Due to the corona-situation, all Wien Museum locations are currently closed.

 

FACE IT!
Reactions to an Exhibition

10 September 2020 to 10 January 2021

Wien Museum Karlsplatz Open Air
1040 Vienna, Karlsplatz 8
P: +43 (0)1 505 87 47

The Wien Museum opened its Face It! Portraits from Spring 2020 exhibition at the beginning of September. On display were photographs by Elodie Grethen, who was commissioned by the Wien Museum to create portraits of people wearing face masks in the months between April and June 2020. In addition, Peter Stuiber conducted interviews about sitters’ personal experiences of the situation during the lockdown and in the following weeks.

We were expecting direct reactions to the exhibition mounted on the building site fence, a kind of engagement that is always a part of outdoor exhibitions. After all, the topic of masks (and other anti-Covid-19 measures) was already hotly contested during the spring. Beyond that, an opposition to the measures had emerged both virtually and in reality with the aim of gaining public attention for its views. Reactions to the exhibition reflect this radicalization of the debate. During the first weeks isolated critical comments were written on parts of the exhibition, which the museum deliberately chose not to remove. Occasionally, the museum had to replace defaced photos. But in October, the exhibition was completely destroyed on repeated occasions, especially on weekends when demonstrations against Covid measures took place in the city center.

How should a museum deal with these kinds of “expression of opinions”? Originally, the exhibition lining the building site fence was planned to run until the beginning of January 2021. But out of consideration for the people who made themselves available for this documentary series, the Wien Museum will display the photographs and statements exclusively online from this point forward. This “virtual exhibition" ensures that the public will continue to have access to the content while also making sure that the people portrayed no longer become the target of anonymous personal attacks at the building site fence.


Face it! Portraits from Spring 2020
Photographs by Elodie Grethen
Interviews by Peter Stuiber

Spring 2020: Within a very short period of time, Covid-19 changes our lives radically. We see our world differently, meet each other "at a distance." Photographer Elodie Grethen captures the most visible sign of the pandemic, the face mask, creating portraits people wearing mouth-nose protection. The commission by the Wien Museum is accompanied with interviews, capturing the sitters’ individual experiences of the situation: Do people feel safe or threatened? Which protective measures are considered appropriate? How does the pandemic affect one’s professional and private life?

The 18 portraits are made between April and June 2020, from the time of a the strict lockdown to the gradual reopening of Austrian society. Grethen's photos not only show folks working in the newly recognized "systemically relevant" professions, but from all parts of the population. The personalities behind the masks convey restraint and seriousness as well as confidence and humor. The result is a kaleidoscope of everyday life in Vienna between states of emergency and tenuous routine: snapshots from a moment that had seemed inconceivable only a short while ago.

FACE IT!
Reactions to an Exhibition - Information

Press comments

„Die Künstlerin Elodie Grethen hat mit 18 Porträts aus dem Lockdown ein Stück Zeitgeschichte eingefangen.“
Eva Walisch, Die Presse, 10.9.2020

„Es ist Zeitgeschichte, die ab 10. September vor dem Wien Museum am Karlsplatz gezeigt wird. […] Viele Geschichten waren bewegend. Etwa jene des Augustin-Verkäufers, der zwei Wochen in einem Obdachlosenheim in Quarantäne war und dem zudem seine Habseligkeiten gestohlen wurden. Das setzt vieles in Relation", sagt Karadensky (Karina Karadensky, Produktionsleiterin, Anm. d. Red.). Homeoffice zum Beispiel.“
Katharina Zach, Kurier, 4.9.2020

„Künstlerin fordert zum Hinsehen auf – In der Porträt-Serie "Face it!", die ab Donnerstag am Bauzaun öffentlich zu sehen ist, legt Grethen die Erfahrungen der 18 Menschen mit dem Lockdown offen. Die bewusst frontale Komposition fordert die Betrachter auf, sich mit den Lebenswelten der Menschen auseinanderzusetzen. Unterschiede wie Gemeinsamkeiten werden so auf eine ausdrucksstarke Weise offenkundig.“
Simona Pinwinkler, Salzburger Nachrichten, 16.02.2020

„Maskenschau am Museumszaun – Das Wien Museum wird umgebaut, doch das setzt kreativen Köpfen keine Grenze. […] Porträtserie „Face it“ von Elodie Grethen und Peter Stuiber, die auf den Bildern beeindruckende Persönlichkeiten hinter der Maske zeigt.“
Kronen Zeitung, 9.9.2020

„18 Porträts von Stadtbewohnerinnen und – bewohnern mit Mund-Nasen-Schutz als Dokumente einer „sehr eigenartigen Zeit“ sind in einer neuen Schau vor dem Wien Museum zu sehen. […] Sie werden unter freiem Himmel am Rande der hauseigenen Großbaustelle am Karlsplatz gezeigt. […] Während Elodie Grethen fotografierte und versuchte, trotz Distanz „Menschlichkeit“ in ihre Bilder zu bekommen, […] führte Peter Stuiber Interviews darüber, wie die Menschen mit den radikalen Veränderungen im Alltagsleben umgehen. Somit kann man als Betrachterin oder Betrachter der großformatigen Porträts parallel auch über die persönlichen Erfahrungen, Ängste und Hoffnungen der Protagonisten – von Polizist bis Supermarktangestellte, von Lehrer bis Cafe-Kellnerin, von Augustin-Verkäufer bis Busfahrerin – lesen.“
ORF.at, 9.9.2020

„Baustelle beim Wien Museum wird Ausstellungsort – Die Fotografien sind wichtige Zeitdokumente, erklärt Wiens Kulturstadträtin Veronica Kaup-Hasler anlässlich der Ausstellungseröffnung.“ 
Ö2 Wien / Stadtjournal, 9.9.2020

Main Sponsor of the Wien Museum

Wiener Stadtwerke
www.wienerstadtwerke.at