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Last Friday, April 28, the Ferdinandeum invited to the opening of the new exhibition „Odor. Immaterielle Skulpturen“. So far not unusual, if there had not been the advertisement on Facebook, which promised, among other things, a "rave in the museum" in cooperation with the Tante eMma Club. Rave in a museum? In Innsbruck? Finally! What has long been common practice in other cities, namely to increasingly unite art and electronic music, now also exists in Innsbruck.
Such a collaboration attracts a mixed audience to the museum. Museum-goers, curious TT readers, young artists and the typical Bogen crowd that you usually only meet at a later hour. So university professors find themselves next to students and shiny leather jackets next to Goretex shells to explore the nine exhibition rooms together, which are mainly about one thing: smells.
Always follow the nose
First a drink at the bar, then off to the queue on the upper floor. There's a big crowd on the free opening night, and only small groups are ever let in. But the wait pays off, even if this is not clear to everyone at first glance. Because at first you see very little. The labels on the immaterial, i.e. mostly invisible, sculptures are sparse - but the shared puzzling over whether and what exactly you smell is a lot of fun. Via QR code, you can get the background information on the works on your cell phone - which I can only warmly recommend at this point. Then you wouldn't sniff at the strange holes in the ankle-high box, like all the visitors I could observe. Instead, you'd learn right away that the artist intended them for venting possible intestinal winds. Probably lucky that most museum goers arrive here unprepared!
It's also lucky if you somehow have the feeling you've taken a wrong turn and then the curator of the exhibition, Florian Waldvogel, runs into you. He developed the exhibition together with Thomas Thiel, the director of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Siegen.
Incidentally, you can see his appointment as curator (and head of the modern collection) from a distance, but perhaps it's the helpful explanations where we now come back to the actual course of the exhibition. But we didn't make a completely wrong turn, the open door to the permanent exhibition was intentional and refers to the room in which it smells of smallpox.
Once around the corner, in fact, is Albin Egger-Lienz's monster painting "The Cross", which shows Father Haspinger leading the rebellious peasants against Napoleon. And now historical prior knowledge is required! Because the context only becomes clear when you know how rebelliously the Tyroleans fought against the smallpox vaccination. Bavaria, on the other hand, was the first country in the world to introduce the (effective) original form of smallpox vaccination. "And how does smallpox smell then?", I ask Mr. Waldvogel, somewhat confused. "They don't smell at all," he explains with a grin. Back to the beginning, then, and onward in the jungle of smells, which definitely become more intense than before in the further rooms.
At this point, however, I don't want to anticipate too much about the exhibition. Not everything smells good, some things are a bit uncomfortable. But don't we like to go to museums to experience this discomfort in a world dominated by comfort zones, soul foods and feelgood playlists?
While in some cities people start dancing right away, it always takes a little while for the crowd to get going. It doesn't matter, you just stand around, get a drink and talk to interesting people.
And then it happens! The wide corridors of the museum are filled with music and dancing people. Behind the deck is Martin Ridler himself, club owner and DJ. In his store, the Tante eMma Club, the afterparty will be continued later. Let someone say that it would be boring to go to the museum!