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About OK

OK Idea

The OK in the Upper Austrian Culture Quarter is an exhibition house and a lab for contemporary art, which provides space for the presentation of current artistic trends and for a networked development. The focus is on the production of spatial installations and the realization of media art, coupled with an intensive engagement with socio-political themes and a dynamic way of conveying art.

History:

The OK was founded in the late 1980s in the building of the former Ursuline School. The Federal Province of Upper Austria initially intended for it to be used as an atelier house, but under the artistic director Martin Sturm since 1991, the institution changed fundamentally.

Whereas the central intention twenty-five years ago was to provide young, innovative artists with a media studio and workshops on site (and to react to the need of young media art and installations to “work site-specifically”), since the fusion with the Ursulinenhof into the Upper Austrian Culture Quarter, the production house faces new challenges. The OK is still a research station, a camp at the foot of Höhenrausch for figuratively setting out into lofty heights. In the classrooms and in the clear combination of spaces the focus is on concentration and condensation. It is an intensive format and an open space for art that the successful institution is able to and must afford, in order to continue to do justice to its experimental aspirations and its emphasis on conveying art and socially relevant themes.

Architecture:

The building from the 1930s, designed by Clemens Holzmeister, has been left largely intact on the exterior. During the 1990s the OK “Offenes Kulturhaus” Upper Austria was renovated in stages, usually during ongoing exhibitions, and adapted to its current use (Construction Site Art by Sabine Bitter and Helmut Weber).

The concept by the architect Peter Riepl (Office Riepl/Riepl), which was distinguished with the Property Developer Award in 1998, is considered an outstanding example of high-quality architecture that is able to establish a fascinating relationship between the old and the new. The advantages of the former functional space of the school are utilized, and sensitive interventions in the old architecture give the building its optical transparency.

In 2006 an office building was built along the street Dametzstrasse, which is interconnected through the new cinema with the Moviemento cinema in the basement, the exhibition house with its graphite facade, a shared box office, and the Solaris Bar. The redesign of the roughly 4000 square meter area of the OK Platz with the construction of the golden bar container by Andi Strauss makes this area a vibrant hot spot in the center of the provincial capital.

The fusion of the OK with the Culture Center of the Province, the Ursulinenhof, into the Upper Austrian Culture Quarter in 2012 and the growing Höhenrausch path on the roofs have resulted in the development not only of a fascinating upper city, but also of one of the most interesting urban ensembles.

OK in the Upper Austrian Culture Quarter

After all the years of expansion in terms of both content and space, the OK’s response to the challenges of art and our society is to concentrate on critical socio-political topics, but also on communication and education within the interdisciplinary institution of the Upper Austrian Culture Quarter. This continues to branch out over the roofs, conquering ever new spaces and taking up the task of bringing the most diverse players (cinema, restaurants, galleries, art associations, but also the church) and festivals into an exciting program and making it possible to experience the former grounds of the Ursuline Convent as a vibrant urban location for regional culture.

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