Alfred Kubin

The Aesthetic of Evil

From 14 August 2024

Alfred Kubin | The Egg, 1902 | The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna © Bildrecht, Vienna 2024
Alfred Kubin | The Egg, 1902 | The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna © Bildrecht, Vienna 2024

This exhibition reveals the perspective of Alfred Kubin (1877–1959) on all that is evil—the dominant theme of his life and works. In Kubin’s output, evil’s aesthetic reveal’s itself as a counterpart to that of the idyllic, of deliberate disregard for a hideous reality. The artist’s deeply pessimistic mindset moved him to concentrate near-exclusively on the human psyche’s darker aspects in his graphic explorations. He felt defenseless in the face of eerie, dream-apparitions and his pronounced fear of the feminine, of sexuality, of the night, and of being at fate’s mercy. To Kubin, trapped in his dark visions, evil seemed inexhaustible and life-determining.

Alfred Kubin’s unbroken relevance today is evidenced by a great many of his pictorial themes, which are indeed quite current: war games, prisoners, torture, executioners, refugees, persecuted figures, plagues, and pandemics. A great many of his works revolve around the uncanny, around nightmares of demons, unearthly hybrid beings, grotesques, angels of death, and scenes of hell—in short, around that which lies in wait for us on “the other side.” Alfred Kubin pursued these visions in a breathtaking manner that made him one of the 20th century’s most outstanding graphic artists.

This exhibition draws on the ALBERTINA Museum’s extensive holdings of around 1,800 drawings by the artist.

On view at the ALBERTINA MODERN Museum from 14 August 2024 until 6 January 2025.

Alfred Kubin | The Step | The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna © Bildrecht, Vienna 2024
Alfred Kubin | The Step | The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna © Bildrecht, Vienna 2024
Alfred Kubin: The Egg, 1902

Alfred Kubin | The Egg, 1902 | The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna © Bildrecht, Vienna 2024

Alfred Kubin: The Step, ca. 1902/03

Alfred Kubin | The Step, ca. 1902/03 | The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna © Bildrecht, Vienna 2024

Alfred Kubin: Every Night a Dream Visits Us, ca. 1902/03

Alfred Kubin | Every Night a Dream Visits Us, ca. 1902/03 | The ALBERTINA Museum, Vienna © Bildrecht, Vienna 2024

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