Bernhard Leitner

1938 (Feldkirch)

Bernhard Leitner, born in 1938 (Austria), studied architecture at Vienna University of Technology. He lived in New York from 1968 to 1983, working first at the Department of City Planning, then as Associate Professor at the New York University.

1983–1986 in Berlin. 1987–2005 Professor of ‘Cross-Media Art’ at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna.

Bernhard Leitner’s work dates back to his artistic research work during his early days in New York, that is to say, to his bodily, acoustic studies (1969–1974) to experiencing spaces designed, shaped and composed with sound. In addition to the haptic qualities of sound such as lightness, weight, fullness, three-dimensional movements of the acoustic material sound shape new spaces of time. His sound spaces create new dimensions of aesthetic experience and perception.

The scale of his work ramges from large permanent installations (Le Cylindre Sonore in Paris, Sound Space at Berlin University of Technology) to body-based sculptues (Sound Chair, Vertical Space for one Person, Firmament) and the Head Spaces, designed and shaped for the inside of the head.


Exhibitions (selection):

PS 1, New York City, 1979. Neuburger Museum Purchase (Soundings), 1981. documenta 7, Kassel, 1982. Ars electronica, 1982.

Biennale Venice, 1986. Berlin Academy of Arts (Sonambiente), 1996 and 2006.

Nationalgalerie Berlin, 1999. Kunsthalle Bremen, 2000. Donaueschinger Musiktage, 2003 and 2009. Hamburger Bahnhof, Nationalgalerie Berlin, Museum für Gegenwart, 2008. Berlin University of Technology, Wave Field H 104, 2010.


Publications (selection):

Sound Architecture – Space created through traveling sound, ARTFORUM, New York, March 1971. Sound:Space, New York 1978. Geometry of Sound, Ostfildern-Ruit 1997. Sound:Space, Ostfildern-Ruit 1998. Resonanzen. Aspekte der Klangkunst, (ed.) Bernd Schulz, Kehrer Verlag, 2002. .P.U.L.S.E., Hatje Cantz and ZKM Karlsruhe, 2008.

Wittgenstein’s Architecture, in: Artforum 2/1970. – The Architecture of Ludwig Wittgenstein, Halifax 1974, New York 1975. – Das Wittgenstein Haus, HatjeCantz and Princeton Architectural Press, 2000.


1999 Prize of the City of Vienna for Visual Arts. 2002 Merit Prize for Media Art, Province of Lower Austria. 2002 Special Prize of the Deutscher Klangkunst Prize. 2007 Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge Prize, Berlin