Since 2005 a former drugstore (Drogerie) in Vienna’s 18th district is used as an openspace and artist´s workshop. In 2012 for several months they converted one third of their project room into a public space accessible 24/7. Instead of the art leaving the exhibition room to the public space to reach a larger audience, the public space was just extended into the gallery. This meant more people, especially those with less contact with contemporary art, were attracted than in the years before. This also primed them for our occupation of the sidewalk in 2013 and the loss of two parking spaces in 2014. Because cars are the dominant element of the Gentzgasse, whether parked or driving, it´s difficult to show that there might be another use or co-existing space management. In the last few years several salesrooms on Kulturdrogerie’s street have become garages and with this development semi-public space has gotten lost, changing the architecture and living environment of the street. The Kulturdrogerie has reflected this transformation since the beginning of their exhibition activities in 2005. Drogerini – Park die Kunst! and the previous two continued this discourse and brought it into the public space. Every year three exhibitions from various artists and curators explore the possibilities of these different platforms and the special situation they can exhibit. Over the last two years these exhibitions have drawn in a new audience and made them familiar with contemporary art.
“Drogerini – Park die Kunst”
In 2014 we extended our exhibition space to the parking area in front of the former drugstore. Drogerini – Park the Art serves as a counter-proposal to current parking space management. A white podium measuring 10m x 1.7m x 5cm stands out visually from the adjacent parking spaces and extends the exhibition space of the Kulturdrogerie. The “passages” of the two previous projects open up to a podium. Three shows concentrate on the interaction of private and public exhibitions situations: the exhibition of authoress Radka Denemarková (Prague) and artist Imre Nagy (Vienna) in June, the exhibition of performance artist Lilo Nein (Vienna) will deal with the project “Drogerini”, and finally the two artists Markus Hiesleitner and Franz Tišek (Vienna) realized a joint project. Drogerini – Park die Kunst will continue until the end of September 2014.
Sidewalk as white tube
Following the drugstore passage, a new exhibition concept under the title “sidewalk as white tube” was formed in 2013 at “Kulturdrogerie”. We reflect the drugstore passage from the year 2012 to the sidewalk in front of “Kulturdrogerie”, and thus temporarily expand the scope of our action. We make the public space our own and “neutralize” it. The expanded exhibition space causes the city architecture to fade into the background and the sidewalk, which due to the edge of its curb already has a stage-like character, becomes an art space. Three exhibitions were presented in the extended “white tube” of the “Kulturdrogerie”. We invited the curators Jacob Racek (Berlin), Ursula Maria Probst (Vienna) and Omar Mirza (Bratislava) for the exhibition program.
In 2012 a part of the Kulturdrogerie was declared as public space: “Art for All, anytime!”. We separated one third of the project space, reiterating the drugstore passage with the dimensions 10m x 1.7m x 2.4m. We removed the front door of the “Kulturdrogerie”, visually expanding the sidewalk inwardly. This way, we created a new exhibition space within the public space, accessible 24/7, from May to October 2012. The drugstore passage, also called the “white tube” due to its shape and form, blocked out the rear part of the “Kulturdrogerie” and thus continued the tradition of the “white cube” exhibition space. In May, the void drugstore passage was opened as an artistic concept of Hiesleitner / Tišek. One after another, three artist groups from Berlin, Bratislava and Vienna addressed the exhibition situation and designed works for the drugstore passage, which they presented in a series of exhibitions through October.
Artspace “Kulturdrogerie” Vienna
Find more information on kulturdrogerie.org
Parking Day & debates around public space: http://wesa.fm/post/parking-day-encourages-discussion-public-space-use