As chairwoman of the supporting association “Kontakt. The Art Collection of Erste Group and ERSTE Foundation”, Kathrin Rhomberg will be responsible for the thematic and organisational focus of the internationally renowned collection. She has been co-opted onto the board by Christine Böhler, director of ERSTE Foundation’s Culture programme. Members of the association’s board are appointed for a three-year term, which is renewable. Andreas Huber from Erste Group will keep his position as the second board member. The supporting association is made up of the companies and organisations that finance the collection: Banca Comerciala Romana (BCR), Ceská spořitelna, Erste Bank Croatia, Erste Bank Hungary, Erste Group Bank AG, Slovenská sporitel’ňa and, since 2011, ERSTE Foundation.
Kathrin Rhomberg will take charge of the collection’s team headed by its long-standing curator, Walter Seidl, and intends to build on the work it has done to date: “It is a rewarding task to have the opportunity to manage an existing collection of such outstanding quality, and also a personal goal of mine to develop the idea of an art collection from a practical point of view and maybe discover completely new approaches and avenues in the interests of art.”
Kathrin Rhomberg started exploring Central, Eastern and Southern European art at an early age and curated numerous exhibitions focussing on this particular theme. She is therefore more than familiar with the artists represented in the collection and has collaborated with many of them in joint projects over the last 20 years.
From 1990 to 2001 Kathrin Rhomberg was curator and director of the exhibition office at Vienna Secession. Together with Francesco Bonami, Ole Bouman and Maria Hlavajova, she curated Manifesta 3, the European Biennial of Contemporary Art, in Ljubljana in 2000. In 2001 she founded the international tranzit project for Erste Bank with Maria Hlavajova, an initiative to promote art projects in Central Europe that was later taken over by ERSTE Foundation. In 2002 she moved on to the Kölnischer Kunstverein, where she took on the role of managing director until 2007. In Cologne she was also in charge of the multi-annual international exhibition and research project Projekt Migration, which she organised together with Marion von Osten. In 2010 she curated the 6th Berlin Biennale.
Here is a selection of the international exhibitions of modern and contemporary art curated by Kathrin Rhomberg over the last few years: Sanja Iveković. General Alert. Works 1974-2007 (with Nataša Ilić), Fundacio Antoni Tapies, Barcelona, 2007; Ion Grigorescu. In the Body of the Victim 1969-2008, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, 2009; Roman Ondák – Loop, Slovakian and Czech pavilions, 53rd Venice Biennale, 2009; Christoph Schlingensief. Fear of the Core of Things, BAK, basis voor aktuele kunst, Utrecht, 2012 and Galerija Nova, Zagreb, 2012; Das Bauhaus in Kalkutta. Eine Begegnung kosmopolitischer Avantgarden (with Regina Bittner and Partha Mitter), Bauhaus, Dessau, 2013; Petrit Halilaj, Kosovo pavilion, 55th Venice Biennale, 2013.
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Kontakt. The Art Collection of Erste Group and ERSTE Foundation
Founded in 2004, Kontakt focuses on conceptual tendencies in the field of contemporary art in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe since the late 1950s. The collection currently comprises around 720 works by over 90 artists from 14 different countries. It continuously develops exhibition projects with international museums, such as with MUMOK in 2006 or with the Centre Pompidou in 2010. To date, loans from the collection have been on display in around 100 exhibitions across the globe, such as documenta XII or São Paolo Biennale 2012.