Skip to content Skip to footer

Steirischer Herbst 2022: A War in the Distance

September 22–October 16, 2022

Prologue—An Embattled Ukraine in Video Art and Film: June 1–August 1
Neue Galerie Graz, Joanneumsviertel, 8010 Graz, Austria

Prologue—artists talks and panel discussions: July 1, 1–6:30pm
Neue Galerie Graz

The history of Steirischer Herbst is marked by war. Early iterations were overshadowed by the Cold War, whereas later iterations coincided with the Yugoslav Wars happening directly next door. The latest addition to this lengthy list of conflicts looming in the distance is Russia’s aggressiveness in Ukraine, which painfully reawakens memories of World Wars I and II.

However, there are still times when it seems as though wars and even conflicts have no place in this pleasant corner of Austria or in many other cozy locations in Europe. Without a doubt, it is sincere to express sympathy for those impacted by wars taking place “elsewhere,” but at the same time, the world is still secure here, and one simply “does not do war.” Until the repressed emerges with a vengeance, the frontline is kept at a distance, unseen, and unheard. Steirischer Herbst’s extensive lineup of exhibitions, performances, and talks this fall explores this ominous presence of fights that are being kept at away mentally.

We now move to the conflict in Ukraine, whose importance and proximity have become intractable since July. Steirischer Herbst, curated by Mirela Baciak and David Riff, presents historical and modern video art and films on the war in Ukraine in a special presentation at Neue Galerie Graz. Pavel Brăila, Oleksandr Dovzhenko, Dana Kavelina, Zoya Laktionova, Kateryna Lysovenko, Mykola Ridnyi, and Philip Sotnychenko are some of the artists who are taking part. Artists’ talks and conversations on the significance of the situation in Ukraine to Austria will be held in conjunction with the inauguration on July 1.

An even larger display that occupies both wings of the first floor of the Neue Galerie Graz serves as the focal point of the festival in the fall. The festival team has done research on lesser-known and overlooked pieces of art from the gallery’s collection from the 19th and 20th centuries, which may be both disturbingly political and deceptively harmless at times. These pieces are displayed alongside modern artists’ works, several of which have recently received commissions. In addition to challenging traditional modernist narratives, the show offers a subjective and fragmented rereading of the collection, exposing remnants of forgotten wars, obscure histories, and suppressed conflicts.It investigates the creative reflection of a world that is becoming more and more divided as a result of continued colonialism, the fall of empires, and rising class struggles by creating a link between the past and the present. It explores these more sinister aspects of modernity while also reflecting on the underlying politics of the event. This collaboration between the Neue Galerie Graz and the Universalmuseum Joanneum will continue until February 12, 2023.

The festival’s performative lineup includes newly commissioned works by Boris Charmatz, Boris Nikitin, Theater am Bahnhof, Giacomo Veronesi, Ming Wong, and Raed Yassin that explore further topics and memories associated with wars and conflicts.

Steirischer Herbst presents a film director Harun Farocki exhibition in Forum Stadtpark that takes aim at the conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries. Along with conversations and presentations, it features some of his lesser-known pieces and the recently launched herbst cabaret, which features Verena Dengler, eSeL (Lorenz Seidler), and Les Trucs.

In a new partnership with the literary journal manuskripte, Steirischer Herbst presents a special section with poems from Ukraine chosen by poet Galina Rymbu and war diaries from that country for the festival.

Artists: Gabriel Abrantes, Friederike Anders, Boris Charmatz, Keti Chukhrov, Josef Dabernig, Harun Farocki, Jannik Franzen, Aslan Goisum, Assaf Gruber, Emil Gruber, Flaka Haliti, Yuriy Illienko, Iman Issa, Zhanna Kadyrova, Rajkamal Kahlon, Kateryna Lysovenko, Ekaterina Muromtseva, Henrike Naumann, Navaridas & Deutinger, Boris Nikitin, Igor Friedrich Petković, Nihad Nino Pušija, Mykola Ridnyi, Willem de Rooij, Augustas Serapinas, Theater im Bahnhof, Giacomo Veronesi, Ming Wong, Raed Yassin; herbst cabaret with Verena Dengler, eSeL (Lorenz Seidler), Les Trucs; Zvjezdana Fio, Franz Yang-Močnik, and other artists from the collection of Neue Galerie Graz

As ever, Steirischer Herbst embraces the varied Parallel Program by art institutions in Graz and Styria, its traditional festival-within-the-festival musikprotokoll and the literary festival Out of Joint, as well as collaborations with new partners. 

The full festival program will be available online on September 1, 2022. 

Online accreditation for press and professionals opens in August 2022. For prior registration and further information, please contact press [​at​]

The festival is curated by Ekaterina Degot, Mirela Baciak, Dominik Müller, Christoph Platz, David Riff, Gábor Thury and created by the whole team of Steirischer Herbst. With curatorial advice by Goran Injac.

Curators of the exhibition in Neue Galerie Graz: Ekaterina Degot with David Riff, Christoph Platz, Mirela Baciak, Barbara Seyerl (Steirischer Herbst), with curatorial advice by Gudrun Danzer and Günther Holler-Schuster (Universalmuseum Joanneum)
Instagram / Facebook