Sunday 23rd – After MUCH excitement and build up during the preceding weeks, we finally fly to Vienna, and land in a heat wave! One of the gallerists from Galerie Michaela Stock, Jennifer Lang, and her boyfriend Stefan very kindly pick us up from the airport and take us to our apartment.
We spend our first evening in Vienna getting our bearings and exploring. We have drinks at Museum Quarter and a very late dinner in a bistro near Stephanplatz.
Monday 24th – at 5am we are woken by a torrential downpour which doesn’t stop for 24 hours. We have an 11am meeting at the gallery with Michaela to set the show up. We spend 4 hours curating the space and hanging the works. Afterwards we have a late lunch in the Naschsmarkt, a big food market with indoor and outdoor eating where we indulged in celebratory wine and food.
Tuesday 25th – We spend the morning in MUMOK looking around the Albert Oehlen contemporary painting exhibition, and lunch in the Palmenhaus in Burggarten. It is our Bank of Tinsel & Twinkle performance later on that day, so before heading to Galerie Michaela Stock to prepare, we stop off for one quick drink in the ‘Trotsky Bar’ (he used to drink there) which is called Café Central on Herrengasse.
With some Dutch courage, we head to meet Michaela and Niksa, (Niksa is Michaela’s boyfriend who also helps with the gallery and both helped to make us feel very welcome!) at the Gallery to prepare for our performance. Wearing our banker uniforms we walked from Schleifmuhlgasse to Graben and stage the bank outside Erste Bank, one of the biggest banks in Austria, for one and a half hours.
This was the first time ever we have staged The Bank of Tinsel & Twinkle in general public, previously we have been interacting with ‘art’ audiences. The reaction on a busy high street when people are on their way home from work on a Tuesday evening was quite different to the response from guests at a private view. Initially people were a little shy, ignoring us, or in some cases running away! With little German between us, we had memorized a few phrases to explain the concept of the bank, however the language barrier made it a bit difficult. Jenny and Michaela very kindly helped out and helped to explain it to people, we soon started gathering some interesting comments with people stopping to chat and taking the time to really think about the thoughts they contributed.
The purpose of The Bank of Tinsel & Twinkle is to discuss money and the economy in a creative arena, away from politics and the media. Our bank gives power to the people, we are asking people to contribute their thoughts about what we can do to improve the economic situation and global financial problems. As the collection of thoughts builds, hopefully it will start to represent what we can do collectively to make a difference.
The reaction was mixed, one man commented ‘I am not giving you my thoughts!’ , another stated that he was ‘too well known to give us a thought’. A priest said that what we were doing was ‘too strong’. Some people were quite disappointed when they realised we weren’t giving away free money. We found ourselves in several debates and discussions with different people, on the topic of bankers and government bailouts, economics in general and materialism. We were overwhelmed with positive responses too, with people contributing heartfelt and personal feelings about money and finance, light hearted ideas and philosophical thoughts. One lady stayed for over ten minutes discussing her political background and opinions about what we were doing, she didn’t want to contribute to the Bank of Tinsel & Twinkle but the discussion was interesting.
Thank you very much to the people of Vienna, we very much enjoyed bringing the Bank of Tinsel & Twinkle to you, and thank you very much for your engagement with it.
Wednesday 26th – Tinsel’s mum, dad, brother and Elvi her son all arrive in Vienna. So do some of our best friends Scampi and Sparkle and Twinkle’s husband Mulka. Tinsel goes for a family dinner and Twinkle goes exploring with Scampi and Sparkle, walking through the rose gardens in Volksgarten, another stop off in Café Central for some Gruner Veltliner (the local Austrian wine) before heading to the museum Quarter to meet Tinsel and her Family and Mulka for a night out.
Thursday 27th – Twinkle’s mum, dad, sister and niece arrive in Vienna too. It’s also the opening night of the exhibition which has coincided with a yearly summer street party on Schleifmuhlgasse. When we get to the gallery the street has been pedestrianised and is filled with bars and food stalls, street performers and live music.
We were both quite nervous once again, not really knowing what to expect. For us there was an excitement in the air though, and fortunately it was a lovely warm, balmy evening.
Visitors and guests slowly started to arrive, and after a while the place was buzzing with a lively atmosphere, and we were genuinely pleasantly surprised by the time taken by guests who stayed to chat with us for ages about the work and the ideas behind what we are doing.
Halfway through the opening night Michaela from the gallery instigates another staging of the Bank of T&T outside the gallery. Tinky, Sparkle and Tinsel’s Mum held the bank sign for us while we stopped passers by and asked them to fill out our bank notes with their thoughts. It was also during this time that we met arts journalist Marina Richter who ended up interviewing us and writing a great article and exhibition review which you can read here.
During the opening evening we had bankers and lawyers leaving their economic thoughts and musings as well as students and children, mums and dads, other artists, journalists and general passers by who all left their contributions to the Bank of T&T. We’ll be doing a post about the Bank of T&T in Vienna separately soon where we’ll go into more detail about the thoughts and responses we collected.
Michaela and Jenny worked non-stop greeting guests and taking them one by one through all the paintings in the show. They were great at making sure we were introduced to people, and as a big added bonus Niksa really looked after us and our friends and families too.
After the opening, which seemed to zoom by, we let our hair down and celebrated into the small hours!
Friday 28th – Both families and friends went for a lovely big lunch.
12 of us meet up at the beautiful Palmenhaus in Burrgarten, lots of food, drink and laughter and recollection of the show opening the night before.
Twinkle spends the afternoon with her family, going on a horse and cart around central Vienna with her niece and mum.
Tinsel, Sparkle and Scampi visit the Belvedere, a beautiful palace with a stunning art collection, lots of Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt, including ‘The Kiss’. They also looked round an interesting and beautiful temporary exhibition called ‘Decadence’ which explores symbolism in Austrian art at the turn of the 20th century.
That evening we head back to the street party where everyone meets up. Stefan and friends DJ at the gallery, the whole place is filled with people dancing to Northern Soul, Ska, Rocksteady and 60’s classics, everyone parties until the early hours.
Saturday 29th – We were hanging out with families, Twinkle went to the Leopold museum with her dad and Mulka to see their Egon Scheile and Gustav Klimt collections, an exhibition about clouds and a really powerful but harrowing exhibition called Drawing Against Oblivion by Manfred Bockelmann which is made up of portraits of children killed during the holocaust in order to give identity to statistics.
Tinsel and her family had a lovely day out at the zoo. The Zoo in Vienna claims to be ‘the oldest zoo in the world’, found in the beautiful grounds of the Palace at Schonbrunn, the imperial rococo style summer residence. Currently there is a baby giraffe at the zoo which Elvi loved.
That evening we all meet with Jenny and Stefan to go to a Heurigen on the outskirts of Vienna. Heurigens are wine taverns set up amongst the vineyards where the wine is made. You can also eat local traditional food there and the views are spectacular as you are up in the hills. It was also the last night of the street party, so we decided to make it a hat-trick and ended up there for the third night in a row!
Sunday 30th – Twinkle’s family head home and in the evening Twinkle and Mulka have a night out bar hopping and going out for dinner. Tinsel and her family visit the Hundertwasser Haus, an unusual and colourful apartment block designed by the artist Friedrich Hundertwasser. Drawing inspiration from his own bright and colourful paintings, he sought to unite architecture with nature.
Monday 1st – Mulks leaves, and Tinsels family leave. We get picked up by Stefan to be taken to the apartment on the outskirts and have dinner with Jenny and Stefan. Their apartment is in a very tranquil and idyllic setting, perfect for a couple of days relaxing!
Tuesday 2nd – We spend the morning working on our notes for the artist talk in the evening. After a quick afternoon walk, we head to Galerie Michaela Stock for the talk. Jennifer Lang hosts, helping Tinsel & Twinkle calm their nerves! We discuss the theme of the exhibition and the Bank of Tinsel & Twinkle, talking about each of our paintings in the show.
A really lovely group of people turn up for the talk and afterwards there is wine and cheese and a chance to meet the guests.
A couple of artists turned up to the talk, and afterwards they really wanted to understand why we choose to use something so traditional like paint, and contrast it with something less traditional like the bank. Other people stay to ask questions about particular pieces, or to ask about London and the art scene there, we meet Marina Richter again too who came along to get to know us and the work a little more before writing her piece on us.
Wednesday 3rd – 30 degrees heat and a much needed day at the outdoor pool followed by dinner and wine and more relaxing.
Thursday 4th – Our last day! We have lots of errands to do, last minute present and post card buying… A big city walk in the morning and lunch at the Naschmarkt. Twinkle heads to the Belvedere to see The Decadence exhibition, Tinsel and Elvi head to the Museum Quarter to find some child friendly things to do. They discover the Kinder Museum and spend an hour at The Atelier, Elvi builds an Aeroplane, learning how to use a drill, hacksaw, glue gun and electric screwdriver!
That evening we head to the riverside beach bars for some drinks with a friend, a lovely last evening in Vienna.
Friday 5th – HOME TIME!