Giving the world an order – my order is an apt description of the collecting activity of the Viennese attorney Ernst Ploil, who for the past half-century has occupied himself intensively with visual and applied art. Taking the period around 1900 as his point of departure, Ploil initially focused on the idea of the “Gesamtkunstwerk” and the idea of an equality of the individual art genres as the key concepts of his collecting activity. He selected and acquired works in order to find answers to the age-old question: What is art all about?
One recognizably methodical way to find an answer to this is seeking out commonalities; another way is studying contrary elements, and a third exploratory approach is the symbolistic narrative, whose – often concealed – subject matter leads to exciting investigations and varying interpretations.
Reflecting all of this is an exhibition of some 180 works by such diverse artists as Anton Romako, Carl Schuch, Kolo Moser, Josef Hoffmann, Carl Moll, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, Anton Kolig, Herbert Boeckl, Rudolf Wacker, Fritz Wotruba, Liam Gillick, Maria Lassnig, Josef Mikl, Markus Prachensky, Arnulf Rainer, Hans Bischoffshausen, Gerhard Richter, Josef Albers, Franz West, Marcel Duchamp, Wassily Kandinsky, Chuck Close, Richard Artschwager, Morris Louis, Ad Reinhardt, Dan Flavin, and Donald Judd.
Curator: Herbert Giese