Considering the Collection & Cranach’s Holy Productivity An Insert by Klaus Scherübel

Lucas Cranach the Elder, The Holy Kinship, c 1510–1512
© Paintings Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna
Lucas Cranach the Elder, The Holy Kinship, c 1510–1512 © Paintings Gallery of the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna

Alongside highlights from Bosch to Rubens from the collection of the Paintings Gallery, the format Considering the Collection & ... launched in 2023 features works that relate to the Insert format, which has also just been introduced. These include for instance Pieter de Hooch’s Portrait of a Delft Family and Boys Playing Dice by Bartolomé Esteban Murillo. As part of these Inserts, various contemporary artists have chosen to engage with the Academy’s historical art collections. The second such artist to have been invited as part of the series is Austrian artist Klaus Scherübel, who lives in Montreal.

Based on his installations set in the museological genre of the Period Room and other conceptually related works where aspects of the image, publication, sculpture, architecture and the exhibition setting interact with one another, Klaus Scherübel’s current project for the Art Collections looks at the mode of representation of space and architecture in connection with questions of artistic self-representation and strategies of productivity. In this instance he uses the example of a work by Lucas Cranach the Elder, one of the foremost painters of the German Renaissance and Reformation.

Specifically, Scherübel focuses on the painting The Holy Kinship (1510/1512) from the Paintings Gallery collection, which Cranach created on the occasion of his marriage to the burgher’s daughter Barbara Brengbier. With a design characterised by strong portrait-like features, the painting is a distinctive exemplar within art history of a motif subsequently deployed well into the 17th century. Here, Cranach has depicted himself, his wife and his father-in-law in the roles of members of the Holy Kinship. Apart from the unorthodox intertwining of these two family portraits, with its overlap of religious themes with real social relationships and interests, Scherübel’s particular interest is on the painting’s architectural ‘framing’ and the setting in which the ‘Holy Kindship’ is situated. For him, this raises the question among others of whether and in what way these aspects are to be linked to the specific context in which the painting was created and the commercial aspect of Cranach’s image output.

Curators: Sabine Folie, Claudia Koch

Klaus Scherübel (*1968 in Bruck/Mur, lives in Montreal) worked as fashion designer in the late 1980s and studied at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, with Vivienne Westwood among others. Starting from a critical stance towards the fashion system, Scherübel developed a Conceptual art and Institutional critique oriented practice, operating at the intersections of art and affiliated disciplinary fields such as literature, theater, film, architecture, etc. Within his work, Scherübel adopts various roles – as an artist at work, an editor, a curator, a sponsor – to engage in a performative way with the conditions and the history of the artistic production, presentation, and reception. His œuvre encompasses expansive installations, including a dialogical relationship with photography, printmaking, painting, time-based media and text. The book plays a central role both as object and concept, hereof a relevant book has to be mentioned, Klaus Scherübel edited – Mallarmé, Das Buch, Cologne 2001. The book has been published in several languages and has become a reference in the field of artist books. He published a survey on this work in 2011 entitled Klaus Scherübel VOL. 13. Since 2013, he has been creating architectural sculptures dedicated to the preservation and expansion of Martin Kippenberger's METRO-Net project.

His work has been exhibited internationally, including the Leopold-Hoesch-Museum, Düren (2023); VOX, centre de l’Image contemporaine, Montreal (2019, 2016); Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien, Graz (2016); mumok, Vienna (2015, 2012); Centro Universitário Maria Antonia USP, São Paulo (2014); S.M.A.K., Ghent (2009); MoMA PS1, New York (2009); Generali Foundation, Vienna (2008).



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