Universalmuseum Joanneum GmbH

Alfred Hrdlicka and Fritz Martinz at the Neue Galerie Graz


The exhibition Hrdlicka/Martinz. “Call for Mistrust” opens on October 4th at the Neue Galerie Graz. The title is borrowed from Otto Breicha and Gerhard Fritsch’s 1967 anthology of the same name, which charted literature, visual art and music in Austria after 1945. Since Helmut Suschnigg’s donation in 2016, the Neue Galerie collection has included a large bundle of works by Alfred Hrdlicka (1928 Vienna – 2009 Vienna), making it the largest institutional collection of works by the artist in Austria. It includes monumental bronzes, drawings and a great number of graphic works. Fritz Martinz (1924 Bruck a. d. Mur – 2002 Vienna) began his career as an artist by studying under Rudolf Szyszkowitz at the Ortweinschule, yet today is almost unknown in his home region of Styria and little documented in the Neue Galerie Graz collection.

Sujet "Hrdlicka/Martinz",

Sujet "Hrdlicka/Martinz", Alfred Hrdlicka, Orpheus II, 1963 (detail), Neue Galerie Graz, UMJ (Schenkung Suschnigg) © Alfred Hrdlicka-Archive, Vienna: www.alfred-hrdlicka.com, Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/N. Lackner | Fritz Martinz, Läuferbild, 1968 (detail), Dorothea Martinz, © Bildrecht, Vienna, 2018, Photo: Thomas Mayr

Alongside Georg Eisler and Rudolf Schönwald, Hrdlicka and Martinz belong to a loose group of artists who practised a form of Realism (“Viennese Naturalism”) that served as a counterweight to the favoured trends of abstract painting and “Fantastic Realism”. They adopted a political stance of protest and resistance – an outcry expressed through art. Is protest art? This question arises not only with respect to contemporary forms of political activism within art, but also for Hrdlicka and Martinz’s generation. At that time they did not choose the direct path of agitation, but instead deliberately adhered to the formal codes of art (sculpture, painting, graphics).


The irrepressible power of art in general and its meaning for the society in question caused these artists to maintain certain conventions, and to undertake an attempt at their renewal. The show at the Neue Galerie Graz can also be seen as a memorial exhibition commemorating the beginning of Nazi rule in Austria 80 years ago as well as a reference to 1968 as a year of protest.  




Hrdlicka/Martinz. “Call for Mistrust”


Neue Galerie Graz, Joanneumsviertel, 8010 Graz



Further information about the opening as well as image material to download can be found on: Hrdlicka/Martinz