HÖHENRAUSCH 2016 – opening

Press Release Date:
20. May 2016



  • Maria Falkinger
    Marketing / Presse
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21. May – 16. October 2016

Press images: Link

Höhenrausch now goes into its 6th edition in 2016. The audience’s interest remains as strong as ever, as the statistics from the last year show: the average number of visitors in 2015 was still 1000 per day, the number of first-time visitors and the number of returning visitors also remain fairly balanced. The number of guided tours booked has been growing steadily, with more than 1200 tours in 2015, roughly nine guided tours per day, whereby the number of school groups and adult groups is almost even.

The intention to present contemporary art in unusual places, high above the rooftops of Linz, sensually and playfully to a broad audience, is still well received. Especially for this reason, it is our mission to continue to further develop the format in terms of both content and aesthetics. The constant dynamics, the surprise, the appearance, transformation or disappearance of striking objects is just as much a part of this as new spatial sequences and thematic focal points.

Following the “Mystery of the Birds”, Höhenrausch 2016 is devoted to a cultural-philosophical theme related to birds, the protagonists of which are also to be found in the heights, but also far beyond at the same time: angels.

The Theme – Different Angels

Angels are a theme that is both fascinating and complex, and it seems to be something we all know about. Angels are all the rage now, and we find them everywhere we go. They have long since left the biblical space of the church, and we find them on postcard stands, in museum shops, on building facades, and in building supply shops. They also populate Internet forums, magazines, and cinema films. Angels are a projection surface for the most diverse wishes and fulfill all kinds of functions of comforting. They are familiar to us from our childhood as “guardian angels”, and yet they dissolve into something contradictory and alien when we take a closer look.

HÖHENRAUSCH has decided to bring a little order into this chaos. “The angels have not simply fallen from heaven,” according to Governor Dr. Josef Pühringer. “For this illuminating educational work,” as Pühringer continues, “we are happy to have one of the most respected cultural studies scholars in the German-speaking region involved, Professor Thomas Macho.” Together with Thomas Macho the OK team has selected 30 international art projects, from which very different “notions of angels” can be read. In addition, an extensive network of well-versed cooperation partners has been established, who contribute their views and skills, ranging from the Diocese of Linz, which is centrally involved not only with the Ursuline Church, to the Linz Art University and Bruckner University, all the way to the music project ORF musikprotokoll im steirischen herbst.

The Exhibition

Angels are generally regarded as ambivalent “in-between beings” that do not really belong to any world, neither the world of ghosts and gods, nor the world of living beings. They are charged with different meanings depending on the cultural sphere – they appear as protectors as well as guards and soldiers, cosmic craftsmen and civil servants of heaven, as journey companions and messengers. They are friendly and bring blessings, but as fallen angels, for example, they can also be evil.

Yet angels also have a completely different identity. They are the alien in us, the separated part of ourselves: presumably first as an inner voice, then as shadow and mirror image; since the Romantic era at the latest, they are our terrifying doppelgängers.


We are all familiar with angels from our childhood as “guardian angels,” and yet they still seem to us to be strange and contradictory creatures. Angels are usually viewed as ambivalent “intermediate beings” not clearly belonging to any world, neither the realm of the spirits and gods, nor that of living human beings. Depending on what culture people come from, they imbue angels with a variety of different meanings. They are sometimes the benevolent bringers of blessings, but they can also be evil, for example in the case of fallen angels. The exhibition therefore offers various ways of approaching angels and explores various attitudes towards them, which are often diametrically opposed and cannot be brought together into one harmonious whole. Everyday angels, foreign angels, Biblical angels, but also doppelgangers, shadows, twins and mirror images – these may seem at first glance to have little to do with our theme. But the roots of the various notions of what angels are can also be traced to how we see ourselves. Angels are our own Other; they are a part of us that has broken away from the rest, probably at first as inner voices, then as shadows and mirror images, and, at the latest since the Romantic period, as eerie doppelgangers.

How to Meet an Angel, 1995/2016

The artistic couple Ilya and Emilia Kabakov construct installations that tell stories of our pursuit of happiness, moments of doubt, and the hope that everything will turn out all right in the end. How to Meet an Angel depicts a man standing at the top of a ladder, arms open to the heavens in the hopes that the added elevation might increase his chances of salvation by the angel. Ilya Kabakov was one of the main protagonists of the nonofficial Moscow art scene in the 1980s. He is credited with the invention of the total installation.


Angels are all the rage these days. Partly gilded, in a rustic antique style, very well preserved – in wood, stone or porcelain: On eBay alone, 1,686 offers of angels and cherubs could be found on a specific day. Angels are in vogue. They have long since fluttered out of church portals to alight as garden figures, edge-sitters, wall hangings or candle holders populating our everyday world. They "manifest themselves" on esoteric internet forums as a solace for every conceivable plight in our daily lives: "Angels are there for everyone", is the credo


A selection of Everyday Angels can be found arranged to stairways to heaven by the exhibition designers MVD. These objects and images illustrate the cultural diversity of the angels that are our daily companions.

Recycled Wings, 2016

The Egyptian revolution of 2011 changed the course of Ammar Abo Bakr’s life. The assistant lecturer at the Academy of Art in Luxor became a renowned graffiti artist. His wall murals criticize police brutality. He depicts revolutionaries who lost their lives as angels, a common theme in Islam. Höhenrausch is showing a site specific drawing in which he combines the Coptic wings from the Christian tradition with the figure of a Sufi dancer of the Islamic mysticism and the fly as a symbol for the many “little ones” within the revolution in his country. A video documentation shows more of his graffiti works.

Angels with Dirty Faces, 2004-2006

Angels with Dirty Faces memorializes a historic moment: The large-format photographs splashed across the façade of the Ursulinenhof depict a strike by mine workers in the Serbian district of Kolubara in October 2000. Their strike ultimately led to the downfall of the Milosević regime. This situation reminded artist Igor Grubić of Wim Wenders’s film Wings of Desire and he thus portrayed the miners as angels who have descended to earth and cast off their wings and their immortality in order to help human beings.

The Angels of the World, 1999 ongoing

For the Swiss artist Peter Wüthrich, books are friends that enable us to communicate with their authors. The book as an object is thus for him simultaneously a means and a medium. This is apparent in his Angels of the World. During his explorations of the world’s major cities, he transforms people into angels for one photo each. The source of the transformation is an open book affixed to their backs.


The descriptions of angels in the Bible are not consistent. They are usually characterized as servants of God, as Godcreated yet eternal beings. They make contact with humans in order to relay messages from their Lord (Angelos is Greek for “messenger”). An angel instructs Abraham not to make a human sacrifice, another stands in the way of the prophet Balaam. Angels warn Lot to leave the doomed city of Sodom and Gomorrah. The angel Gabriel tells the Virgin Mary of her pregnancy, and in a dream, Joseph is prompted to flee to Egypt to save himself. The Bible also tells the story of the rebellion of some angels against God and their fall. Biblical angels appear as companions and protectors, but they also challenge, punish and urge repentance. They represent the presence of God in the world and they inform Him of our concerns.

Ursuline Church

The familiar and yet surprising theme of Angels is addressed in detail in the Ursuline Church, which is an important part of Höhenrausch 2016. Dedicated to Holy Trinity and all angels, the church was built in the 18th century over a period of 36 years (1736–1772). In this angel’s church, more than 400 angels are awaiting discovery. On the Baroque high altar alone (designed by Johann Matthias Krinner and completed in 1741, with an altarpiece by Martino Altomonte) more than 100 angels are depicted. The Höhenrausch -parcours guides you over to the attic Ursuline Church and finally ends in the church.

The Fallen Angel, 1996

The Fallen Angel is the second piece by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov featured in Höhenrausch 2016. This installation by the artistic couple depicts the scene of an accident or crime, cordoned off with police tape. Behind it, the eponymous fallen angel lies lifeless. The Kabakovs, adept at handling utopias due to their socialization and artistic careers, understand the importance of lofty dreams. But, like The Fallen Angel, they have no illusions about the risks involved: He who dares to fly highest can also fall deepest.


Angels are older than the Christian faith. They appear as winged creatures with the heads of birds on ancient Oriental temple friezes, apparently charged with the duty to protect the holy Trees of Life – similar to the one in the Book of Genesis. The Greco-Roman goddesses of victory rewarded the victors, then later the martyrs. In Southeast Asian cultures, they appear as beautiful winged women, and in Latin America, angels were depicted as troops with muskets. In the Jewish tradition, depictions of angels are rare, unlike in Islam, where angels play a significant role, such as in the Sufi mysticism of Suhrawardī; their relation to birds is often emphasized. Winged creatures populate many cultures, and they are not necessarily always genderless beings like "our" angels.

Flying Angels, 2006

Heri Dono is one of Indonesia’s best known contemporary artists. Characteristic of his diverse body of work is the conjoining of elements from Indonesian culture and local art practices with Western pop culture and whimsical staging. His Flying Angels take the form of strange creatures of both sexes, with mechanically flapping wings accompanied by dissonant tones. For Dono, “The angel can be equated with inspiration. No one can reach the angels; they are the symbol of our freedom as human beings on this earth. They can guide us to every form of phenomenon we don’t yet know.”

NIKE, 1977 / 2016

The Nike by the Austrian artist and architect group Haus-Rucker-Co can look back on an eventful history. Between 1977 and 1979, a replica of the ancient statue of the Winged Victory of Samothrace hovered above the roof of the University of Art and Design Linz. The aluminum and steel sculpture, over 14 meters tall, provoked vehement debate at the time. Despite international protests from the art and culture scene, the victory goddess, which stands more than any other work in the 1977 exhibition forum metall for the cultural reawakening of the steel city, was finally taken down. The ambitious attempt undertaken by Heinrich Klotz, founding director of the Deutsches Architekturmuseum in Frankfurt am Main, which purchased the statue in 1981, to proudly display the Winged Victory as a prominent emblem for a programmatic conjoining of art and architecture on the banks of the River Main likewise failed – due to the incomprehension of local policymakers. Thanks to the distinguished Golden Nica media art prize awarded at the Ars Electronica, the Greek goddess of victory has nonetheless remained ever-present in Linz. At Höhenrausch 2016, the model for so many angel depictions is now celebrating her triumphant homecoming.

They, 2016

The attic as a storage place for old documents, photos and toys brings memories and long-forgotten dreams back to life in the form of alternate realities. Based on this idea, Wagner Malta Tavares has installed three superheroes (They) in the attic of the Ursuline Church whose characteristic fluttering capes identify them as otherworldly beings occupying an in-between realm. The Brazilian artist draws his inspiration from science fiction, comics, and movies, as well as ancient epics and myths.

Foreign Angel, 2016

In her sculptural work, the South African artist examines the construction of identity in a post colonial context. In Foreign Angel the artist’s alter ego metamorphoses into a purple figure that rises like a phoenix from the ashes. This new, powerful persona stands for emancipation, femininity and the cycle of life. She is surrounded by an army of non-winged “ceiling beings,” celestial beings sprung from the artist’s imagination which furnish her continuous mythology.


Angels are messengers, with wings to carry them swiftly to the respective recipient. Their name – ángelos in Ancient Greek, mal’ach in Hebrew – literally means messenger, emissary. In this respect, angels are therefore mediators and mediums between God and man. But they are more than just couriers. Psalm 91:11 in Luther’s Bible says: “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.” These guardian angels in the Christian tradition are thus successors to ancient escort gods that are there not only to “look after” us but also to inspire or admonish. Angels function as “divine twins” that sometimes look like us and yet are fundamentally different. As our “better half” or “inner voice,” they show us all that we can be. And as “doppelgangers,” they are not merely mirror images or shadows but also advisors and critics.

Factum Kang, 2009

Candice Breitz is interested in the staged lifestyles of pop culture and the entertainment industry, as well as in the factors at work in personality development and how family ties influence our sense of identity. Like her very early photographic works, Factum Kang examines the complex questions of how identities are formed and depicted, in this case based on self-portraits of identical twins. Interviewed and filmed separately, the twins reveal in the resulting montage just how much the formation of self and self-actualization are dependent on circumstances and relationships.

Schatten, 2005


The shadow of a ducking figure lurches through a vacant white world. The German artist Asta Gröting garbed the figure in her 2005 work in the costume of the Prussian king Friedrich II, who in this allegory is a mere shadow of his true self. Gröting often renders the invisible visible in her video works – for example in the long-term project The Inner Voice, which features ventriloquists from all over the world, or also here in her work Shadow.

Rauschen / Noise, 2016

Clemens Krauss enables us to see the world through the eyes of beings who look down from above. Helicopters and drones are “different angels” that can monitor, protect and fight. Krauss releases the faculty of sight from the body, showing bodies as something that is seen. They owe their existence to color – and to our imagination. The imagination of a crowd, here in form as a queue regard to the current political and social processes.



The Colombian artist Oscar Muñoz illustrates the transience of life in his video Línea del destino (Line of Destiny). When the water runs through his fingers, the face of the artist reflected in its surface likewise disappears. In a work that functions on several levels, Muñoz engages with memory media such as photography and film, with our longing to hold onto fleeting moments, but also with the myth of Narcissus, who fell in love with his own mirror image.



Karl Neubacher, born in Upper Austria, was an innovative commercial graphic designer and an important protagonist of the 1970s avant-garde in Graz. As a media artist, he was far ahead of his time. With photo collages and films of himself, he already heralded early on the advent of the mediatized self. One example is Abbild – Spiegelbild (Depiction – Reflection), in which he films himself cutting up a black-and-white photo of himself into little pieces to uncover a mirror that gradually shows his (video) likeness as a reflection.

Wooden Mirror, 2014

Twins are related in their nature to the medium of photography (as a technique for the creation of more or less identical images). The innovative quality of Martin Schoeller’s study of identity and difference lies in his decision to portray the siblings individually. When juxtaposed, the closeups seem like prints from one and the same negative. Upon closer inspection, however, the minimal individual differences become apparent.

Identical: Portraits of Twins, 20011-2012

Twins are related in their nature to the medium of photography (as a technique for the creation of more or less identical images). The innovative quality of Martin Schoeller’s study of identity and difference lies in his decision to portray the siblings individually. When juxtaposed, the closeups seem like prints from one and the same negative. Upon closer inspection, however, the minimal individual differences become apparent.


For Höhenrausch 2016, the Vienna-based artist Eva Schlegel has transformed the voestalpine open space with the help of structural elements made of steel and mirrors into a walk-through labyrinth that offers fresh perspectives and new ways of looking at ourselves and the world around us. Based on the modular system of the construction of the voestalpine open space both mirror labyrinths open up different perspectives. 400 square meters of mirrors made up of 142 differently tilted elements let the visitor experience the space in a whole new way without ever encountering his own reflection.


Mathilde ter Heijne reflects in her work on the role of women in patriarchal societies. In F.F.A.L., she has added seven female protagonists to the annals of art history, their biographies based on novels or historical accounts. Despite the differences in their identities, the figures all resemble the Dutch artist down to the last detail and speak with her voice. Three of the sculptures are on view in Linz: the tragic figure of Clare Abshire from the 2004 novel The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, the ambitious painter Carla Vicenzi from Savannah Smythe’s 2004 book Cream of the Crop, and Madonna from Wie Hui’s 2001 novella Shanghai Baby, a former prostitute who long dreamed of becoming an artist.


The Argentinian photographer Irina Werning has a unique method of making portraits of people. She juxtaposes an old photo of the subject with an updated version. The person portrayed travels back in time to their former self, exactly as they were in the original photo: the same pose, hairstyle, and clothing. With their captivating attention to detail and touching clarity, these images compellingly evoke the changes wrought by the ongoing course of our lives.


The Ministry of Angels presents the varied offices of the angels. The term is ambiguous: It may refer to the angelic ministry as an official function and mission, but also to the ministry as a higher authority, and finally, in German, to the High Mass celebrated on the first Sunday of Advent. Angels, as philosopher Giorgio Agamben once put it, are the “officials of heaven.” Dionysius Areopagita already envisioned in the fifth century AD a complex hierarchy of angels, which he associated with the image of Jacob’s Ladder, or stairway to heaven. Our Ministry of Angels features exhibits from Upper Austrian collections that show angels administering and performing a wide range of activities. They protect and guide, carry houses over the sea, plow fields, press grapes for wine, and keep the cosmic spheres spinning. They inspire, do battle, make music, fly, offer consolation, manage things and deliver messages.

Vertical on my Own, 2011

In ancient Greece, people believed that the dead become shadows. But even while we're still alive, shadows are a part of us: the dark, usually concealed, aspects oft he self. "The entire life of the human soul is mere motions in the shados. We life in a twilight of consciousness, never in accord with whom we are or think we are." (Fernando Pessoa)

The winter sun in the Arctic is so low in the sky that objects cast extremely long shadows. in her video work, AK Dolven does not reveal who is casting the shadow that veritably slices the snow-covered landscape in the image in two. We only see how the shadow constantly moves and changes: a kind of interplay between inner and outer reality.


Visitors to the Parkdeck will find themselves surrounded by 330 vegetable crates, 107 of them used as planters, the whole ensemble flanked by hops plants. Depending on the season, different flowers will be blooming during the exhibition.

In our Botanical Angel Garden set between Heaven and Earth, plants have been gathered together that have angels in their names: diverse varieties of the healing herb Angelica; the fine but voluminous Angel’s Hair; the glowing deep blue Gentian Sage, whose botanical name is Salvia patens “Blue Angel” and which can also be used as tea or for edible flower decorations; Nemesia “White Angel,” known colloquially as Fairy Mirror; the tantalizingly perfumed Purple Coneflower, or Echinacea “Fragrant Angel”; the Daylily with its botanical name Hemerocallis “Siloam Angel Blush”; the Shasta Daisy with its cotton-ball blooms, known as Leucanthemum x superbum “Engelina”; and the delicate Bush Mallow, a Lavatera olbia hybrid known as “White Angel.”

The screens block out the cityscape and guide the eye along the newly created horizon high up in the sky, creating the perfect stage for the angel plants. White floors brighten up the whole space and recall with their intense luminosity the blazing radiance of the Kingdom of Heaven.

Note: And no Angel Garden would be complete without angels’ trumpets! The plant whose flowers resemble the angelic instrument therefore takes pride of place as a small island on the way to the Keine Sorgen Tower.

Powerd by Passage Linz

A zip line stretched over OK Square evokes angel- like feelings. From the roof of the Passage, visitors to Höhenrausch 2016 float like hybrid creatures, somewhere between heaven and earth, 20 meters above OK square, and are then pulled back onto the roof. Two people at a time slowly glide through the air, passing by Ilya and Emila Kabakov’s installation How to Meet an Angel along the way. A heavenly but thoroughly human delight!

Thomas Macho, Jasmin Mersmann

Sightings of angels are rare. Only in the movies do angels appear to humans so frequently that they seem to be common everyday guests here on Earth. The list of films featuring angels is a long one: Angels and their fallen siblings can be found in nearly all film genres – from horror film to family comedy. At the Angel Cinema, film clips will be shown that demonstrate the abundance of these winged creatures on the big screen. The selection ranges from the dream sequence in Charlie Chaplin’s The Kid (1923) to Wings of Desire (1987) by Wim Wenders, and from Pier Pado Pasolini’s Teorema (1968) to contemporary thrillers such as Constantine (2005) by Francis Lawrence.

Fluide Verstrickung, 2016


The Upper Austrian artist Michael Kienzer changes the way we look at everyday objects by toying with our visual habits and expectations. Through seemingly minor manipulations, he gives the objects new meaning and puts their surroundings in a changed context. Fluide Verstrickung (Fluid Entanglement) is a chaotic-looking tangle made of thousands meters of colorful, partly filled water hoses. The water sprinkles in different variations out of the hoses and a sort of cave at the back of the sculpture invites you to showering pleasure. Parts of the tubes are forming almost pictorially to an expanding drawing in space.


For Whom, 2012 / 2016

The Belgian artist Kris Martin deals in his work with transience, time and immortality. In For Whom ..., for example, a steel bell, made in Bochum in 1951, swings vigorously back and forth over the rooftops of the steel city. The bell is silent, however, because one important detail is missing: the clapper. The sound of the bell tolling becomes a mere figment of our imagination.

Flügelengel, 2013/2016

In German, grand pianos are commonly referred to by a word that also means wing (Flügel). This ambiguity inspired the Austrian composer Georg Nussbaumer to try to see the instrument as weightless. He lets two pianos beat their wings. Like black angels, they ascend, pulled up by hand into the air. These are the “wings” of an angel (Flügelengel), indeed.

Bogenharfe, 2016


Adventures in sound and sensation are an integral part of Josef Baier‘s work. The sculptor sometimes furnishes his kinetic sculptures with elements from musical instruments – inviting the viewer to try them out. This is the case in Höhenrausch 2016, for which Baier has set up a sound garden in cooperation with Anton Bruckner University. The installation consists of an arched harp with 16 piano strings as well as three spherical domes in the style of R. Buckminster Fuller, equipped with sounding plates, piano strings and organ pipes.

The sound garden was developed by the sculptor Josef Baier in cooperation with the Institutes of Music Education and Drama from the Anton Bruckner Private University. The workshop for children: Movement circus “sound of clouds and realm of shadows” was conceived by students and teachers of the institute.

Jukebox, 2016

Angels are a classic motif of pop music, and of advertising. They are called on for help or used as the standard by which to glorify or demonize an object of desire. MVD has supplied a jukebox, loaded with songs by artists ranging from Ella Fitzgerald to INXS, in order to provide a few high-soaring musical moments during your visit. Angels are also effective mascots and bearers of positive messages in the world of advertising, giving wings to the sales of deodorants, cars and coffee.

Die Logok der Engel: Himmelsleiter


Seven contemporary composers were invited to write short vocal pieces for the project The Logic of Angels. The NOVA vocal ensemble recorded these pieces at the ORF studio, augmenting them with music from the 13th and 14th centuries. These recordings constitute the sound material for the installation. A sound capsule moves vertically along the 30-meter-high Keine Sorgen Tower, letting visitors hear the music from near and far, in other words, from up above or down below – creating a kind of vocal Stairway to Heaven. The sound capsule is like a technical pseudo–creature, a sound messenger.

Press: Maria Falkinger, +43.732.784178-52540, Enable JavaScript to view protected content.
Photos for Download: http://www.ooekulturquartier.at/presse/hoehenrausch-2016-andere-engel-pressebilder/


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