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EPA_KF_Wien_2012

The EPO provides the backdrop for a vibrant, multi- layered dialogue between contemporary art on the one hand and science, technology and innovation on the other. The art collection on display in the various buildings of the EPO resonates with an awareness of its origins in the relationship between contemporary art and the working world and has an important social function for staff. The motivation for the 2011 re-hanging of the EPO’s art collection in the Vienna sub-office came from the desire to shine a spotlight for the very first time on con- ceptual photography. The architectural layout of the Rennweg building in Vienna provides an ideal curatorial space for showcasing a changing display of contem- porary photography and thereby creates a bridge in both content and form to The Hague, home to another substantial part of the EPO’s photography collection. The biggest challenge in Vienna involved finding a way to develop a visual dialogue between the various landings within the narrow confines of the stairwell and create a distinct narrative spanning the individual floors, underscoring their differences in height to impressive effect. The large-scale panoramas of the Finnish documentary photographer Jakko Heikkilä displayed here offer a view of expansive Scandinavian landscapes, while Ger Dekkers’ imposing aerial shots taken from the cockpit reveal the breathtaking beauty and depth of the North Sea off the Dutch coast. The informal integration of artworks into the working environment is designed to attract, intrigue, surprise, challenge perceptions and question how we see things. They engage with themes that require knowledge to unlock their meaning. It goes without saying that this art is also aesthetic, playing with the charm of superficial beauty and using recognisable landscape compositions as visual cues to draw the viewer’s eye. A second glance is often required to spot the clues left by the artist to simulate reflection, contemplation, even confusion in the viewer – as exemplified in the cafeteria’s series of documentary photographs by Jordi Bernadó exploring the theme of semantic confusion. The EPO, with its mission of promoting innovation, competitiveness and economic growth in Europe by granting high-quality patents, collects contemporary art precisely because it symbolises those characteris- tics of innovation and gives expression to them in a va- riety of ways. It is always exciting to see how individual artworks can assert themselves at the workplace. This brochure features four pieces on display in the Vienna sub-office, and invites you to discover and learn about contemporary art through the medium of the EPO’s collection. Kristine Schönert Contemporary art in the European Patent Office Vienna 6 > E

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