Double pleasure at the Albertina Museum

Last week I had a chance to join Instagramers Austria again for a tour of the Albertina Museum´s latest retrospective exhibitions of two great Austrian artists:  Alfred Seiland and Florentina Pakosta.

Alfred Seiland

Alfred Seiland is a photographer, but really I would call him a camera artist.  Seiland was born in Austria in 1952 and is one of Austria’s first artistic photographers to work exclusively in color.  In this he deliberately followed in the footsteps of the “New American Color Photography” movement.  His photographs, which by the way are all taken with an analog camera, are bright, crisp and – of course – colourful.  I love them!

Seiland US billboards
Seiland´s photographs of American neon signs and billboards are particularly iconic.

Seiland traveled around the world with his camera and took photos in the USA, photographing iconic, almost stereotypical, representations of American culture such as neon signs and gas stations and billboards, but also rural landscapes.

Truro, Massachusetts
One of my favourites is this (not so colourful) photo of Truro, Massachusetts from 1979.

Also very interesting are his photos from Iran and Syria, where the desert light is glaring and brown and white tones dominate.

He did not shun his home country Austria either.  However, his photos are not idealized Gauermanesque versions of Austria´s (admittedly beautiful) countryside, he includes industrial and everyday elements that many other photographers would try not to show.

One of the series that Seiland became famous for were his staged depictions of famous personalities for a campaign by the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. You have to look really closely to see the people in the photograph, pus they are hidden behind the newspaper!

Portrait of Yehudi Menuhin
That is famous violinist Yehudi Menuhin hiding behind the newspaper! (I selected this photo to show you, because the first time I ever hear Beethoven´s violin concert was on a recording of him playing it, and I loved it.)

Let me not forget to mention the gorgeous setting of the exhibition, which does justice to the beautiful photographs. (I have added some of the room photos into a slideshow – watch on your computer to see it, as it tends not to come out on mobiles.)

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Florentina Pakosta

Entrance to the Pakosta exhibition
On we went to see the extensive retrospective of Florentina Pakosta´s work

The painter and graphic artist Florentina Pakosta has been active since the 1960s and has won many prizes and had her art work shown in important galleries, such as the Leopold Museum and – now and before – the Albertina Museum.  She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna and undertook study visits to Paris, Prague and Amsterdam.  In the 1970s she was also a board member of the Vienna Secession, where she organized the women’s art exhibition “Secessionistinnen“.

Pakosta was critical of the way women were being portrayed and in the 1960s turned her gaze on men and their facial expressions and body language. Her satirical works are an attack on patriarchal power structures and traditional roles.

Forming male society
Forming Male Society (1996), dispersion paint on canvas

Pakosta also did self portraits, looking at herself rather seriously.

Pakosta self portrait
A very serious self portrait of Florentina Pakosta


Florentina Pakosta´s later work, from the 1980s onward, is strikingly different and much more colorful.  From then on she created a  series of abstract works consisting of brightly colored geometric beams.

Moving towards colour
A colourful array of geometric shapes

I do like colour, but I am rather partial to the figurative graphic work she produced earlier.

(Information sources: Website of the Albertina Museum, Wikipedia)

Thank you Albertina Museum and Instagramers Austria for the wonderful tour!


  • The exhibition of Alfred Seiland´s photographs can be seen at the Albertina until 7 October 2018.
  • The Florentina Pakosta exhibition is on until 26 August 2018.


Special tours with the curators can be booked for both.

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