VCT Sculpture Project 2023
Carola Dertnig's homage to Lucia Westerguard conquers Stadtpark
In a public landscape dominated by sculptures of or by important men, ranging from Donald Judd to Johann Strauß, a new sculpture next to Kursalon Vienna is breaking the pattern: ‘Feldenkreis_FI_001_Lucia by Carola Dertnig.
Dertnig’s sculpture is more than a visually striking addition to Stadtpark; it’s a poignant commentary on the underrepresentation of female figures in Vienna’s public monuments. In a city dominated by statues commemorating male luminaries, Dertnig’s work pays homage to Lucia Westerguard, a circus artist, dancer, and saxophonist, who regularly played the saxophone in this very spot.
Initiated by viennacontemporary in collaboration with JP Immobilien and Kursalon Betriebs GmbH, the VCT Sculpture Project brings sculptures to the heart of Stadtpark, Vienna. The initiative weaves the fabric of contemporary art into the city’s historical tapestry.
The VCT Sculpture Project invites galleries participating in the fair to submit proposals by artists they represent. The selected proposal becomes a focal point in the park until the next viennacontemporary in 2024.
This year, viennacontemporary has proudly presented Carola Dertnig as the winner of the VCT Sculpture Project 2023. Represented by CRONE Gallery, Dertnig brings ‘Feldenkreis_FI_001_Lucia Westerguard’ to life, a sculpture that transcends traditional boundaries and engages with the ephemeral nature of performative art.
Photo: Niko Havranek
The unveiling of Dertnig’s masterpiece on September 7, 2023, at the fair was accompanied by a captivating musical performance by Susanna Gartmayer. Carola Dertnig, born in Innsbruck and the head of the Performative Arts Department at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, has a diverse artistic portfolio spanning performance, video art, visual art, and photography. Her accolades include the Austrian Art Award in 2013 and the Cultural Award of the Province of Lower Austria in 2022.
The jury, consisting of Attilia Fattori Franchini, Lilli Hollein, Reza Akhavan, and Boris Ondreička, emphasized the strength of the narrative behind Dertnig’s sculpture. The tribute to Lucia Westerguard, a pivotal feminist gesture, disrupts the male-dominated monument landscape of Stadtpark, injecting much-needed diversity into its narrative.
In the words of the jury, “We consider it an essential feminist gesture to publicly place a female artist into the currently exclusively male monument landscape in the Stadtpark. We congratulate Carola on this great work and the well-deserved victory!“
Photo: Niko Havranek