Markus Wilfling

Welcome, 2013


With Welcome, the winning project in a competition held by the Institute for Public Art, Markus Wilfling not only created a meeting-place, he also focuses on the ephemeral nature of our existence, illustrating and encouraging the permeability and permissibility of communication and diversity in a playful and, at the same time, serious and precise form.


The project was already initiated in 2006 by Hermann Glettler, in whose parish of St. Andrä, situated in a part of the city with a high percentage of migrants, he has for many years been carrying out social and artistic initiatives designed to foster the peaceful coexistence of different cultures. With the participation of the "Vinzinest", the "Büro der Nachbarschaften", and local residents, we are now pleased to announce that this project has now finally become a reality.


Based on the shape of a big top, upright posts and tarpaulins were reduced, lightweight and transparent, to their essence, on the one hand incorporating the surrounding architecture and opening gates, and, on the other, offering shelter and inviting people to dwell despite this opening. The tent is crowned by two coloured globes linking local and global thought. Visitors can sit around an oval table on wooden furniture designed and built by the artist.


Since our childhood days, we associate circus with light, wonderment, immersing oneself in other cultures and their special features, amazing physical ability and exotic alternate worlds. In pictures and films, think James Ensor or Federico Fellini, for example, lightness and playfulness – as peaceful exploration of encounters – appear to contrast with rigid norms in this alternate draft to social conventions, accompanied by mutual acceptance and respect. The aim is to explore new possibilities of living together. This is accomplished not without hard work, but also with humour. The clown, also vested with subversive strategy, is one of the key figures in circus. The result that opens up before us is a circus ring of undreamed-of possibilities. Circus, then, stands as much for harsh reality as for surreality, the unconscious world of dreams, from which we can explore and carry out possible solutions to living together.


Circus has always held a strong attraction for artists – and Wilfling is now bringing this back in a concrete form. For the essence of the tent concept is not only symbolic, but also an actual, movable place. A tent, that works in all cultures, stands for open structure.

While, as a real form, the work makes reference to architecture, it is in fact a sculpture, that is both autonomous and invites instructions for action.


In terms of its furnishings, sculpture becomes furniture and leaves the realm of symbolism for the domain of practicability. Hence, the work not only opens up in terms of its psychological effect, but also explicitly invites exchange and dialogue.


Opening: 28.04.2013, 11.30 am


Meeting point: Kernstockgasse 9, 8020 Graz 


Speakers: Dr. Elisabeth Fiedler - Head of the Institute for Art in Public Space, Lisa Rücker - Municipal Councillor, Dr. Christian Buchmann - Provincial Councillor for Cultural Affairs


Art in Public Space

Marienplatz 1/1
8020 Graz, Österreich
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