Wiener Werkstätte & Stoclet House

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In our own time, when designers do what they can to provide a cosmetic veneer for tasteless industrial products, it is hard to imagine that, just a century ago, people were determined to reconcile the fine and the decorative arts and to create an all-embracing aesthetic world that would be in tune with both industry and modernity. That was the thinking behind the establishment of the Wiener Werkstätte.

The exhibition looks at both the thinking behind the Werkstätte and its programme and contrasts these with other projects of the time and with the art of today. More than 1,000 selected objects from the MAK's archives and from all over the world illustrate the declaration of faith made in 1903 by the artists Josef Hoffmann, Koloman Moser, and the industrialist Fritz Wärndorfer. The contract for the Stoclet House in Brussels, Hoffmann's finest achievement, gave a major impulse to the creative development of the Wiener Werkstätte. Victor Horta's architecture had prepared the ground for such a Gesamtkunstwerk or "total work of art" in Brussels. So it is particularly appropriate that Horta's Centre for Fine Arts should have this opportunity to host the Wiener Werkstätte. To mark the occasion, the Austrian artist Heimo Zobernig has designed an exhibition scenario traversed by a structure in the form of a fragmented double W, the logo of the Wiener Werkstätte.

The exhibition runs until 28 May 2006 in the Centre for Fine Arts in Brussels. For more information, please visit


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