Austria to the Antipodes

2020 Austria to the Antipodes

Austria to the Antipodes – ‘From the Inside Out’

“There has been increasing interest over the past two decades on the contribution and impact of European émigré architects in Australia. For the most part, historians have focused on architects trained in European modernism who were exiled or forced to emigrate with the rise of National Socialism in Germany and its occupied territories prior to World War II or, because of Communist invasion in the case of Eastern Europe after the war”. RMIT Design Archives – Vol 9, No1 2019 Special Issue Vienna Abroad


Critical & Curatorial Practices in Design 2020 (Austria to the Antipodes – ‘From the Inside Out’) aimed to delve under the surface of the adjective “European” to uncover what one country contributed to the experience of modernism in Australia. The group of architects and designers brought together were all Viennese by birth, training or professional practice. What such a focus on allowed, was the differentiation of the category “Viennese” modernism from other forms of modernism, German, for example.

Students studied a group of Viennese architects and designers active in Melbourne, Sydney and New Zealand in an attempt to demonstrate the legacy of Viennese design. The exhibition as such, elucidated architectural concerns and tropes that were worked out in Vienna in the interwar years and brought to Australia, to undergo a dynamic process of translation into forms and spaces that suited their new situations. The research process considered the interpretation of modernism, shaped in Vienna, that was conceived in opposition to the totalising agendas promulgated by adherents of Gesamt-kunstwerk such as Wiener Werkstätte and the Bauhaus.


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