the Building Site
the Building Site
the Building Site
the Building Site
the Building Site

Hubert Lobnig


Dom Museum Wien


Modern and Contemporary art

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Photo: Leni Deinhardstein, Lisa Rastl, Dom Museum Wien
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A series of photos documenting the Dom Museum Wien construction site

In this series of photographs, Hubert Lobnig addresses social subjects in connection with Christian pictorial traditions.

Herbert Lobnig accompanied the conversion of the museum with a camera from its very beginnings. Working in several media, the artist has dedicated himself to living quarters and forms of living for a long time, focusing his interest particularly on improvised settings undergoing continuous development. The fact that the building activities on Stephansplatz showed parallels to Lobnig’s artistic laboratory work was the impulse for the idea to realize a major project on the subject for the museum under reconstruction in September 2013.

For his strictly choreographed performance the artist had sixteen construction workers carry plasterboards fit to their bodies, assembly parts, and pieces of squared timber from Karlsplatz along the Kärntner Straße to Stephansplatz and the building site of the museum. Bent upon reaching its destination, the crew fought its way through the smart shopping street. Not least their everyday clothes and the plasterboards resembling large banners lent the train the character of a protest rally. In city centers heavy labor is usually something done outside shopping times or behind the historical façades where the developers’ luxury apartments are built.

Carrying heavy loads as a reinterpretation of Christ’s lugging a cross to his crucifixion on Calvary transferred a traditional subject of sacred art to the street and our present-day environment. People’s everyday sufferings were made visible and tangible—sufferings often associated with the precarious very heavy labor migrants are often subjected to.

The black-and-white aesthetic of the twelve-part photo series recalls video documentations of the Viennese Actionists’ performances in the 1970s which gave rise to irritation and indignation in Vienna’s city center at the time. Apart from these photographs, Lobnig also produced two videos of the performance which were temporarily presented on the museum’s construction site. Accompanying the exhibition, a panel discussion was held that focused on the subject “Poverty and Work.”