created with
Utopia and Monument I
On the validity of art between privatisation and the public sphere
61% visual arts
39% public space

Utopias and monuments: both have come up for tough, critical analysis in recent years, challenging or even fighting against their validity. Contemporary artists working in and with the public space have increasingly replaced their works with objects of communication and action, thus developing a kind of public practice that sets out to annul the contradiction between art and the public sphere, at least to some extent.
But that which we call the public space has itself changed drastically over the past twenty years, becoming the plaything of various, above all economic, interests. With the effect that all contradictions that really condition the public sphere and that are negotiated in it (or driven out of it) now need to be reformulated – along with the possibilities of manipulation available to art.
So what is the validity of art – is it still a relevant field of social debate at all? Can the public sphere still be recovered as a space for debates of equal validity, for talk, opinions and interests, given that it is above all commercially governed? “Utopia and Monument” – conceived as a two-year project at steirischer herbst – picks up the question of the validity of systems of value, provocatively negotiating two concepts that have largely vanished from the debate on the public sphere: utopia as a space of possibility and the monument as a space of memory. For both are gateways to possible other forms of organisation of the public sphere that allow us to ask, again and again, who really owns the public sphere.

The project is dedicated to the memory of Hartmut Skerbisch (1945 – 2009).

Artists / Projects

Michael Zinganel
The city speaks! A fictitious dialogue

David Maljkovic
Without Title

Ayse Erkmen
Pleasant Corners

Andreas Siekmann
Trickle Down. The public space in the age of its privatisation

Dolores Zinny / Juan Maidagan
Curtain Call for Graz

Lara Almarcegui
Hidden terrain with abandoned allotments

Nairy Baghramian
Aufbauhelfer (Construction Helper)

Kooperative für Darstellungspolitik

Nils Norman
Public Workplace Playground Sculpture for Graz

Heather und Ivan Morison
You forget things

Commissioned by steirischer herbst
Project sponsor Think!

25/09 - 18/10

Fri 25/09, 6 pm
Vernissage at the exhibition pavilion

public space:

Exhibition Pavilion: Platz der Freiwilligen Schützen / Bad zur Sonne
Lara Almarcegui (E/NL),
Nairy Baghramian (IR/D),
Ayse Erkmen (TR/D), Kooperative für Darstellungspolitik (Jesko Fezer, Anita Kaspar & Andreas Müller) (D), David Maljkovic (HR/D), Heather und Ivan Morison (TR/GB), Nils Norman (GB), Andreas Siekmann (D), Michael Zinganel (A) & Dolores Zinny/Juan Maidagan (AR/D)

Curated by
Sabine Breitwieser (A)