Rotor (Kunstverein)

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Rotor – center for contemporary art
Nickname< rotor >
Formation1999; 25 years ago (1999)
  • Margarethe Markovec
  • Anton Lederer
Founded atGraz, Austria
TypeNot-for-profit arts organization
PurposeFocuses on contemporary art dealing with social, political, ecological and economic issues.

Rotor - center for contemporary art (stylized as < rotor >) is a not-for-profit arts organization founded by the curators Margarethe Markovec and Anton Lederer in Graz in 1999.[1] It focuses on contemporary art dealing with social, political, ecological and economic issues.

Main focus

Makovec and Lederer curate themed non-commercial exhibitions in the Rotor premises in Graz as well as in the frame of cultural festivals such as Vienna Festival (Wiener Festwochen) or Steirischer Herbst (stylized steirischer herbst) or in public space. In the context of themed projects and exhibitions new artistic works are commissioned as well.

The main focus of the art association Rotor is on contemporary art in Central and Southeast Europe. In cooperation with european partner institutions the art association has already been involved as participant and coordinator in several EU projects. In addition, Rotor undertakes artistic exchanges and artist-in-residence programs for the Republic of Austria in Central and Southeast Europe.

Since moving to the culturally versatile district of Lend in Graz in 2007 the art association Rotor has been increasingly involved in local arts and cultural mediation and networking of the local art scene. Significant projects are the neighbourhood project "Annenviertel" and the CRK+ association organized with two other art societies in Graz.[2]

Rotor has received a number of awards for its work.

Exhibitions (selection)

  • 2013 Measures of Saving the World: five part long exhibition series with the participation of Lucia Dellefant, Christian Eisenberger, Tue Greenfort, Marjetica Potrc, Ivan Moudov and many others.
  • 2015 Blind Spots: Group exhibition at OFF-Biennále Budapest with the participation of Ovidiu Anton, Lörinc Borsos, Anna Witt and Hannes Zebedin.
  • 2016 House of Open Gates: art intervention in the frame of the Steirischer Herbst Festival.[3]
  • 2018 Archipelago. Island of Unpredictable Thinking: group exhibition as part of the “Into the City” series during the Vienna Festival (Wiener Festwochen) with the participation of Iris Andraschek, Hubert Lobnig, Lisl Ponger, Marlene Hausegger, Aldo Giannotti and many others.
  • 2018–2019 Guerilla of Enlightenment: four-part exhibition series with the participation of Amoako Boafo, Manaf Halbouni and many others
  • 2019–2020 The Anarchistic Amateur's Alphabet: artistic positions based on Herbert Müller-Guttenbrunn’s work with the participation of G.R.A.M., Delaine Le Bas, Damian Le Bas, The Blue Noses Group, Mladen Stilinović, Arne Rautenberg and many others.

Art in public space

  • 2003 real*utopia: 15 artworks in Graz’s district of Gries realized as part of Graz 2003 - European Capital of Culture.
  • 2009–2011 Annenviertel! The Art of Urban Intervention realized in cooperation with the urban planning department of the City of Graz, Steirischer Herbst Festival and many other project partners.

Projects in cooperation with the Institute for Art in Public Space Styria and the umbrella organization for open youth work in Styria:

  • 2008–2010 Freizeichen
  • 2014–2015 Nice Places
  • 2016–2017 Was geht

Projects (selection)


Rotor coordinated the following projects under the Culture program of the then Directorate-General for Education and Culture of the European Union:

  • 2007-2009 Land of Human Rights. Project partners among others riesa efau - Motorenhalle (Dresden), Trafó Gallery Budapest, Galerija Škuc (Ljubljana), g - mk - Galerija Miroslav Kraljević (Zagreb).
  • 2009–2011 The Art of Urban Intervention / Die Kunst des urbanen Handelns. project partners among others Jan Evangelista Purkyně University (Ústí nad Labem), BLOK - Local Base for Cultural Refreshment (Zagreb), The Blue House Foundation (Amsterdam), Institute of Contemporary Art (Sofia) and NABA - New Academy of Fine Arts (Milan).

As well, Rotor is austrian partner in the running EU project coordinated by Kunsthalle Bratislava and the Slovak National Gallery in the Creative Europe program of the European Union:

  • 2019–2021 Eastern Sugar[4]

Artist-in-residence- and exchange programs

On behalf of the Culture Section of the Department for Cultural Relations Abroad of the Federal Ministry for European and International Affairs the art association Rotor organized and implemented the following exchange programs:

  • 2011-2013: Black Sea Calling in cooperation with 15 partner institutions in the Black Sea region and Austria[5]
  • 2014–2016: West Balkan Calling in cooperation with 12 partner institutions in the Balkans and Austria[6]
  • 2018–2019: Central & East Europe Calling in cooperation with 14 partner institutions in Central- and East Europe and Austria.[7]

Bilateral cooperation

The following projects were developed by order of the former Federal Chancellery of Austria, Division Arts and Culture:

  • 2016–2017: Kulturno Prijateljstvo / Cultural Friendship Bosna i Hercegovina / Austria in cooperation with curators in Banja Luka, Sarajevo, Trebinje (Bosnia-Herzegovina).
  • 2019: I Do Not Feel Free to Do What I Want in cooperation with the Kharkiv Municipal Gallery (Ukraine).

Prizes & Awards

  • 2002 Austrian Award for Transborder Cultural Work[8]
  • 2010 Hanns-Koren-Culture Prize from the State of Styria
  • 2011 Bank Austria Art Award - International category[9]
  • 2017 Outstanding Artist Award from the Austrian Federal Chancellery in the category "Innovative Cultural Work".[10]

Publications (selection)

  • Margarethe Makovec, Anton Lederer (ed.): House of the Open Gates. < rotor >, Graz 2019.
  • Judith Laister, Margarethe Makovec, Anton Lederer (ed.): Die Kunst des urbanen Handelns / The Art of Urban Intervention. Löcker Verlag, Vienna 2014, ISBN 978-3-85409-702-0.
  • Florian Arlt, Margarethe Makovec, Anton Lederer (ed.): Freizeichen. Artistic Interventions in the context of the worlds lived in by young adults. Archiv der Jugendkulturen Verlag, Graz 2012, ISBN 978-3-943774-08-5.
  • Laila Huber, Judith Laister, Anton Lederer, Margarethe Makovec, Oliver Ressler (ed.): Land of Human Rights. Reader. Revolver Publishing, Berlin 2009, ISBN 978-3-86895-029-8.


  1. Margit Kothgasser-Vutuc (March 2012), Rotor. Schwerpunkt politische und sozialkritische Kunst aus Südosteuropa. Diploma thesis (in German), Graz, p. 14{{citation}}: CS1 maint: date and year (link) CS1 maint: location missing publisher (link) CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  2. Homepage of the CRK + working group
  3. Entry in the program archive of the art festival "steirischer herbst", accessed on April 16, 2020.
  4. Interview with Margarethe Makovec and Anton Lederer in the magazine Info Europa, the Institute for the Danube Region and Central Europe, Issue 1/2020, p. 9 ff. (View:, accessed on April 16, 2020.
  5. Call website, accessed April 15, 2020
  6. Call website, accessed April 15, 2020
  7. Call website, accessed April 15, 2020
  8. Cross-border cultural work recognized by rotor and Schiele Art Centrum. In: Der Standard, October 7, 2002. Accessed April 15, 2020.
  9. Bank Austria art award for "Sprachsalz", "rotor" and "Lakeside". In: Der Standard, February 24, 2012. Accessed April 15, 2020.
  10. List of the winners of the "Outstanding Artist Awards" on the website of the Federal Ministry for Art, Culture, Public Service and Sport, accessed on April 15, 2020.

External links

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