Exhibitions 2-2/4: Fotogalerie Wien

Fotogalerie Wien (Photogallery Vienna) – witness of the photography age

As a non-commercial gallery, Fotogalerie Wien has been one of the most progressive and modern institutions for fine art photography for over 40 years and has always had its finger on the pulse of the times. Numerous exhibitions have been held. They traveled along through the time when photography still had to fight for acceptance in the art market. Today, photography is an important part of art and Fotogalerie Wien has also had a great influence on it. Being exhibited there is very meaningful for the artists.

Currently, the team of Fotogalerie Wien consists of eight artists and two art historians who gather ideas to curate exhibitions worth seeing. The collective includes Christian Eiselt, Susanne Gamauf, Herman Capor, Christian Gold-Kurz, Tobias Izsó, Michael Michlmayr, Patrick Winkler, Petra Noll-Hammerstiel, Johan Nane Simonsen and Andreas Müller. Within the team there are different age groups. This leads to different views, different areas of knowledge and also different approaches, which are important for Fotogalerie Wien. Their goal is to discover and absorb new trends.In addition, they address current topics or issues. On average, at least six exhibitions are shown in a year. This year there are two exhibitions so far: NURTURE and PAS DE DEUX. Once a year there is a solo exhibition, which serves as a presentation platform for artists who are still at the very beginning of their careers. This is meant to serve as a kind of career jump for the artists. Periodically, there are "focal point" exhibitions that are conceptualized over a specific theme. These exhibitions are represented over a period of time. There is a catalog for the focal point exhibition. Otherwise, there is a "show of works" exhibition, which is mainly about a particular work that has had an enormous influence on photography. A catalog is also published for this exhibition.

Creation of the photo gallery

What makes Fotogalerie Wien so special is that it adapts to the times. The early days of photography, when it was still in the development phase, to the present time, in which there are rather fine art photographers and also photography directions. Fotogalerie Wien has witnessed these times and contributed a lot to them. It is remarkable how many exhibitions Fotogalerie Wien has shown and how many artists Fotogalerie Wien has served as a platform until now. But how did it come about in the first place? What has been the development of Fotogalerie Wien since its opening in 1981? Let's take a closer look at the history of Fotogalerie Wien's development:

The history of Fotogalerie Wien begins with a cigarette. The last cigarette of Josef Wais, to be exact. The end of this cigarette led to the beginning of Fotogalerie Wien. Josef Wais was the founder of Fotogalerie Wien. He was born on March 16, 1944 in Píla, Slovakia. At the age of 73, he died in Vienna on July 20, 2017. As an artist and designer, he participated in several projects. In addition to founding Fotogalerie Wien and KINOunser, he was also a co-founder of the Werkstätten- und Kulturhaus Wien, called WUK. He was also a co-founder of the Kunsthalle Exnergasse. Collections such as the Cultural Office of the City of Vienna or the Lentos Museum in Linz represent his work. Josef Wais was able to establish the Fotogalerie Wien, which is now an "Association for the Promotion of Artistic Photography and New Media", through communication and cooperation. The close circle of Viennese artists very quickly became international.

Team and communication

From the very beginning, a lot of emphasis was placed on close cooperation, which is why a breakfast meeting was organized one year after the opening, mainly to plan and organize Fotogalerie Wien. At that time there was no e-mailing, so the invitations were sent out quite classically for this purpose by postcard. Shortly thereafter, responses came from artists and photographers who set themselves the goal of establishing artistic photography in the art market. In the early days, the team of Fotogalerie Wien consisted of seven artists. In 1983, the first important exhibition entitled "New Photography from Vienna" was organized. From 1984 onwards, international galleries were also integrated into the program and the first exchange exhibitions were held.

The audience of Fotogalerie Wien also changed over time. In the beginning, they could only reach a certain target group. Now there is much greater interest in photo art and photo galleries. Thus, the audience has also increased, which is also now to find every age group. 

Contact Fotogalerie Wien

Fotogalerie Wien
Währinger Strasse 59/WUK
A–1090 Vienna
T: +43 1 4045462
F: +43 1 4030478

Josef Wais - Founder of Fotogalerie Wien (Photogallery Vienna)

Josef Wais knew at the time that photography was not widespread in the art market. Nevertheless, he dared to take this step and since then numerous exhibitions have taken place. Today, Fotogalerie Wien is one of the best known and most popular exhibition venues for artists and photography fans. Thanks to Josef Wais, many artists have been able to expand their reach since Fotogalerie Wien opened. One idea and one person can have a lot of influence on the future and at the same time enrich the future of others. 


Güllü-Fidan Anlama, born January 8, 1996 in Herzberg am Harz, Germany.
Studies: Art history and media studies
Internship: from April to July 2022 at Studio Thomas Kellner
Specials interests: sports, traveling, cinema and art, drawing and painting