1983 | 2023 40 Years | Thaddaeus Ropac
July 28 - September 30, 2023
1983 | 2023 Press Release
This year marks the 40th anniversary of Thaddaeus Ropac gallery, which was founded in Salzburg in 1983. An exhibition spanning both Salzburg locations presents historic works from 1983, alongside those from 2023 created specifically for this occasion. The two sections highlight the artistic momentum of the formative years and reflect the ongoing evolution of the gallery’s programme.
The 1980s marked a transformative artistic era, considerably shaped by the dialogue between American and European contemporary art, and the first exhibitions at Thaddaeus Ropac Salzburg reflected the dynamic atmosphere and the varied range of artistic practices of that period. In 1979, the Guggenheim Museum in New York became the first American institution to hold a major solo exhibition of work by a living German artist, showing a Joseph Beuys retrospective, and in 1980, Anselm Kiefer and Georg Baselitz represented Germany at the Venice Biennale, affirming their presence on the international stage. Norman Rosenthal’s 1981 exhibition A New Spirit in Painting at the Royal Academy in London brought together German artists, along with their British and American contemporaries, garnering significant international attention, and was followed in 1982 by the highly influential Zeitgeist exhibition at the Martin-Gropius-Bau in Berlin.
During its early years, the gallery established an exhibition programme with artists from the German- speaking world, whilst also showcasing a group of American artists, including Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist, Alex Katz, Joseph Kosuth and Elaine Sturtevant. The first exhibitions in Salzburg also featured then young and emerging artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, who signalled a new direction in contemporary art.
The charged atmosphere of this period is embodied through major works from the gallery’s founding years, brought back to Salzburg for the anniversary exhibition. This historic selection is placed in dialogue with the gallery’s current programme. Artists whose practice has shaped the history of the gallery over the course of the intervening decades have also been invited to present new works for the exhibition, including Tony Cragg, Sylvie Fleury, Adrian Ghenie, Lee Bul, Daniel Richter, Sean Scully, Imran Qureshi and many more. They are shown alongside works by artists who have joined the gallery in more recent years, including those of Alvaro Barrington, Lisa Brice, Mandy El-Sayegh, Han Bing, Rachel Jones, Martha Jungwirth, Megan Rooney and Zadie Xa. Multi-faceted and multi-generational, the exhibition brings together works spanning a variety of media that each provide a unique vision or perspective on our current era, echoing today’s lived experience and realities.
1983 | 2023 encompasses a diverse range of works, bearing witness to the variety of practices and backgrounds represented by the gallery’s artists. As the historic artworks invite visitors to explore perspectives on the past, the new works highlight a multitude of current and ever-evolving artistic developments. Shown alongside each other, the works from the two marking points of the gallery’s 40-year history form a continuity that suggests a look ahead, towards what is yet to come.