The third part of the interdisciplinary project series KCC is to take place at Konzett Gallery: the Revival of the “Saturnalia,” which was the most important festival in ancient Rome occurring annually from the 17th to the 23rd of December and which today presents a cheerfully sensual alternative to the Christmas holiday.
Flowing into the concept of the exhibition, as a way to honor the various facets of this festival, will be not only art and music but also the interdisciplinary practices that oscillate between them; elements of physical pleasure are part of the event (saturare = satiate).
Visual art: curated by Phillipp Konzett
With works by R. Adlassnigg, D. Barzilai, J. Beuys, C. Eisenberger, R. Hoeck, M. Kippenberger, Z. Komad, R. Nowak, R. Polanszky, P. Renner, D. Roth, H. Weigand, F. West, H. Zobernig.
Music: curated by Michael Mautner
With works by: Claudio Monteverdi, Kurt Schwitters, Otto M. Zykan.
Food and drinks: curated by Paul Renner
During the era of the Roman republic and empire, the Saturnalia presented a festival for the people, generally celebrated in an indulgent manner: it brought together aspects of what we know as a thanksgiving feast and carnival. The social aspect was expressed by inviting the poor and homeless to the buffet; class differences were temporarily suspended and slaves were treated as their owners’ equals.
Within familiar circles one visited relatives and friends and brought them presents, followed by a big festival dinner, usually with excessive drinking and eating, building up to a final course of satirical poems and riddles. Morality was opened up considerably during the festival days, sometimes interpreted as a reflex of the golden age of Saturn. Among the nobility a more refined variation was celebrated, with presentations of poetry, music, and art.
M. Wieland, in his commentaries of 1813, provides a definition of the “Saturnalia” of Lukianus, which would later be subsumed under the concept of “Saturnalian freedom”: “A festival that tried to keep the memory of FREEDOM AND EQUALITY alive for the first youths of the world.”
The works shown in the exhibition recall the pleasurable aspects of the festival: wine, food, eroticism and enjoyment. Immanent in the images, although not always present: vanitas, transience, the dissolution and end of all festivals.