BMW Art Guide by Independent Collectors

Galerie Emanuel Layr – Vienna, Austria

Finding the right chord among the various artists

Benjamin Hirte
, Antics, 2013
Benjamin Hirte
, Antics, 2013

The role of Vienna-based gallery owner Emanuel Layr is in a way comparable to that of an orchestra conductor. In operating his gallery, he speaks of finding the right chord among the various artists he represents: "It is not about a monoculture or formulating a single thought", Layr explains. "Instead, it is about bringing together a group of artists that can be read as a statement." The challenge is to combine similarities and differences in a way that artists feel comfortable in various constellations. If one succeeds in doing so, many fruitful collaborations come about; such as Julien Bismuth and Lili Reynaud-Dewar’s recent presentation at LISTE, or Phillip Timischl and Lisa Holzer's upcoming presentation at the Frieze Art Fair in London.

Lili Reynaud-Dewar
, Live Through That?!, 2014 (detail)
Lili Reynaud-Dewar
, Live Through That?!, 2014 (detail)
Lisa Holzer, 
It’s my hair and I can do what I want with it!, 2014 (detail)
Lisa Holzer, 
It’s my hair and I can do what I want with it!, 2014 (detail)

When Layr was still a student, he completed several internships at galleries and at an auction house. However, he soon realized that he did not want to wait another 20 years to curate and organize his first project. In 2002, Layr began a collaboration with Thomas Wüstenhagen, who now works at Art Basel. They opened a project space close to the MuseumsQuartier, before moving to an early twentieth-century building full of character in Vienna’s city center, not far from acclaimed galleries like Galerie Nächst St. Stephan and Galerie Krinzinger. Initially called Galerie Layr Wuestenhagen, the gallery was re-established under Layr's sole directorship in March 2011.

Since then the gallery program has maintained an ambitious program of solo exhibitions, interspersed with frequent group shows including "... forsakes its existence and gives its shape over to recollection", curated by Severin Dünser and Christian Kobald, "No day without a temperament", curated by Benjamin Hirte and "Very abstract and really figurative", curated by Emanuel Layr himself.

Emanuel Layr
Emanuel Layr
Exhibition view Galerie Emanuel Layr
Exhibition view Galerie Emanuel Layr

As an art dealer, Emanuel Layr considers his task to offer opportunities to the artists he believes deserve more attention, giving them a space to exhibit their art and allowing them to work without any restrictions. “What benefits a gallery in the long term”, Layr explaines “is to accumulate sustainable contacts who stay with the artists and actively support them. Also it is important to maintain a dialogue, to share great encounters or to simply travel to exhibitions together.”

Layr seeks the same kind of long term, friendly relationships with collectors. "There is an interesting group of collectors, who have been following the program for many years", says Layr. "Some of them are quite young – we’ve kind of started together. I really appreciate collectors who are involved and informed, and support productions. Some of them have become close friends, sharing the same passion for some great artists.” “Of course”, Layr admits “I have also sold works to collectors, who I never met before or since.” He later adds: “Perhaps, I am a bit old school in terms of looking for a personal connection, finding out the interests and needs, and then trying to find good solutions and trying to connect."

by Silvia Anna Barrilà

The freelance journalist Silvia Anna Barrilà is specialized in the art market. Since 2008 she has been writing for the Italian financial newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore and for international media covering art, including Damn, Auction Central News, Artinvestor, and Monopol

All works courtesy the artists and Galerie Emanuel Layr / Photos: Galerie Emanuel Layr (incl. the portrait)

More Information on Galerie Emanuel Layr

Galleries (40)

Futura Art Gallery — Pietrasanta, Italy

A gallery that unites established and emerging artists

Gianni Manhattan - Vienna, Austria

Young, International and Critically Astute

Misako & Rosen — Tokyo, Japan

Redefining the Conversation Around Aesthetics

Tiwani Contemporary – London, Great Britain

The London Gallery Promoting African Self-definition

Frutta Gallery — Rome, Italy

Understanding Tradition Without Hesitating to Break It

Contemporary Fine Arts – Berlin, Germany

From West to East and Back Again: a Berlin Institution That’s Made Its Mark

Bo Bjerggaard – Copenhagen, Denmark

Showcasing Figurative Painting With a Side of Communal Spirit

Pierre-Yves Caër Gallery – Paris, France

The Parisian gallery creating a home for Japanese artists in the European art market.

Blindspot Gallery — Hong Kong, China

Throwing a Spotlight on Local Artists

Vane – Newcastle upon Tyne, Great Britain

The Not-for-profit Space Offering Context And Critique In Newcastle

H’art Gallery — Bucharest, Romania

One of Bucharest’s Oldest Private-Run Galleries

LambdaLambda Lambda – Pristina, Kosovo

Mastering the Language in the Kosovan Capital

Deák Erika Galéria – Budapest, Hungary

Beyond Budapest’s Baths

The Breeder Gallery – Athens, Greece

Breeding New Forms in Athens

Tim Van Laere Gallery – Antwerp, Belgium

An autonomous gallery representing both upcoming and well-established artists

Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler – Berlin, Germany

One of the most cutting-edge galleries in Berlin

Galerie Fons Welters – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

A Doorway to Amsterdam’s Contemporary Art

Bosse & Baum – London, United Kingdom

Ambitious perspectives in Peckham

TM51 – Oslo, Norway

Three Galleries in One – Oslo’s Most Accessible Space

mfc-michèle didier – Paris, France

A Space that Reflects the Artistic Discipline

V1 Gallery – Copenhagen, Denmark

Challenging the Boundaries of Art

Upstream Gallery – Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Tackling the Shift Between the Analog and Digital in a Post Internet World

Galerie Forsblom – Helsinki, Finland

Bringing international contemporary art to the Finnish capital

The Journal Gallery – New York, USA

Saving New York from Becoming a Sale-Focused Gallery Wasteland

Peres Projects – Berlin, Germany

Bridging the Gap Between Los Angeles and Berlin

Galeria OMR – Mexico City

Mexico City’s advocate for modern artistic tendencies and international contemporary art

LOYAL – Stockholm, Sweden

A Gallery that Pushes the Dialogue Around Young and International Art in Sweden’s Capital

Chimera-Project — Budapest, Hungary

Post-contemporary interest in aesthetics while eagerly re-constructing and defining traditions

La New Gallery — Madrid, Spain

Celebrating contemporary art in all its multi-faceted forms

Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery – Sydney, Australia

Her uncanny ability to recognize unique Pacific Rim talent

Take Ninagawa Gallery – Tokyo, Japan

Promoting emerging Japanese artists within a cross-generational, international framework

RaebervonStenglin – Zurich, Switzerland

It is much more about concepts, long conversations and long-term commitment

Platform China – Beijing/Hongkong, China

This shows how much prejudgment there still is

Fluxia – Milan, Italy

Strive to discover new approaches in contemporary art

Gaudel de Stampa – Paris, France

“Discreet” seems to be the perfect adjective

NON – Istanbul, Turkey

The dawn of an era of collaboration

Vermelho – São Paulo, Brazil

There were no galleries open to a new generation of artists working in a nontraditional way

Eleven Rivington – New York, USA

Newfound talent and rediscovers international artists for a new audience

Ibid. – London, Great Britain

Rather than listing names