Gianni Manhattan

  • GALLERY FOCUS: Gianni Manhattan

  • Several questions for Laura Windhager

    Introduce yourself
    My name is Laura Windhager. I am the founding director of GIANNI MANHATTAN, a contemporary art gallery and publishing house for artist’ writings, located in the 3rd district of Vienna, Austria.

    Why did you decide to open a gallery in Vienna?
    Vienna is a great and interesting city with a huge potential, but when I returned to Vienna after studying in London, I really missed the vibrancy of an art scene that values exchange and discourse. There already were some great non-profit initiatives in place but I felt that the city desperately missed an emerging gallery that moved beyond the local scene.

    How would you describe the relationship between your gallery and the artists you represent?
    I want the gallery to be a cooperative, sustainable, educational and communicative space that also provides economic stability for my artists. I currently only represent seven artists, so a very close relationship is important to me.

    What inspires you in contemporary art?
    Works and practices that interest me all have a shared concern for the world we live in: they ask questions about the environment, sexuality and gender, language and marginalisation, the nonlinearity of history. I like works that move beyond the glamour of aesthetics, that challenge and alter the way you see the world and articulate questions you did not ask yourself before.

    Continue the sentence “FIAC is…”?
    a cluster of imagination, showcasing the best and most daring contemporary art.

    What is your favorite place for lunch near your gallery?
    During install I always take my artists to Pappa e Ciccia, a tiny Italian restaurant on Rochusmarkt, which is 5 minutes from the gallery. It is an absolute sensory overload with the kitschiest decoration you could possibly imagine. But the owners are incredibly kind, they always recommend a pasta dish of the day and serve impeccable southern Italian cuisine.

    Can you recommend cool hidden places in Vienna?
    For more unconventional museum trips, I recommend the Josephinum, the Medical-Anatomical Museum of Vienna. It was founded in 1785 by Emperor Joseph II as a medico-surgical military academy to train prospective doctors and midwives for civil and military service. The Josephinum houses nearly 1,200 anatomical wax models commissioned by Joseph II in Florence for the newly established medical academy, as well as the historical library with scripts and volumes from the 15th to the 18th century. Secondly, close to where I live is the Setagaya Park, a Japanese Botanical Garden in Vienna. I have been going there since I am a child, and it is an unexpected oasis of calm within the city.

    What are your favorite places in Paris?
    Every time I am in Paris I try to visit DOC!, an artist studio complex in an old school where one of the artists I represent, Matthieu Haberard, has his studio. The complex is artist-run, and they always set up interesting exhibitions and events. I also try to stop by the Musée des Arts de Métiers, one of Paris’ quieter attractions, but I find the collection truly inspiring. For food, I usually have dinner at the Place Saint-Marthe or grab a quick bite on rue Ménilmontant .

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