Supporting programme for the Kunsthalle Wien exhibition “Beton”
The combination guided tour (in German!) starts with the exhibition “a_show. Austrian Architecture in the 20th and 21st Centuries”. “Liquid stone”, as it is sometimes referred to, is firmly anchored in 20th century Austrian building culture. “Béton brut”, fair-faced concrete, is increasingly losing ground in direct competition with the ubiquitous polystyrene packaging — a look at the recent past is worth taking. The designs range from utopian, even dystopian, architectural sculptures to strictly modular systems.
Contemporary art, however, has been increasingly directing its gaze at post-war urban planning for quite a while, and reviving its euphoria. In the exhibition “Béton” at the Kunsthalle Wien the focus is on artists’ engagement with the social and ideological implications of past and present concrete architecture. Concrete is progressive and can do more than merely enclose space.