Expressionism: Art movement, which in Austria included almost all fields of the arts between 1909-1920, especially literature and the fine arts. Expressionist artists wanted to go beyond the Naturalist and Symbolist conception of art with slogans such as "individual enhancement" and "collective solidarity", by trying to connect aesthetic and ethical postulates. Their main objective was to create a new conception of the human being. From a literary-sociological point of view, Expressionism was a protest against bourgeois authoritarian structures and criticised the capitalist economic system and ruthless industrialisation and mechanisation, and last but not least against war. The language of Expressionist literature opposes traditional language patterns and calls for a new syntax. In Austrian literature, poets like G. Trakl, A. Ehrenstein, H. Kaltneker and authors like M. Brod, F. Werfel, F. T. Csokor, A. Bronnen, R. Müller, A. P. Gütersloh and - as a writer ("Mörder, Hoffnung der Frauen", 1909) - O. Kokoschka are representatives of Expressionism.
Expressionist literary works were often decorated with book-illustrations. The emerging tradition of "Künstlerbuch" (artistic book) - written, illustrated and designed by one artist - was followed by painter-poets like O. Kokoschka, A. Kubin and U. Birnbaum.
The most significant representatives of Expressionism in Austrian painting are: O. Kokoschka, E. Schiele, H. Boeckl, A. Faistauer, R. Gerstl and A. Kolig. Subject and focus of their works is man, with his physical and mental weaknesses and vulnerability.
Great works in the field of Expressionist architecture were accomplished in the early 1920s in colossal projects of the Austrian film industry, e.g. "Sodom und Gomorrha" (1922) and "Die Sklavenkönigin" (1924), both directed by Michael Kertesz.
Literature: E. Fischer and W. Haefs (eds.), Hirnwelten funkeln. Literatur des Expressionismus in Wien 1988; R. Fuchs, Interpretationsstrategien zur Malerei des österreichischen Expressionismus in der Kunstliteratur von 1908-1938, doctoral thesis, Graz 1989; P. Werkner, Physis und Psyche; Deutsche Literatur im 20. Jahrhundert, vol. 3, E., ed. by S. Vietta and H. G. Kemper, 41990; M. Helfer, Der Ausdruck von Bewegung in Lyrik und Malerei als Spiegel einer Lebensauffassung zur Zeit des Expressionismus, master´s thesis, Graz 1991; P. Raabe, Die Autoren und Bücher des literarischen Expressionismus, 21992
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