Hans Schabus is one of the most remarkable Austrian artists of his generation. He works in a number of mediums, including photography, video, collage, sculpture and installation, and in 2005 he represented Austria at the Venice Biennale, with his installation The Last Land.
Schabus's exhibition at Towner will complete a project that started in Vienna 13 years ago, and will consist of sculptural works, performance, a film and a series of photographs.
In 2002, he designed and made a functional, hand-crafted boat, which he rowed through Vienna’s underground sewers to leave the city unseen on his way to New York. He documented this journey in a photograph and an 11-minute film. The boat he built was designed after a class of small, unsinkable children’s dinghies called the Optimist. Schabus's fold-up version was christened 'forlorn' in anticipation of its daunting and dirty journeys.
The journey brought him to other cities where he had exhibitions: New York, Frankfurt, Bregenz, Venice, Rotterdam and Lisbon; and he will complete the series with a newly commissioned photograph in Eastbourne, which will join Towner's Collection. In each city, a photograph is taken of the artist in the boat with the city as a backdrop.
Schabus will create an ambitious exhibition at Towner and work with the Collection. His research was inspired by a book on the Eastbourne artist Eric Ravilious (1903-24), entitled Ravilious in Pictures – A Travelling Artist. The Towner Collection boasts the largest holding of Ravilious’s work and is a huge draw for our visitors. Schabus's work will make connections with our location on the south coast, and the maritime life and work that thrives in the area; and will reflect a theme that runs through our Collection – of the ‘artist as traveller’.
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See a gallery of Schabus's previous work with forlorn, below.