47. international symposion krastal
12. 07. - 02. 08. 2014

Who the f*** is Otto?

Otto Eder - rebel or prisoner, natural talent or provocative trouble-maker?
Many stories are told about the life and work of Otto Eder, but there are still some of his contemporaries alive today who can bear witness to all the facets of his being. We invited some of them to give us an authentic portrayal of their encounters with this renowned Austrian artist.

In parallel, we also confronted younger artists with the work of Otto Eder, and urged them to react to him using the means and materials available today. The Symposium in 2014 was centred around the 90th birthday of this very singular personality, who was never concerned with trying to please, who rather always accepted challenges and pursued his own notion of sculpture without compromise of any kind. One important aspect of his idea was the creation of a communal workshop, built by the artists‘ own hands, through which he laid the foundations for an unbroken series of - currently 47 - sculptors' symposia with international participants.

The so-called “dowelled sculptures” developed by Otto Eder put Fritz Wotruba, his professor at the Academy in Vienna, under such pressure that Wotruba had destroyed Eder‘s sculptures in his absence. Despite the fact that Otto Eder achieved recognition and even prominence as an artist quite quickly, and was awarded several public commissions in Vienna, these encounters with his teacher, in combination with his previous experiences in the war, plunged him into despair and misery. He pursued his own vision of an architectural approach to sculpture with immense tenacity, but after many more disappointments he eventually turned his back on Vienna and put all his energy into the creation of the workshop at Krastal.

Many who met him there, a cigarette permanently lodged in the corner of his mouth, describe him as surly, chaotic and introverted. He himself continuously sought the company of others, wanting to build something new in a communal spirit, but was never really understood and eventually had to accept that many of his comrades turned away from the idealism of his enterprises.
The fact that he put an end to his own life in 1982 was not part of the plan and can only be ascribed to a disastrous collision of all the difficult circumstances in his life meeting with his own susceptibilities. Eder had just previously begun to take measures to re-locate to Seeboden, the town of his birth.

The participants of the 2014 Symposium were free to decide in which manner or form to engage with Otto Eder. Having said this, the Symposium‘s organisers did expect a profound and impassioned immersion in the work and the personality of Otto Eder... in the hope of having come a good bit closer to answering the question in its title by the conclusion of the Symposion.


Ulrich Plieschnig
Egon Straszer


Nadja Brugger-Isopp
Gernot Fischer–Kondratovitch
Lisa Huber
Marina Koraiman
Bojana Krizanec
Helmut Machhammer
Jure Markota
Hans-Joachim Thiele

program during the symposion:

12 July – 2 August
bildhauerhaus - krastal

Otto Eder "einblicke – so & anders"
Exhibition with works by the symposium participants
as well as one
Otto Eder exhibition
with works, films and Documents about his life and work.

11. July 2014, 7pm

25 July 2014, 5pm:
bildhauerhaus - krastal

philosopher bread_time
Witnesses, reports, discourses, banquet

2 August 2014, 5pm
Closing party, banquet

„Red wine and Braunschweiger“,
Culinary art of a special kind in Memoriam Otto Eder.

On the occasion of Otto Eder's 90th birthday, the well-established symposium party on 2 August turned into a
birthday party