Martha Jungwirth “Herz der Finsternis”

The Palazzo Cini Gallery, an extraordinary house-cum-museum home to the masterpieces of Vittorio Cini’s own collection, reopens to the public with an exhibition dedicated to the Austrian artist Martha Jungwirth (Vienna 1940). The only woman artist among the founding members of the “Wirklichkeiten” (“Reality”) group, her works were exhibited in the 1968 Vienna Secession exhibition curated by Otto Breicha. From then on, Martha Jungwirth continued to develop an innovative visual language, characterised by the exploration of colour and incisive lines. In 2018, she received the prestigious Oskar Kokoschka Prize awarded by the Austrian state, accompanied by an extensive solo exhibition at the Albertina in Vienna; in 2020, a retrospective at the Museum Liaunig in Neuhaus celebrated the artist’s eightieth birthday, while two years later, the Kunsthalle in Düsseldorf presented an extensive solo exhibition of the artist’s work. Her works are admired by several generations of artists and are now exhibited in the collections of major institutions, such as the Albertina Museum in Vienna and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.


Martha Jungwirth’s work draws on various sources (the human body, travel, art history, mythology as well as historical, social and political contexts), capturing internal and fleeting impulses that are recorded in her painting. Her compositions are poised between abstraction and figuration, between the unconscious and the intentional, unbound and free, committed only to their own truth. As with all her subjects, the forms remain beyond the easily identifiable, moving between the realms of the real and the imaginary, the embodied and the transcendent, and her compositions reveal themselves to the artist during the painting process. The artist’s inspiration from ancient art is exemplified by works such as In Ohne Titel, aus der Serie “Nicht mehr und nicht weniger” (2021), in which Jungwirth cites Francisco Goya (1746-1828) by naming her series after the title of the Spanish artist’s work Ni mas ni menos (1797-1798). The exhibition itinerary, which unfolds around the second floor of Palazzo Cini, will also include previously unseen paintings by the Viennese artist, inspired by the works in the Gallery itself so as to underline the relationship between her painting and the history of art.
Curated by Luca Massimo Barbero, director of the Fondazione Giorgio Cini’s Institute of Art History, and staged with the support of Thaddaeus Ropac gallery, the exhibition will be open to the public from 17 April to 29 September, every day of the week (except Tuesdays), while Palazzo Cini and its permanent collections will remain open until 13 October 2024 (