Permanent Collection - MAK - Applied Arts Contemporary Art

Artistic Interventions

The reinstallation of the MAK's permanent collection and redesign of the gallery spaces by contemporary artists was the first experiment to be realized in the course of the Museum's search for a new identity. Here, for the first time, one can sense what the notion of fruitful confrontation between traditional collections and new artistic trends signifies. A conscious decision was made not to have architects design any of the spaces. It was hoped that different new positions and viewpoints in relation to the objects in the collections would supply the objects with fresh, contemporary legibility in a way that re-educates our eyes and our perception towards the specific sensitivities and strengths of the individual materials.
Objective display is impossible in a museum; to display is at once to present, to interpret, and to evaluate. The MAK choses to realize the viewpoints of significant contemporary artists, who reinstalled the permanent collection after intense collaboration and long discussions with the responsible curators.
The permanent collection is arranged in chronological order - not, however, with the intention of "covering" each stylistic epoch as completely as possible, but rather of introducing the Museum's highlights, its particularly interesting and unique objects. (In the study collection, on the other hand, the Museum's traditional arrangement according to materials has been preserved in a concentrated, orderly form of presentation.) Working with colors, special lighting installations, electronic text displays, special show cases, enclosures, pedestals, and special perceptual alienation effects, the artists found a variety of spatial solutions for their respective rooms. Particularly striking was that, while pursuing their highly personal strategies, they carried out their tasks with such a respect and understanding for the objects that it always remained unmistakable that displaying these objects was their primary motivation.

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