For the past 20 years the evn collection has focused its attention on the most cutting-edge of art: through acquisitions, commissions and accompanying publications, the collection of the Lower-Austrian energy provider EVN has established itself as one of Austria’s most important corporate art collections, one that today represents a thematically and medially diverse group of some 300 works.
From the very beginning the unique feature of the evn collection has been its collecting concept: forgoing the safe terrain of a collection emphasis, it focuses on the contemporaneity of the acquired artworks. The Arts Council of the evn collection has not only demonstrated an interest in exploring current artistic developments and a feeling for contemporary relevance; it has also shown foresight: Maurizio Cattelan’s stuffed rabbit with lion’s eyes, Richard I, purchased in 1996, was the first work acquired for the collection – at a time when Cattelan was just launching his international career. Occasionally, established voices are added to the choir as well, provided they are relevant for the contemporary discourse; otherwise the five-member board is interested primarily in current works by local as well as international artists.
On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the evn collection, highlights of the collection will be shown at the Kunsthalle Krems, which is also celebrating its 20th birthday. Unlike earlier presentations of the collection (in 2000 at the Belvedere and in 2005 at the mumok), this exhibition does not represent an external view of the collection, nor does it apply a thematic filter; instead, the medial backbone of the exhibition “course” is provided by video works by Mircea Cantor, Sonia Leimer, Dorit Margreiter, Christian Philipp Müller, Emilie Pitoiset, Florian Pumhösl, Anri Sala, Markus Schinwald, Ann-Sofi Sidén, Milica Tomić, Kay Walkowiak and Clemens von Wedemeyer. Incorporated into this structure are associative works from the collection that enter into a dialogue with the presented video works. Markus Schinwald’s exhibition design, which is as unconventional as it is convincing, makes use of lines of vision and overlapping background noises. This runs counter to the separation of film works in a classic video course and facilitates interconnections between the works in terms of content and form.
Independent of this video course, a separate area of the exhibition is devoted to the structural polyphony of the collection, which is demonstrated by an eclectic selection of works reflecting the personal approach of the advisory board. In addition to the current and former advisory board of the evn collection, it is the curator team of the Kunsthalle Krems, along with staff of the EVN, that selects and presents works from the collection according to specific criteria. Passion and enthusiasm for art thus reveal themselves as a fundamental driving force behind the collection.
Along with the previously named artists, Pawel Althamer, Lutz Bacher, Josef Bauer, Karla Black, Maurizio Cattelan, Olga Chernysheva, Clegg & Guttmann, Carola Dertnig, Mark Dion, Jimmie Durham, Fischli/Weiss, Vadim Fiškin, Liam Gillick, Douglas Gordon, Sakshi Gupta, Carsten Höller, Szymon Kobylarz, Anita Leisz, Thomas Locher, Christian Mayer, Christoph Meier, Marzena Nowak, Christodoulos Panayiotou, Elizabeth Peyton, Andreas Slominski, Nedko Solakov, Jasper Spicero with Bunny Rogers, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Adrien Tirtiaux, Rosemarie Trockel, Andra Ursuta, Nadim Vardag, Franz Erhard Walther and Lois Weinberger are also represented by works attesting to the polyfocal character of the evn collection.
The presentation of the evn collection in the Kunsthalle Krems not only reflects the enormous diversity of works within the collection; it also offers nothing less than an insight into the international art scene over the past 20 years. As with the previous presentations of the evn collection, this exhibition also takes its title from a work in the collection: Karla Black’s Now, At The Latest.