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“Unknown Familiars” exhibition opened in Vienna, 80 artworks by Serbian artists exhibited in the Leopold Museum

On the occasion of the 200th anniversary of the Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein, an exhibition entitled as “Unknown Familiars” was opened on May 7th at the prestigious Leopold Museum in Vienna, featuring certain parts from the art collections of Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) and Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein.

With fifty insurance companies in thirty countries, this leading insurance group in Central and Eastern Europe has a total of six corporate art collections that are coming together for the first time in this exhibition with their different focal points and history of development. In this respect, they are unknown familiars – related, but who have never met before.

The exhibition presents the collections of the companies Wiener Städtische Versicherungsverein, Wiener Städtische Versicherung, Donau Versicherung, Czech Kooperative, Serbian Wiener Städtische Osiguranje, as well as Latvian BTA Baltic.

At the opening of the exhibition, the director of the Leopold Museum Hans Peter Wipplinger, the president of the Executive Board of the Wiener Städtische Wechselseitige Robert Lasshofer, the curators of the exhibition Philippe Batka and Vanessa Joan Muller greeted the attendees. The member of the executive board of “Wiener Städtische osiguranje” Svetlana Smiljanić was present also.

The setting occupies the entire floor around the Lower Atrium, encompassing over 200 works of different genres from different periods. Young contemporary art meets the modernism of the interwar period; the avant-garde of the 1970s meets important positions of the Austrian present. Starting with the collection of the Czech company Kooperativa, which is represented by a selection of artworks from the period from 1900s to 1950s, a network of thematic and stylistic references is being developed, which continues in dialogue and selective overlap with artworks from other collections. Together with the BTA Baltic collection, Austrian collections cover a wide range from classical modernism to current contemporary practices. The Wiener Städtische Versicherung collection includes the artworks of Gustav Klimt and Oskar Kokoschka, representatives of their time, which the Leopold Museum also preserves, and also extends through the 20th century to the recent works of younger artists living in Vienna.

The Wiener Städtische Osiguranje from Serbia collection reflects primarily on the events of the Yugoslav avant-garde scene in the second half of the 20th century. 80 exhibited artworks from the Serbian Wiener Art collection of contemporary art incorporate paintings, installations, photographs, video works and sculptures – true masterpieces of the domestic scene, which did not fall behind from the world trends, but, in some cases, went ahead of them. We mean of the artworks of 15 artists such as Vladan Radovanović, group Dei Leči from Novi Sad (Bora Vitorac and Dragan Pavlov), representatives of the Belgrade conceptual scene – Dragoljub Raša Todosijević, Zoran Popović, Neša Paripović, Radomir Damjanović Damjan, Zoran Naskovski, but also female artists such as Mira Brtka, Milena Čubraković, Ana Bešlić.

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Even if individual artworks in an exhibition can be classified as historical surrealism in a strict meaning, surreal can be found in a number of objects in the exhibition, regardless of when they were created. Surrealism is also the invisible prism of the exhibition, which allows very different collections to appear in unexpected groups in artistic-historical periods and media.

Supported by an associative designed exhibition route, the exhibition is organized in a circular manner and can be explored from the central Lower Atrium through each of the four halls in equal measure.

The exhibition Unknown Familiars will be open until October 6th this year, and is curated by Philippe Batka and Vanessa Joan Müller.

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