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released 2008



The Gugging Album by Kava & Hans-Joachim Roedelius has been inspired by the artists of Gugging.

The house of artists is a small building on top of a hill next to the Wienerwald (Vienna Woods), approximately 12 miles North of Vienna. Since 1981 it has been housing the Gugging Artists, people who have gained a worldwide reputation due to the high quality of their drawings, paintings, writings and objects. They count among the most important representatives in the artistic field of Art Brut. Presently the House gives home to 11 residents, 8 of which are artistically active. The House of Artists. There is a prior history, to the House of Artists, going back to the 1950s. The many years of work in and around the House resulted in the creation of the Art / Brut Centre Gugging. Today, the House of Artists forms a part of this cultural centre.

In 1981, psychiatrist Leo Navratil and a small group of patients moved into an empty wing of the Gugging psychiatric hospital. Navratil called this place the Centre for Artistic Psychotherapy. His desired diagnostic and therapeutic successes paled in comparison to what he had already culturally unchained. As a result of his 30-year engagement in artistic therapy, some of his patients had already attracted international recognition. The patients at Gugging sketched, painted and wrote, and many of their works had turned out to be very lucrative. Navratil’s successor, Johann Feilacher, renamed the wing The House of Artists in 1986 when he moved away from a romanticised view of the handicapped and mentally disabled. Numerous exhibitions and publications have tried to debunk this glorified way of seeing the artists. The Gugging artists and their works are considered to be Outsider Art. Cultural activities or art as a social concept do not interest the artists of Gugging. Instead, the artists’ approach to their work is one of rawness and poetry. Their focus is only on what they are doing, to persist in their own style which differentiates them from the rest. They live as a group, but remain solitary in their creativity.

The Gugging artists have received the Oskar Kokoschka Art Prize, two of the poets have been accepted into the Graz Writers Association, and there has been a worldwide interest from galleries, museums and collectors for their drawings, paintings, objects and writings. Many doors have been opened through the open respect from artists such as Rainer, Pongratz, Jandl, Mayröcker, Andre Heller and David Bowie. The far-reaching influence of the Gugging patients as artists has provided a path for many other people with psychological problems and mental handicaps to use art to improve their quality of life.

Hans-Joachim Roedelius

Roedelius was born in Berlin in 1934 and lives in Baden bei Wiens since 1990. He was trained as a physiotherapist and masseur at a German clinic, the Charité Berlin. He worked in these professions, as well as a hospice attendant from 1961 to 1967 when he decided to become an artist. Since then, he has devoted himself to the creative arts as a composer, musician, poet and writer. He has also served as the director of the More Ohr Less symposium which he founded at Lunz am See in 2004. Since 2005, he has served as the honorary president of the Moving Cultures festival in Tirana, Albania. He is the co-founder and member of bands such as Kluster, Cluster and Harmonia. His name appears on over 160 LP and CD releases, including cooperative projects with artists such as Conrad Schnitzler, Dieter Moebius, Brian Eno, Holger Czukay, Konrad Plank and many others. His musical career began with the application of electrically-generated sound material, which is to say the use of any kind of sound or noise for musical purposes. As a student of Joseph Beuys and Conrad Schnitzler, he is a member of the Fluxus movement. He is the creator of more than 1000 registered works, texts, poems and visual art. He has also been involved with various dance and theatre productions, as well as radio plays and film soundtracks.

Roedelius: I became a sound artist and musician after I finished my state board exams to qualify as a nurse, physiotherapist, and masseur for the Berlin Charité Hospital. It was during my time at the psychological and neurological clinic there that I came into contact with people who were described as disturbed and psychologically fragile. I also worked as a hospice carer for dying patients at Berlin’s West End Hospital. This probably gave me a more intense outlook on life here and in the hereafter than is normal for the average person. At the beginning of 2007, Michael Martinek asked me if I had any desire to participate in the Gugging Project. I immediately accepted because I wanted to see if I could create a musical link to the artists at Gugging, specifically in their position as outsiders who find themselves in a place of exile which has been sanctioned by society. It is up to the listener of this project to determine if I have been successful. In any case, my Gugging Pieces are a reflection on my personal experiences during my training at the Berlin Charité Hospital and my long years of experience with patients from all social backgrounds, be it in Germany or in France, where I mainly worked as a private therapist. Specifically, I wanted to look at the potential before me when I applied the most attention possible to myself and to the people in my immediate surroundings. To quote Umberto Eco: Where can one find the light which has been lost? One looks for it in the fires, where, after the blaze, the flames continue to smoulder beneath the dead roots of the charred foilage...

Roedelius Homepage


Producer and artist Thomas Pötz, alias KAVA, has proven himself to be an extraordinary talent when it comes to transparent, glass-clear sounds, refined rhythms, and high-energy songs with electro-pop appeal. Instead of a classic rock band career, KAVA, who was born in Vienna in 1981, has won positive praise around the globe for his debut album The Empty Hall Sessions, which was released in 2004 by fabrique records. It has earned kudos for its cool clicks and cuts, aesthetic beat formations and carefully chosen classic cuts. For months, KAVA studied the lives and the creative processes of the Gugging artists and transformed his observations into musical compositions.

KAVA: My first contact with the art from Gugging was when I saw an exhibition in the Liechtenstein palace in Vienna with my father in the year 1987 It was then, at the age of 6, that I watched August Walla gobble down a vast number of meat sandwiches which he kept safeguarded in a shopping bag. At the same time, my father would not allow me to take a children’s tour of the palace. He said I should make up my own mind rather than take a tour which was designed to talk down to me. I am grateful to my father for that up to this very day. Indeed, the works left a powerful and fearful impression on my mind, but it also left a lasting impression of the power of art on the imagination. The tracks on the CD are as varied and as exciting as the art and background stories of the Gugging artists. The fantastic artistic freedom and variety in Gugging inspires and motivates. Many tracks emerged from personal impressions after visits to Gugging. Others relate to individual works or stories, or as an individual gift to a specific artist.

Pics taken by Patricia Weisskirchner /
Artwork by Morgen Berlin /

The Gugging Album is powered by Wien Energie & SKE


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