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VBKÖ Vienna

Exhibition Design & Communication Design

The Austrian Association of Women Artists was formed in the early 19th Century to emancipate female artists from the male predominance in the Viennese art world. The women’s strategies, to face artistic and economic independence, were presented in an exhibition in 2015. A fabric-spanned display was the center piece of the exhibition curated by Barbara Steiner.

Exhibiting, building, reactivating,… The ever-changing social and economical conditions kept female artists constantly busy adapting their strategies. Although the Austrian Association of Women Artists seemed invisible for some time, it still exists today and shows emancipatory intentions.

The exhibition “Female Art” highlighted former strategies of female artists to make a living: from selling their art, renting it, trading it or using events like 5 ‘o clock teas to connect and present. The exhibition itself was a research project, lead by Barbara Steiner. It was the second in a row of exhibitions that highlighted different female artist associations in Vienna.

Entrance area with open door through which the exhibition display can be seen
Detail of exhibition graphic with aluminum frame, with inscription "self-empowerment" in black on mint green background
The raw construction of the exhibition display of aluminum frames that interlock to create a space-filling installation

The exhibition design was an installation: somewhat art itself, information carrier, and display. Framed fabric refer to the history itself as the exhibitions tight budget. Strong center piece is the usage of different historic and contemporary fonts. The typographic concept show the variety of the challenges the women had to deal with back then.

Typography was used to show the varying history of the institution. Different historical and contemporary fonts highlight the variety of important events and issues of the association.

Sketch for the exhibition display with exhibition graphic and text as a top view
Reading area in the exhibition with table and armchair in front of old fashioned barred windows
Various exhibition posters and artworks hanging side by side on a wall

"The art of the woman" by Esther Straganz (bottom right). Christmas show with works by Esther Straganz (left) and Elke Auer (top right).

Several issues of the exhibition brochure standing in a row on a shelf
Top view of the exhibition display with differently arranged aluminum frames horizontally and vertically