18 May – 15 August 2021

Higher Powers

People, Gods and Elements of Nature

Our spring 2021 exhibition documents how different civilizations and historical periods believe(d) in the existence of higher powers.

Under the motto “seeing across cultures”, around eighty artefacts – some never shown before – help us explore this highly-relevant subject, creating a space for individual associations, emotions and surprising encounters.

Higher powers and how mankind envisages and depicts them has affected all known civilisations. Natural forces, epidemics or political systems still make us feel we are at the mercy of powers we cannot control but that nonetheless profoundly influence our lives, that change and determine them.

The exhibition presents eloquent examples selected from the holdings of the various collections of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna, the Weltmuseum Wien and the Theatermuseum that tell of a belief in the existence of higher powers found in different civilisations and historical periods. Many of these works document the divergent ways in which this subject affected both religious practice and art. When selecting the objects, our main focus was on interconnectedness and juxtaposing artefacts from diverse cultures.

Find out which objects give luck, strength and inspiration in our spring exhibition.

We thank you for all the submissions of your good luck charms and thoughts of the subject of Higher Powers! You will be a part of the exhibition at the Kunsthistorisches Museum in form of pictures, texts and selected objects. Be curious what fate has in store for you!