LIFE BALL 2019: BEHF-designed Special Exhibition ”United in Diversity” Opens at the Hofmobiliendepot
Under the slogan “United in Diversity“ („Vereint in Vielfalt”), the LIFE+ association / LIFE BALL in cooperation with the Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H has opened a special exhibition designed by BEHF Architects at the Hofmobiliendepot. For the first time, costumes and accessories from this year’s Style Bible as well as some selected exhibits from past productions are showcased. The exhibition can be seen from May 17 to September 15, 2019.
“The goal is to capture and reflect the costumes of this year’s Life Ball in conjunction with the history of LGBT movement from the Stonewall Rebellion in New York City over 26 years of Life Ball in Vienna. We have integrated all of this into the historically protected premises of the museum,” says Stephan Ferenczy, BEHF Architects co-founder. BEHF Architects has already been socially engaged in the past and has been awarded the Edelman Health Aids and Employment Award.
A central aim of the Life Ball is to raise awareness for HIV/AIDS, highlighting this issue publicly with a unique event. At this year’s Life Ball, everything revolves around the fight for equal treatment and reminds us of the beginnings of the now legendary ball. When 50 years ago at New York’s Stonewall Inn, homosexuals and lesbians first rebelled vehemently against the police harassment, the path to visibility was chosen, the rainbow flag its obvious symbol. The Life Ball, too, took a similar stony path to the LGBT movement and always saw itself as a place of visualization of people and concerns that a society seeks to stigmatize. This year’s Life Ball embarks on a journey across the rainbow and lands with a wandering circus troupe in a fantastic world of colors. Along the way, more and more bizarre characters come together, all in their own way “freaks”, each in search of a home, heart, mind and courage. In this spectrum move also the costumes, which are shown in this exhibition. On the one hand in the world of the circus, on the other hand in the colorful world of colors.
The concept of the exhibition is to introduce the viewer to this year’s Style Bilbe costumes through strong contrasts similar to a darkened panopticon. For this, the showroom is divided in length – in a black and a white half. The two halves not only stand for “light and dark” or “inside and outside”, but are also intended to show the still-lived separatism in our society.
“It was particularly important to us not only to show pretty costumes, but also to point out the still existing black and white thinking in society in the exhibition design. I am especially happy about the cooperation with the Hofmobiliendepot. The apparent contrast between time-honored furniture and the shrillness of some of the Style Bible outfits is an optical and substantive diversity that creates a link between tradition and modernity, “says Gery Keszler, chairman of the LIFE + and Life Ball founder.
Klaus Panholzer, Managing Director of Schloß Schönbrunn Kultur- und Betriebsges.m.b.H. (SKB), was enthusiastic about the collaboration right from the start: “At the Hofmobiliendepot ∙ Imperial Furniture Collection, we take our visitors on a design journey through time and with the special exhibition “United in Diversity” we invite them to a journey through Life Ball and its history. On the one hand, we want to create a general awareness of HIV/AIDS. On the other hand, we want to make our guests aware of this fact – all, but especially school classes and young people. Further, the EuroPride will take place in Vienna in 2019, so we also expect a high level of international interest. Especially with our special exhibitions, we have the opportunity to take up socio-political issues and bring them closer to our visitors.”
After more than 26 years, the AIDS charity event will be held for the last time this year. According to Keszler, the LIFE+ association, which was responsible for arranging the ball each year, will continue its work. “We will continue to take a passionate stand against stigma and exclusion and fly the flag.” After 26 years, the Life Ball’s balance sheet shows almost €30 million in donations for national and international AIDS charity projects.