It’s the same look a thousand times
through the window at my world play.
An apple tree in the pale green,
and above thousands of blossoms,
resting against the sky like this,
a band of clouds, which stretches far…
the afternoon cries of children,
as if the world were just childhood;
a wagon creaks, an old man stands
and waits for his day to pass by.
From the chimney atop the roof
our smoke faintly drifts to the clouds .
The chickens feed, the roosters crow –
yes. nothing but strange people walk
in the sunshine, year in, year out,
walking on by our old homeplace.
The laundry flutters on the line
over which you dream being happy,
in the cellar a poor man weeps,
for he can no longer sing a song…
It’s more or less like this by day,
and with each new toll of the bell
there is the same look a thousand times
through the window at my world play.

Thomas Bernhard, Mein Weltenstück (My World Play), 1952

Hardly any other motif offers artists as much room for experimentation as the window. Windows have a long history in art, they stand as a separation between an inside and an outside, are located between reality and illusion or between the real and the virtual world. A window can reflect the world and its viewer or can be blind. It can be seen as an image within an image, and stimulates the reflection on painting itself. And the window metaphor can be applied to our contemporary media world: television and the computer as windows on the world – the real or the pseudo-real.

The significance of the window is immediately obvious: due to its flatness, its frame, its grid-like internal structure as well as its transparency, the window lends itself to fundamental interpretations. At the interface between an interior and an exterior space, the window allows the view from a private space to the outside – as a picture window – and the view to the inside as a shop window. Thus, Leonardo da Vinci called the eye the window of the soul, and the Brothers Grimm the window resembles an eye of the house, the eye a window of the body.

The exhibition, whose title refers to Thomas Bernhard’s very first poem “Mein Weltenstück” (“My World Play”) published in the Vienna Merkur in 1952, looks at the works of artists, such as Katherine Bradford, Lois Dodd, Anna Grath, Michelle Jezierski, Maximilian Kirmse, Karin Kneffel, Aubrey Levinthal, Danielle Orchard, Norbert Schwontkowski, Fabian TreiberSophie Treppendahl, and Yuri Yuan to explore how the preoccupation with the window as a motif is reflected in their works and why it has lost none of its relevance to this day.

>>> Artist talk with Sophie Treppendahl

>>> Artist talk with Yuri Yuan

>>> Artist talk with Fabian Treiber

>>> Artist talk with Katherine Bradford