Democratization of Art | Review of the BURN-IN exhibition in Vienna

In March 2021, the Viennese contemporary art gallery, BURN-IN, presented SILENT SCREAM, a curated collection of unique floral sculptures by the renowned photo-artist Richard Fischer.

Over the course of three weeks, approximately 300,000 enthusiasts visited Vienna’s tradition-rich Gerngross shopping emporium and received an additional treat: an extensive, exceptional and fascinating floral-art exhibition. The wide-ranging reach of such a venue “democratizes” art. Here contemporary artwork was presented outside of the “Whitecubes” (museums, galleries, and art fairs) to an entirely new target group. This campaign created an enormous awareness, and for many, it was a first-time experience, being able to personally experience artistic intervention in the context of their own environmental cognizance.

The show was conceived and implemented by BURN-IN gallerist Sonja Dolzer and presented in the massive atrium with a large show window on the famous Mariahilferstrasse in the center of Vienna. Due to its prime location, the show attracted a great deal of attention and had a remarkably broad effect. 

This bold experiment of creating an “art temple” in a shopping Mecca was an immense success and sparked many lively debates and led to new insights among the public. Richard Fischer’s floral sculptures enchant through their poignant presentation of nature’s beauty in its fascinating transformations and entice the viewer to engage in personal reflections. Parallels to cultural, political, and economic phases and trends come to mind. With this floral cycle – at least for the time being – Richard Fischer, in a virtually perfect way and manner, comes full circle by clearly visualizing the continual and necessary cultural transitions required for establishing continuity for a sustainable world.     

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Gerngross Vienna