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collection dichter

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collection dichter 2005-2006     intense autumn 2007

why the dichter collection?

the “dichter collection” was created in summer 2006 by masc foundation as a homage to the dichter family who were exiled from vienna. it sees itself in the tradition of the typical private collection (e.g. dakis joannou collection, hummel collection …), with a focus on presenting the works of artists to a broad international audience while addressing the changed and changing political situation in the 20th/ 21st century.

it was very important for us to get the founders of this first retail store (dichter manufactory) in the suburbs of vienna into the picture for the finish of our series of exhibitions (retail store may 2006 – museum sept.–nov. 2006). with this presentation of the sammlung dichter, the more than 100 year old story of this building comes to an end. we have come full circle.

former retail store osei

a store in ottakring (16th district of vienna) becomes a centre for contemporary art for the first time at the end of may 2005, with the exhibition “the best, for cheap” – a slogan by the osei company. at the end of january 2005, the store at brunnengasse/corner grundstein-gasse was closed down. until the very end, goods were sold in this store.

in march, negotiations with the new owner (conwert immobilien) began to find an interim solution for the “unusable” real estate by utilising it for art projects. masc & 39 dada ere finally allowed to use the building temporarily. time was short to develop an effective use of the first two floors. after the first viewing and after osei had vacated the building, the remaining interior (mirrors, show cases) already formed a ready-made architecture for of the exhibition space.

the artists we invited were made aware of the historical situation (1954–2005). elizabeth mcglynn made a video essay about the last 60 years of this extraordinary store, and josef gerger (larry fortansky foundation) spent some time researching the roots of this building, which was built around 1880. the dichter family established the retail store in the outer quarters of vienna, using a building that perfectly fits into these surrounding brunnenmarkt.

das beste, billig (the best, for cheap) – may 2005 – former retail store osei, grundsteingasse/corner brunnengasse

1) the shop windows were made available for the resident art & project spaces to present their diverse work to a wider public (open day and night, ongoing exhibitions and events).

2) the interior was kept as it was left behind by the oseicompany; the invited artists integrated this environment into their works. this was also done to give the thousands of former customers a chance to visit the store one more time, as well as to acquaint themselves with to a new use of the space within these familiar surroundings.

3a) grundstein informed the artists using their exhibition space about the history of the store as it was known until then. masc + 39 dada suggested artists who might be interested in the project.

3b) we also invited acquainted artists living in the area around the brunnenmarkt to come up with an idea.

3c) other artists invited were those who had shown a keen interest in and appreciation for the brunnenmarkt- neighbourhood in the past.

3d) the only guideline for the artists was not to change, but rather integrate the remaining interior as part of the architecture of the exhibition space.

das beste, billig ii (the beast, for cheap ii): september to november 2005,
former retail store osei, grundsteingasse/corner brunnengasse
surprisingly, we got the building for use as an exhibition space a second time, thanks to the municipal administration of the 16th district of vienna. within the short time left, there was no time to get funding or sponsors. many thanks to the district ottakring, which so graciously decided to support the project (museum for ottakring) with 2000 euros.

1) the idea was to give the building the touch of a museum and enable access to the building for three months until the end of november (- no heating!) by means of extensive opening hours and information.

2) this time, the goal was to make the building shine in its „old“ splendour and at the same time turn it into an exhibition space for contemporary art. the architecture (spy mirrors) was changed by using different colours. room after room was designed together with masc + 39 dada

during this exhibition, a historian told us about the story of the dichters’ emigration; this was the starting point for our research for the  exhibition ”sammlung dichter”(“dichter collection”) in may 2006. ”sammlung dichter” was designed to be an exhibition based on the concept of a fictional collection of exhibits of contemporary art.

“sammlung dichter” (”dichter collection”), may 2006, former retail store dichter, grundsteingasse /corner brunnengasse
surprise ii: the building is given another chance to shine. without financial aid, though.

1) entrée: presentation of three inhabitants of this building, who had grown up and/or worked in this neighbourhood and had to emigrate later.
some of the protagonists:
walter arlen, son of mina, neé dichter, and michael aptowitzer. born 1920 in vienna, emigrated to chicago in 1939 (name changed to arlen). moved to los angeles later. composer, music critic, los angeles times (1952–1980). founder of and professor at the music department at the loyola marymount university in los angeles.

edith arlen, daughter of mina, neé dichter, and michael aptowitzer. born 1925 in vienna, emigrated to chicago in 1939 (name changed to arlen). moved to los angeles later. ballet school, vienna state opera, social scientist.

ernest dichter, cousin of the above mentioned. 1907–1992. studied in vienna (with paul lazarsfeld) and paris, emigrated 1937; moved from paris to new york in 1946. founder of the institute of motivational research near new york, 1964. “handbuch der kaufmotive”: more than thousand research reports for prestigious firms. founder of motivational research, psychoanalyst. ernest dichter dressed the shop windows of the warenhaus dichter for his uncle. consulting activities, among others, for the u.s. government, the italian government, övp, spö, marokko, ibm, pcbs, esso (tiger in the tank), chrysler, procter & gamble. in 2007, ernest dichter’s 100th birthday will be celebrated.
source: interview with contemporary witnesses walter arlen and edith arlen, eva brunner szabo, 2002 ernest dichter, autobiography.

ground floor: sammlung dichter (dichter collection). the works of contemporary artists are up for sale.
old building: had to be closed due to water damage (too dangerous). – a pity!
new building: sammlung dichter (dichter collection)

sag zum abschied leise servus (and softly say good-bye) – january 2007, former retail store dichter, grundsteingasse/corner brunnengasse
music: drach-quartett, maritime & the playback orkkestar reinhard blum, christian wirlitsch, große freiheit nr. 7
films by: mara mattuschka, schütz-helf-staudinger, maya yonesho
dj’s: plattenspieler & niki






but let’s enter the exhibition, mr. glober.
first stop: entrance fee 2 euro, for 1400 m2 exhibition space – quite expensive, isn’t it? a little bit too much for a journalist, or is that just another allusion to oskar seidenglanz’s slogan “das beste, billig” (“the best, for cheap”). a little bit of sparkling wine, a little bit of a bite, and the text ready-made – that would be so much more interesting, wouldn’t it, mr. glober? glober remains silent. well, you don’t have to pay the entrance fee to get the tour, of course. we’ll gladly lay out 2 euro for you. and we are inside the building – the foyer presents the protagonists and their amazing (hi)story.

those who are inclined to do so  can stay here for a while and delve into the lives of edith (social scientist) and walter (composer and music critic, la times). you will also find information on ernest dichter, founder of motivation research, who studied in vienna and paris (1930–38). ernest dressed the windows for his uncle; now they are revitalised as exhibition space (see grundstein). this part of the exhibition requires time and calm, which we grant you wholeheartedly. we now leave the historical part of the exhibition.

let’s have a look at some of the pieces of art that the dichters’ have collected over the last 50 years.
we see a group of white, dwarf-like sculptures. is this another conference? – wir unter uns (we among ourselves) – a work by julie hayward. we don’t want to interrupt her any longer. a little bit further away, zos de wit shows us what it means to be a man.
there is a beautiful staircase where an artist of the larry fortansky foundation is questioning the sense of a holy war. downstairs we encounter claudia-maria luenig’s work. dubious terrain. rent an artist, rent an artist... a deep voice draws us to the next station. ursula nicolussi (trixi goldstein) wants to scrape up some money for herself and her kids. in english? all right, one or two journalists will surely manage to understand her. otherwise, please contact us. thank you.

we turn around and see a huge exhibition hall. real or not real? – mirrors are truly brilliant. no cameras on the wall, only mirrors that pull us along the ground floor. osei bargain bins, also part of the collection. quite interesting, the things this family has collected over the years.

one painted by michael vonbank, the other one decorated with irish landscapes by heinz grosskopf, and paul roza`s “golden t imes” takes us back to the end of the 30s and back to irrationality. we move on alongside the mirrors and end up in front of a looking-glass (osei) enwrapped by a silk worm. thank you, harald grünauer. we turn to the left now. – a tree house? how cute… it is a model by behruz heschmat, persian, who was banished from his country by the shah’s henchmen.

no land in sight. the tree is home, the tree encased in metal; but its inhabitant, made of wood, lives on. behruz heschmat’s first tree house will soon be exhibited in kufstein, austria. it seems behruz heschmat understands the dichters well, and they him. we move on and see elizabeth mcglynn standing in front of a celtic cult site in ireland (black & white, 1991). a good choice, my dear dichters. vis-à-vis abandoned rooms. where are we? – this is the old building, where the dichter family worked and lived. black & white photography by heinz grosskopf. puppet show. what’s the point of all this. bitte schütz mich vor dem was ich will (- please protect me from what i want – quote jenny holzer). but it’s quite a magnet, this puppet show. it makes happy. a short turn and we see paintings by leslie demelo (...) to our left. next to him is roland schütz, thinking about the year 1999. filip gregorowicz looks over his wife’s shoulder and nilbar güres presents her woman enwrapped in cloth and a clip from her performance. worth seeing, definitely. opposite of this we see large-format paintings by michael vonbank. it is time to deal with them. i hope you have enough time, mr. glober.

what is youdontski doing in this collection? is he polish or not? christof gantner speaks english. doesn’t matter, we move on. another glimpse of behruz heschmat’s tree house. what is this thing appearing behind us? it’s peter sandbichler’s new sculpture. is this a boat or a stealth bomber? the explanation is on the opposite wall. thanks, peter. a glance to the left. is this the künstlerhaus? where are we? entrance fee again?! no, calm down, it is a photo art work by ursula janig.

­­­well, let’s see what else is waiting for us. upstairs we see a child. insideout by hiroko inoue, photos black & white, very personal. peace and contemplation in here. a wooden screen separates this work from the main room. let’s have a look, mr. glober. an assemblage of small-format exhibits is presented on the opposite side of the room (james clay, gustav böhm, oliver marceta, alina kunitsyna, markus orsini-rosenberg, richard schütz, kurt mayr, cynthia schwertsik, hans jörg zauner, therese schulmeister, sabine groschup, christoph theiler, horst thaller, moana stemberger, christian stock). so this is how the dichters enjoyed their collection privately. nice!

in between, hans scheierl displays his own past. what a strange kind of music, what is this? – it attracts our attention. south african performers elu and steven cohen deliver thought-provoking 15 minutes. after that, we make our way to the second floor. we meet exiles from the 60s (and all the way to 2006). black & white photos by ralf marsault (paris), a punk from the early days and a photographer sensitive to his environment. ralf also understands the dichters, and they him. on the opposite wall we see a picture of ralf taken by andrea lambrecht, also in black & white. we move on, accompanied by ono’s sound collages, put together during the exhibition “das beste, billig” ( “the best, for cheap” – may 2005). we meet up with a painter/filmmaker/performer… – well, an artist. stop! mara mattuschka allows us a look over her shoulder and draws our attention to abstract paintings by martin kaltner. around the corner. works in paper by thomas baumann. a rare thing. his neighbour, hermann staudinger, takes us into the sky (3 photos). next to him is heidrun widmoser, testing our acuteness of mind. a quick look into the courtyard, a turn to the left – massive metal shelves covered in cardboard. thanks for this installation go to a colleague who doesn’t want to be named.

do you have some more , mr. glober? this way, please. we see forgery-proof portraits, black & white, by martina gasser. next to it, atem-.......-........- a work by plank poschauko. mr. glober has a last, good look around until he asks us to go upstairs, to the third and last floor. we hear strange conversations. rubbish!?

who has gone berserk in here? a whisper in our left ear: is this part of the collection, asks mr. glober smilingly. a few beams of light fall through the window and show us the way. soldiers in the trenches, ranting and rambling. irony of fate? no! greatings from wwi. two folding chairs invite us to sit down and watch this 12 minutes long spectacle on video. christof parzer and mischa gutmann, congratulations – well done! dear mr. glober, kindly follow us back down into the present, down to the ground floor. after you, mr. glober. not at all, it’s a pleasure!

we walk downstairs from floor to floor and encourage mr. glober to remain in the entrance hall for a while and browse the memoirs of the dichter family. glober takes one of the catalogues lying on florian harmer’s shelve-sculpture and looks at the tuwien (relief: ingo seefeld), installed above one of the windows facing grundsteingasse. we turn into the brunnenmarkt. – a glass of water after this long journey, mr. glober? suddenly he sees “austria is flying” – what does that mean? we move closer to maya yonesho work and try to solve her austria-quiz. mr. glober laughs, he seems satisfied.

the red box to his left catches his eye. savanni, alias nana swiczinsky, illustrator for the newspaper ”augustin”, advertises her t-shirt collection. t-shirts or no t-shirts, this is the end of our tour, mr. glober. thank you for your attention. good-bye, and we hope to see you soon. greetings from grundsteingasse by muliplast. i give him a couple of postcards and see mr. glober, almost furtively, throwing 2 euro into the donation box. i don’t want to see this exhibition for free, are his last words. keep it up (this could be a quote by beatrix bahr!).

he disappears around the corner and into the brunnenmarkt.
 a reliable source tells me weeks later that this peculiar journalist had sat down in front of the dichter store at the “schaukasten“ and ordered a café-da from clemens. he left with a “say hello to jetti from me, i’ll be back” and disappeared again, losing himself in the anonymity of the crowds down the brunnenmarkt.

max glober








mit unterstützung von: ottakringer kulturfreunde      nationalfonds der republik österreich      wien kultur       bezirk ottakring       Falter