Farewell to Longing: Figurations of Heimat in Contemporary Art


June 10 – July 23, 2011
Kunstraum Niederoesterreich, Vienna, Austria

© Kunstraum Niederoesterreich / Simona Obholzer. Image by Safia Stodel.


Philippe Batka, Benjamin Eichhorn, Conny Habbel, Katharina Gruzei, Esther-Judith Hinz, Sven Johne, Eva Kot'átková, Zilla Leutenegger, Gerlinde Miesenböck, Monique Pelser, Safia Stodel, James Webb.


Claudia Marion Stemberger

Curatorial Statement

The exhibition Farewell to Longing liberates the term "Heimat" from its connotation charged with longing. Correspondingly, the artistic positions reject an "iconography of roaring deer", since this would celebrate Heimat primarily in its kitsch antithesis. While retrogressive interpretation patterns locate the concept of Heimat as a retroactive construction and thereby clarify the past, the project curated by Claudia Marion Stemberger turns its back on the powerful topic of the lost Heimat. The exhibition concept calls for a forward-looking view of the idea of Heimat – not just beyond its ideological discrediting, but also above all beyond the escapism of nostalgic traditions of interpretation.

The departure from nostalgia at the same time brings up the question of how longing might otherwise be thought of generatively. Such a productive reoccupation opens a hopeful area of opportunity without, however, covering the past with amnesia, and from the perspective of social psychology it particularly stresses that the feeling of being at home is related to action – since the realisation of utopias requires personal contribution. The international selection of twelve artists therefore draws attention to subjective facets of contemporary individual strategies of 'homing'.


To go with the exhibition a catalogue is being published with contributions by the manager of the Kunstraum Niederoesterreich, Christiane Krejs, and the curator Claudia Marion Stemberger.

Installation views

Installation views. Copyright: the artists, the curator and Kunstraum Niederoesterreich. Images: Lorenz Seiler / Fotostream

Claudia Marion Stemberger, opening address. Image: Lorenz Seiler / Fotostream, 2011.

Claudia Marion Stemberger, opening address. Image: Lorenz Seiler / Fotostream, 2011.


© — Claudia Marion Stemberger 2019