Vendors step into historic artwork in Salzburg Museum exhibition

A group of Austrian street paper vendors stepped back in time when they took part in a tableau vivant [living painting] in Salzburg.

Nine vendors from the city’s street paper Apropos were filmed in plain clothes and in 19th century costume beside Johann Michael Sattler’s famous historic panorama painting of Salzburg.

A still from Moira Zoitl’s Living Painting film starring Apropos vendors. The resulting video is now being shown in Salzburg Museum as part of its latest exhibition.

“It was something very special,” said vendor Evelyne Aigner. “I loved the historic clothes but was a little bit nervous in the beginning because I have never done something like that before. In the end I was very proud to have participated.”

You can read more about Evelyne and her husband Georg in INSP’s International Vendor Advent Calendar here.

Painted in 1825, the Sattler Panorama depicts the city of Salzburg and its surrounding area, as it looked from Hohensalzburg Castle at the top of Festungsberg Hill.

It provides the backdrop to Berlin-based artist Moira Zoitl’s new work. The resulting video draws attention to Apropos vendors’ desire to work and is part of the museum’s Wunschbilder exhibition.

Zoitl said the vendors behaved “absolutely professionally” during the long shoot.

Still from Moira Zoitl’s Living Painting film starring Apropos vendor Ogi Georgiev. Still from Moira Zoitl’s Living Painting film starring Apropos vendor Jürgen Kling. “It lasted as long as the final credits of Ben Hur,” laughed vendor Jürgen Kling. “The make-up artist had to renew my make up several times because it was so hot in the spotlights. It was so professional but I had to concentrate a lot to keep still in my posture – a hard, but great experience.”

Fellow vendor Luise Slamanig agreed: “The filming was a unique, fun and exciting experience. We were looked after very well by the filmmakers and they had a lot of patience with us.” [You might recognise Luise from our report on the street paper’s yoga classes for vendors and readers.]

Each vendor received €100 for taking part. But Ogi Georgiev was so happy to participate and impressed with the result that he decided to donate the money back to the museum. “It was a magnificent experience,” he said.

Husband and wife Apropos vendors Evelyne and Georg Aigner star in Moira Zoitl’s Living Painting. Still from Moira Zoitl’s Living Painting film starring husband and wife Apropos vendors Evelyne and Georg Aigner. Salzburg Museum has previously run tours for the street paper’s vendors. Apropos Editor-in-Chief Michaela Gründler said they were happy to work together again.

“The museum was keen to work with us because they want to bring people into the museum who don’t normally go there. For us it is a big honour because our aim is to bring Apropos where nobody expects us,” she explained.

Apropos staff and vendors were some of the 200 people who attended the opening of the exhibition last week. The vendors were thrilled to dress for the occasion. It was the first time Michaela had seen Jürgen in a suit and cravat.

Still from Moira Zoitl’s Living Painting film starring Apropos vendors including Luise Slamanig.

“A lot of our vendors came to the event to admire their colleagues,” she added. “An opening event has never been so full of joy and good feelings.

“Many have never been before in a museum, because some are actually homeless, sleeping in cars, shelters, and under bridges. They dressed nicely, put on make-up and had a big laugh because they were so happy.”

The exhibition will run until 27 March 2016.