Cibelle Cavalli Bastos Single
Photo credit: Graz tourizmus / Socrates Mitsios

Since its founding half a century ago in 1968, the festival has provided a platform for new productions, provoking and shaping public debates in a variety of forms across disciplines and media. Reinventing itself many times over, steirischer herbst has always redefined the terms of the conversation about what culture might mean in a changing contemporaneity.

The 52nd edition of steirischer herbst titled Grand Hotel Abyssis a striking metaphor used by philosopher Georg Lukács in the 1930s to describe the European intellectual and cultural scene in the face of approaching fascism. This year, the festival takes the combination of holiday pleasure and political crisis as a point of departure for a meditation on hedonism in troubled times.

As the core program of Steirischer herbst ’19, Grand Hotel Abyssconsists almost entirely of newly commissioned works by more than forty international artists. These contributions take the form of installations, performances, contemporary and experimental music as well discursive projects. The core program is accompanied by a rich and varied Parallel Program by local cultural institutions.

Photo credit: Graz Tourismus
Photo credit: Graz Tourismus / Zorka Wollny

A Spectacular Opening Night

The festival blasts off on 19 September with an evening-long extravaganza, traversing culinary-aesthetic delights—and their darker sides—with contributions by Alexander Brener and Barbara Schurz, Cibelle Cavalli BastosDas Planetenparty Prinzip, Elmgreen & DragsetJule FlierlJakob Lena Knebl and Markus Pires MataErna Ómarsdóttir & Valdimar JóhannssonManuel PelmușGernot Wielandand Zorka Wollny. The picturesque courtyard of the Grazer Landhaus and the opulent interior of Congress Graz will serve as elegant backdrops for the opening extravaganza, which will surely be a night to remember.

Photo credit: Graz Tourismum / Mathias Voelzke

During the Festival

From 19 September to 13 October Grand Hotel Abyss will unfold across the city of Graz and the region of Styria as a four-weeklong, densely woven curatorial narrative with artworks, installations, and film productions by Turner Prize nominee Oscar MurilloJasmina CibicJeremy DellerIan Hamilton FinlayGiorgi Gago GagoshidzeRiccardo GiacconiGrupa EeDaniel Mann and Eitan EfratMichael Portnoy,Andreas SiekmannNedko Solakov, and Artur Żmijewski. New performances, both site-specific and for the stage, will be presented by Ariel Efraim Ashbel and friends, Keti Chukhrov / Guram Matskhonashvili, Bojan Djordjev / Goran FerčecBoris OndreičkaBlanka Rádóczy / Vladimir SorokinHanna Rohn, Andrei Stadnikov with Vanya Bowden, Shifra Kazhdan and Dmitry VlasikTheater im Bahnhof, and Michiel Vandevelde.

Photo credit: Graz tourismus / Mathias Voelzke

Among the collaborations who stand out is with Literaturhaus Graz, titledThe Life and Adventures of GL, the installation takes an artistic-curatorial look at the fictions and myths around Georg Lukács. Another great partnership is with Schauspielhaus Graz, where the director Blanka Rádóczy develops a staging of the latest (only recently translated) novel by Vladimir Sorokin, in which books are used to fuel barbecue grills for lavish meals consumed by the rich and powerful.

Putin's happy
Photo credit: Graz tourizmus / Jeremy Deller
Photo credit: Graz tourizmus / Oscar Murillo

About steirischer herbst

  • Director and Chief Curator: Ekaterina Degot
  • Concept: Ekaterina Degot and David Riff
  • Curatorial Team: Mirela Baciak, Ekaterina Degot, Henriette Gallus, Dominik Müller, Christoph Platz, and David Riff

Festival pass available at

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