A Journey Through 2000 Years of European Art

Understand Art

This photograph by Valentina Zamboni gives a rare peek into the archives of the Artothek des Bundes at the Belvedere 21 in Vienna.

Following in the Footsteps of Great Masters

Botticelli, Vermeer, Picasso – their paintings fascinate even today and awake curiosity about the great masters’ mental processes and techniques. How did the ingenious revolutionary Caravaggio paint? How did Max Beckmann conceptualize his brutally realistic sketches of figures and scenes? With the project “KAIROS. The Right Moment” ZOTT Artspace takes a journey through 2000 years of European art history.

“To me, ‘KAIROS. The Right Moment’ will be a success if we can get people enthusiastic about expanding their knowledge about painters and eras, and in a way that allows them to feel closer to art and so enjoy it more!” (Christian Zott)

Wolfgang Beltracchi working on the paintings for the exhibition “KAIROS. The right moment”. Closeups from works created using the artistic voices of Max Beckmann, Heinrich Campendonk and Lucas Cranach the Elder.

Actively understanding art eras

With the stroke of a brush, ZOTT Artspace makes the painting styles of great masters come alive. As part of the project “KAIROS. The Right Moment“, the contemporary artist Wolfgang Beltracchi will be creating paintings using the artistic voices of artists long since deceased. Visitors to ZOTT Artspace can literally look over the shoulder of the master adopter of artistic voices, offering them the opportunity to gain a more in depth understanding of the creative processes of the shining lights in European art history. For each picture motif, ZOTT Artspace has identified historical events and historically significant cultural moments from the classical era up to the 20th century that weren’t captured by artists in their time. Now they will become paintings that place history in its artistic context. The works by Wolfgang Beltracchi will be presented in the exhibition “KAIROS. The Right Moment” starting October 2018.


Mauro Firoese in the archive of Museo di Castelvecchio in Verona. For his series “Treasure Rooms”, the artists photographed the archives of numerous major museums.



„It’s Like Adrenaline for Me“

Mauro Fiorese (1970 – 2016) is internationally one of the most regarded photographers of our time. One of his last series of work was “Treasure Rooms”, which played a fundamental role in the creation of the project “KAIROS. The Right Moment”

The artist Mauro Fiorese speaks about his work for the project “KAIROS. The Right Moment” – and about a unique team.

How did you get the idea to photograph the archives of major museums?
This kind of idea doesn’t suddenly appear like an unforeseen epiphany of course. It was more like it developed slowly, step by step. I got the original spark while having a discussion with friends in my studio, we were standing looking at one of my works and talking. We were talking about the variety and the enormous number of artworks that were created by our ancestors in Italy, but which are for the most part hidden away from public view. The idea for Treasure Rooms arose out of this initial discussion.

What was the greatest challenge? How did you get access to the museum archives?
With a good team behind you, getting access to the museums is actually pretty easy. I was lucky, because my gallery supported me in dealing with bureaucratic agencies, mistrust towards me from the museums as well as practical issues. The greatest challenge was understanding these spaces, which have enormously more works than are shown in the museums themselves, and to report about them. But not like a journalist. On the contrary, I wanted to visually illustrate the spirit and dignity I found in each of the locations. So I looked for a very personal approach to carry out the project.

How did you do that?
I didn’t arrange the things in the archives, but instead positioned myself so I could catch the atmosphere of the spaces – spaces that are not usually accessible – each with their own special aura. The concept goes way beyond normal photography. It was not for nothing that we framed the photos, a modern art form, in universal frames, a let’s say Flemish frame with a brass sign. Like a box that holds a space that nobody can see.

In the exhibition “KAIROS. The Right Moment”, the Treasure Rooms are being shown together with paintings by Wolfgang Beltracchi. What’s the appeal of the cooperation?
When my friend Christian (Zott) though about doing the project and the cooperation, all I knew about Wolfgang Beltracchi was his name, a few pictures and interviews. I taught at the der Academia Belle Arti for many years. I find his ability to technically reproduce nearly every artistic style from any era to be amazing. But to create a new picture in the style of a certain artist or era, that’s something only he can do. When the three of us met for the first time, it was exceptional. It’s like adrenalin for me: the freedom to work on the idea, the luck of working with people who I can discuss the idea with over dinner, who inspire each other – and when you think you’ve messed everything up, you start over from scratch together again. It’s rare for an artist to find many of these kinds of projects during his lifetime.

Images sources:

1: August Macke, „Mädchen unter Bäumen“, 1914. © bpk | Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen
a: Lucas Cranach the Elder „Ungleiches Paar (Der alte Buhler)“. © bpk / Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen
b: Franz Marc „Ställe“ 1913. © bpk / The Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation / Art Resource, NY
c: Gustav Klimt „Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” 1907.  © John Baran / Alamy Stock Foto.