Testimonials Visiting Critics Vienna 2022
The Verein-K Visiting Critics Residency is an intense, but rewarding program and one that I am hugely grateful to have taken part in.
Coming from Johannesburg, South Africa where I live and work, the Austrian art scene – its community of independent artists, performers, museums, galleries, festivals and ways of working – was largely new to me, but the program facilitated by Verein-K was an excellent way to become immersed in such a vast, dynamic and active scene over 10 or so days. This was not only through visiting its galleries and museums, but also by engaging and conversing with its artists, curators and academics be it in private studios, at festival openings, or in the city’s many coffee-houses.
Having the opportunity to witness and make sense of the ways in which art and artists function in relation to Austrian society was immensely informative and, in many ways, instructional. Similarly, the fellow critics I had the privilege of getting to know over the course of the residency shared with me insights into ways of engaging with, thinking and writing about art in other parts of the world that will continue to shape and inform my own practice.
While I continue to reflect on my time in Vienna, an early observation, and one that remains with me, is the tendency of many artists to work within the relative security of the Austrian art scene, eschewing the generative potential of risk, collaboration and uncertainty, for ways of working that are often-times more siloed. Verein-K, however, with its commitment to regularly inviting critical reflections on the Austrian art scene from myriad perspectives, is doing the kind of urgent and vital work that ensures an art ecosystem remains actively engaged and in conversation with itself as well as with the global art world.
There is an extraordinary amount of care for the arts in Vienna, and it’s largely due to organisations like Verein-K. My deepest gratitude to Dejan, Jelena, Klaus and the many artists and institutions who were consistently generous, compassionate, and openhearted during the 2022 Visiting Critics Residency.
– David Mann, Johannesburg, South Africa
“I am truly grateful to Verein K for extending the invitation to participate in the Visiting Critics Residency in 2022, and for providing me with the great opportunity to take a closer look at the scene in Austria.
The programme was efficiently organized and allowed me to experience first-hand and verify what I heard about the network in Vienna and Graz. In addition, thanks to the welcoming and open attitude of Dejan, Jelena and Klaus, we could exchange about the complexity of Central European cultural practices. Verein K’s mission contributes to as well as helps to grasp the increasing artistic activity across Austria. Their efforts in connecting the many fields of art criticism, are rare, yet necessary. I am sure that this stay has changed both my professional, art writing perspective, as well as the personal one, and allowed me to question and analyze my own biases, in a different, more nuanced way. Thank you, Verein K, and thank you Re’al, David and Vladiya, I hope we’ll meet again!”
—Ewa Borysiewicz, Warsaw, Poland
I truly could not have hoped for a better residency experience than the one I had with Verein K. In addition to being knowledgeable and embedded in the contemporary art scene in Austria, Jelena and Dejan Kaluderović and Klaus Speidel provided a thoughtful, organized, and energizing program for the critics, all of us coming from different backgrounds, professionally, and geographically. I greatly appreciated their care and transparency around certain aspects of the artistic ecosystem in Vienna and Graz, which allowed for productive critical engagement and idea exchange during our stay.
I am also thankful for their facilitation of our conversations with artists, gallerists, curators, and other writers during our short but intensive program. I came away from the residency with a renewed appreciation for the role of criticism within my practice as a writer.
Aside from a deep creative and intellectual investment in the contemporary art scene in Vienna, Verein K provided something that many residency programs strive for: a sense of close community within the vast art world—a space for five critics from disparate parts of the world to be inspired, to engage with new perspectives and contexts, to question our own underlying assumptions and positionality, to critique new infrastructures, and crucially, to find a network of kindred spirts among other writers and creative thinkers.
—Re’al Christian, New York, USA
Dear Jelena, Dejan and Klaus,
Thank you for the amazing and professionally enriching time spent in Vienna and Graz.
I find the structure of the residency program you created very well thought. It not only provides an intense and engaging program, but also gives an introduction to different levels of Austrian (more particularly Viennese) artistic scene; to the artists, galleries, museums, public forums and even research institutes. The days spent in Graz for the opening of steirischer herbst were another level of exploration and critical involvement.
The residency gives an opportunity to see a good artistic projects, discover artists, grasp the context of the local production of art, the structure of public space and support, the public contribution of the galleries (Curated by), and the bold political and social engagement within art, specific for Viennese scene.
The choice to invite a small group of critics is a testimony to your individual approach and a clever way to provoke in depth conversations and discussions, happening ongoing to the common experience and the dynamic of the visits.
I consider this year 2022 to be a special one. It is marked by the empathy, support and profound value reconsideration because of the war in Ukraine, which was a common denominator and topic of different events. They mirror the fragility of the social structure and the necessity of its constant (moral) renegotiation, bringing up the urge to question the role of the art within the society.
Thanks one more time!
—Vladiya Mihaylova, Sofia, Bulgaria
Verein K is an independent arts and cultural organization from Vienna, founded in January 2018. Verein K focuses on projects in the field of contemporary art and culture connecting diverse cultural and social interests: critical approaches to contemporary art, creating curatorial platforms as well as enabling innovative cultural practices including diverse social groups.