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18 Feb 2015 - 22 Mar 2015

The University Museum and Art Gallery is thankful for this opportunity to display Desiring the Real, a contemporary art exhibition that has been jointly organised with the Federal Chancellery of Austria and is supported by the Austrian Consulate General in Hong Kong and Macao. This large and innovative exhibition presents works by some 25 Austrian artists who investigate, through images and installations, representations of ‘the real’, and the subjective perception of reality by individual onlookers.

An assemblage of individual views of daily life and the environment, this exhibition presents a variety of ‘portraits’ documenting the status quo at the precise moment that each image was created. Reality describes the conjectured state of things as they actually exist, rather than as they may appear or be imagined, and it refers to everything that is and has been, whether or not it is observable or comprehensible. Reality is often contrasted with what is imaginary, delusional, or confined to the mind and dreams; with what is false, fictional or abstract. The desire to imitate ‘the real’ in artworks forms the core of this study as, traditionally, artists strive to epitomise reality truthfully. Beyond this tradition, in Desiring the Real, one medium, such as film or video art, can take on the artistic qualities of another art form, such as Chinese ink painting, as shown here in the fluid and expressive video installation Cluster (2010) by Rainer Gamsjäger. Through representations of the real, the perception of the receiving persons and their individual paradigms are critical to the understanding of the real and to the judgment of reality.

This remarkable concept was originally commissioned by the Federal Chancellery of Austria in 2012, and has since been shown in modern and contemporary art museums in Serbia, Mexico, Cuba, Croatia, Italy, Turkey, Macedonia and France. The presentation of the exhibit in Hong Kong marks its East Asian premiere. We are honoured to introduce artworks by this innovative group of European artists to the general public and to a growing art scene in China in order to stimulate an interest in traditional, modern and multimedia art, and to encourage artistic cross fertilisation.

We thank our partners, in particular, Director Karin Zimmer of the Division of Cultural Affairs of the Federal Chancellery of Austria, Dr. Claudia Reinprecht, Consul General of Austria to Hong Kong and Macao and co-curator Bernhard Rehn, as well as all of the collaborating lending institutions for the occasion to show this contemporary art exhibition in Hong Kong. Desiring the Real is financially supported by the Federal Chancellery of Austria.


Rainer Gamsjäger


 Detail shot of video (8:06 minutes long)


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