prenninger gespräche

Sculptures in Exile

Prenning’s Garten encompasses a guesthouse, the KulturPension Prenning, and the historical building known as Landhaus Feuerlöscher, which also carries the symbolic name “House of the Resistance.” During the period of Austrian fascism and National Socialism it housed a group of intellectuals and artists who engaged in civil resistance against the regime.

For the past ten years the nonprofit organization prenninger gespräche has been dedicated to cultivating this historical memory. In conjunction with steirischer herbst ’19, Prenning’s Garten hosts the exhibition Sculptures in Exile, presenting objects that had no designated place when they were created. The tour through the open-air exhibition comprises ten stations, where the history of each individual object is told. The aim is to offer these works a permanent place in Prenning’s Garten once the festival is over.

Station 1
Langer Atem

On Tiananmen Square in 1989 students erected a sculpture made of lightweight materials, the Goddess of Democracy. The demonstration was struck down with bloody force by the communist system, and the statue was destroyed. Carrying the ideas inherent to the sculpture forward, zweintopf rebuilds it in the garden. Here democracy stands as a fragile framework that must be tirelessly maintained by all.

Station 2
Joachim Baur
Return—Give Back the Gold of the Earth

In 2013 Joachim Baur commemorated the victims of the Nazi concentration camps with a symbolic action. As atonement he returned the gold that was removed from the prisoners—and that most likely still circulates as recycled gold—to the earth in the form of a melted-down nugget. A stele marks its burial place.

Station 3
Bazon Brock
All This Thinking Leaves Its Traces

Bazon Brock’s intellectual world is centered around the relationship between spirituality and rationality. His Denkerei, a place for culture innovation that existed in Berlin for eight years, closed its doors in April 2019. Since then it has functioned as a mobile cultural institution, which through Brock’s stay in Prenning left behind a personal footprint and offers an open invitation for discussion during steirischer herbst ’19.

Station 4
Joachim Baur
Bubbling Well, Lapping Waves, Burning Mind

Joachim Baur’s phonetically inspired work plays on the similarity between the words Brunnen (well) and Brennen (burn) in German, and it brings together a kind of “bubbling up from the depths” and a way of tapping energy from water and fire that defies nature. The work entails references to the local Übelbach, a stream and life-giving source of water, and the courage to support civil resistance.

Station 5
Ernst Logar
Monument to My Grandfather, Resistance Fighter

Ernst Logar has created a transportable monument to his grandfather and his fellow sufferers, who were shot for committing high treason shortly before the end of World War II. The work finds temporary exile in Prenning’s Garten. In 2014 he used this work as part of his artistic action Ort der Unruhe (Place of Unrest), in which he demonstrated in front of the Rossauer Barracks in Vienna. Up until now he has been unable to find a permanent location for the monument.

Station 6
Josef Schützenhöfer
Liberation Marker

Josef Schützenhöfer was unsuccessful in his attempts to have a plaque added to the war memorial in Pöllau in eastern Styria to commemorate the fallen American pilots who helped free Austria from the Nazis. A memorial sculpture was erected on the grounds of the Pöllau Castle, but it was vandalized multiple times and is now on view in Prenning’s Garten.

Station 7
Ed Gfrerer
Flight of Stairs

The sculpture associates the memory of the Prenninger Kreis (Prenninger Group) members who were forced to flee in 1938 and the more recent demolition of the emergency stairs that ran up the exterior of the landmark student dormitory located on Hafnerriegel. As the first exposed concrete building in Graz, the dormitory was exemplary of the 1960s and was built by Werkgruppe Graz. Members of the Prenninger Kreis fled to places including Trieste, Berlin, Sofia, Paris, Istanbul, Zurich, Rio de Janeiro, and Los Angeles.

Station 8
Richard Kriesche
Seeing Eye-to-Eye with Mary

To mark the year Graz was the European Cultural Capital in 2003, Richard Kriesche set up a glass elevator that was as high as the statue of Mary at the top of the column in the center of the square Am Eisernen Tor. His idea was to offer visitors the opportunity to experience something that had been reserved for a select few. The elevator was later taken down, purchased by the city of Hartberg, and arrived at its current location in the Ökopark. A plaque owned by the artist explains the significance of the project.

Station 9
Prenninger Kreis

During the Nazi period the villa owned by the Feuerlöscher family became a meeting point for the Prenninger Kreis and thus also a haven for artists and writers. This group of individuals who were persecuted, prohibited from publishing, forced to emigrate, jailed, or even executed are commemorated through their portraits and biographies. The nonprofit organization prenninger gespräche addresses the theme of civil resistance through exhibitions, publications, and artistic activities.

Station 10
Herbert Eichholzer, Anna-Lülja Praun, and Karl Ritter

KulturPension Prenning invites visitors to view a collection of wooden toys that was first shown in the Grazer Kunstgewerbemuseum in 1935. It is unusual that at the time artists studied how to design “good toys,” which even then were considered to have completely disappeared from the market. The intention is to reproduce the original series, which is now in a private collection.



Prenning’s Garten
Übelbacherstraße 161
8121 Deutschfeistritz

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Open by appointment only. 
To arrange a visit, please call
t +43 (0)664 411 36 68.

Free admission
Sturdy footwear is advised

Opening and performance: 7.9., 17:00
Installing the sculpture Langer Atem

Tours with the curators: 
13.9., 20.9., 27.9., 16:00

Artists talk: 13.10., 16:00

Artists: Joachim Baur, Bazon Brock, Ed Gfrerer, Richard Kriesche, artist group Herbert Eichholzer, Anna-Lülja Praun †, Karl Ritter †, Ernst Logar, Prenninger Kreis, Josef Schützenhöfer, and zweintopf
Curated by Günter Eisenhut, Eugen Gross, and Emil Gruber

In cooperation with prenninger gespräche, Steirische Kulturinitiative, and Universitätskulturzentrum UNIKUM Klagenfurt

Supported by steirischer herbst ’19