The Galerie nächst St. Stephan represents a living tradition of exploring the art of the modern era. It has been located since the 1920's in the same place in the center of Vienna at Grünangergasse 1. Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, the gallery’s director since 1978, has been exhibiting artists who are partisans of precise, innovative, international abstract and conceptual art. The gallery’s program has revolved around promoting a new visuality and discursiveness of art that is firmly rooted in the present. The gallery was the first in Austria to exhibit Minimal and Conceptual Art, and its ongoing exhibition policy creates an ideal environment for examining the complexity and development of these artistic genres.
In its many symposia and publications, the gallery continues to stress the importance of art theory and discourse as both foundations of artistic production and as parallel phenomena. The exhibitions and discussions hosted by the gallery provide insight into the theoretical and linguistic conditions that are a part of art and frequently also serve as artistic themes.
One of the premises of the gallery program is that the context and autonomy of an artwork do not have to be mutually exclusive – nor do self-reflexivity and sensuousness. Instead, they depend on and define each other. Seen in this light, the spatial and perceptual presentation of a work is just as fundamentally important as making art a thrilling experience, a technique of consciousness, and a site of knowledge. As to the relationship between work, space, and beholder, the gallery also presents new formulations of the picture and painting. These include addressing the growing role of mediatization and new technologies as omnipresent challenges for artistic media and themes.
In its ongoing partnership with artists, the Galerie nächst St. Stephan plays an active role in the development of their oeuvres. The potential this creates is the basis of their professional gallery work. They also assist with establishing and expanding private and public collections, and their long-term relationships with international collectors and museums are proof of this practice. You can find out more about the gallery’s close collaboration with many artists and collectors in the book Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, Klares Programm – Galerie-Arbeit heute (published in German by Lindinger + Schmid, 1995).