Language” – a modernism that, while offering a historical perspective, factored out the historical events that came along with it. The exhibition at mumok counters this with the question: Which view was propagated by artists and curators in the 1920s? Four historical projects serve as reference points. All of them not only strove for an overall presentation of modernism but also posed central questions to art and its tasks as well as to its presentation in the gallery space.