Protected Paradise - Vienna for Art's Sake, Belvedere,Vienna (AT), 2015

Heaps of golden corn have taken the place of the baroque gold leaf in Prince Eugene’s former Dining Hall; the room contains a large, industrial aviary where two blue-and-gold macaws live. Koen Vanmechelen addresses the issue of the contrast beween culture (Baroque) and nature (birds). Inside the artistic-artificial space of the Winter Palace, only a domesticated kind of nature can be found, inside a cage. Prince Euge already had a menagerie of exotic animals and birds. Koen Vanmechelen establishes a direct connection of our present, the endangered nature, and the baroque past. The neon writing that says “Protected Paradise” points to a protected, but also a closed-off and endangered paradise. Special thanks to curator Peter Noever who states; Once more, a contemporary act is necessary – now! Today’s art, here and now, cannot ignore the dramatic things that surround us. Director of the Belvedere Museum Agnes Husslein-Arco; Since 2013 the state rooms in the Winter Palace of Prince Eugene of Savoy have not only been home to a museum, but have in particular also been a place of lively exploration of its inter cultural history. Among other things, they serve as a venue for the presentation of important positions in contemporary art. Prince Eugene was a great patron of the arts; as such the site-specific interventions that seek discursive analysis of the Baroque on all levels are entirely fitting. The Winter Palace continues to be State of the art. And the Arge Papageienaschutz Foundation for providing us with the beautiful Macaws for this installation. They will continue to take care of them during their stay in the museum and are making sure that their needs are perfectly looked after.

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