Wien Kunst

Interview with XX Art Flânerie

XX Art Flânerie is a eigt-day festival that takes place in mid-July in the 15th and 12th districts of Vienna, with the theme "Twenties, then or now". Especially emphasized is the concept of strolling between different locations. The festival will be extended in space and time in order to make the events accessible to as many visitors as possible and at the same time avoid too large crowds of people in closed rooms.

How did the idea of the festival evolve?
Justina: We have already organized a few events together, so it felt organic to do something again. Especially after the success of two previous events and to have the pleasure of working together.

Georgij: Two years ago the Aa Collections moved from Burggasse to Reindorfgasse. From the moment I met my neighbors, I realized the strong community spirit across the area, so organizing events together just developed naturally in the neighborhood.

XX Art Flanerie
Organizers of the festival: Georgij Melnikov (Aa Collections), Justina Speirokaite & Ale Zapata (Improper Walls)

What was the inspiration behind the festival?
Justina: The idea to dedicate the festival to a 20’s topic came up in a relation to a planned 20DADA show at AA Collection, curated by Georgij Melnikov, and a 1920’s dance event initially planned on the 9th of May in Schwendermarkt. As we had to postpone our Flânerie because of the obvious reasons, it has not only transformed but also expanded. I believe the hunger for big events after the lockdown inspired the size of XX Art Flânerie. At the same time, it is enormously beautiful to collaborate with so many art- and culture related spaces in Vienna’s 15th and 12th districts. Maybe it is another huge step towards the strengthening of our art community.

Georgij: Since I was a teenager I was waiting to live in the 20ties. The idea by itself seems so inspiring and exciting that I couldn’t wait the decade to start. So already at the beginning of this year, I knew I wanted to do a project related to the 1920s and build a bridge across the centuries. Although back in January, I wasn’t expecting the year to develop as it did, these are exciting times.

What motivates you?
Justina: There are two aspects of motivation: First, working with amazing people and secondly seeing people enjoying the final result.

Georgij: I probably just like events and gatherings of all kinds. I also like all the parts which are needed to make them happen. From the organization to all the collaborations and people who are involved, everything is super exciting to me. The best part is the festival in the end, and many people enjoying it. Organizing such events, on the one hand, proves to be a lot of fun but at the same time is an incredibly great opportunity for all the participants.

How do you manage to have so many people at the festival? What is your secret?
Justina: I think both, us – Improper Walls, and AA Collections, mingling and working in Vienna’s art&culture scene for a quite long time, during which we got to know many amazing people, initiatives, organizations, and alternative spaces. Many of them happen to be in our neighborhood. Also, this kind of event, involving a lot of locations, connects the scene and the community. We are not “afraid” to approach cool people and ask them to join us.

Georgij: As I already mentioned above, the people in this area are very open to cooperate. For nearly ten years now I have gained a lot of experience in bringing people together. Even if there is not much money, great teamwork is the main currency.

Creative collectives are more important than ever. Do you also get support from the city of Vienna?
Justina: Yes, this event is supported by Basis.Kultur.Wien, MA 7, Bezirk 15. & Bezirk 12.

What are the highlights?
Justina: You should definitely not miss the opening evening on the 10th of July. The program will stretch from Hollerei Galerie in the 15th district to Dessous in the 12th. This includes openings of group shows, performances, DJs and much more. Find the whole program and the map (to help you orientate yourself within the events) here:

Improper Walls. Photo: Katharina Schiffl
Improper Walls. Photo: Katharina Schiffl

Georgij: There are three big exhibitions which are definitely a must see besides all the performances. 20DADA in Aa Collections and Hollerei Gallery focusing on the heritage of DADA in the 20ies of the 21st century. Furthermore, there is the exhibition NO ONE TOLD ME in Improper Walls themed around the topic of the lack of mental health treatment. The group exhibition Salon XX in Dessous features a broad view of the emerging and renowned viennese painter scene. Finally, we will have a special version of the drag poetry event series “Wer Ist Dichter” called “Wer ist DADA?” at the Hollerei Gallery on Friday, July 17th, at 7pm.

Which concert is a must-see?
Justina: Stop by Improper Walls on the 13th of July to see a live performance by Ana Threat and head to XX Music Stage on the 18th of July for Harz, Two Pigs Under One Umbrella and Spitting Ibex!

Georgij: Also on Saturday, July 18th, before the concerts take place, you can experience the spirit of the 1920s at the BÜHNE FÜR DADA, followed by the lecture of the progressive author Puneh Ansari. A “must-hear” are definitely the beats by D.Schaerf.

Link to the festival: