A crucial aspect of Notgalerie is the understanding of curatorial practice and the system of art institutions as material for the creation of a new body of work.
In this strategy of infiltrating and visualising the art institution, the body of an abandoned wooden church was ideal. A place that represents a collective identity of faith while being an empty architectural shell.
The makeshift church functioned as a vessel to create an autonomous space at the edge of the Viennese cultural scene. Instead of approaching an abstract discourse, there was an actually existing body through which the Notgalerie emerged.
The origin of Notgalerie dates back to 1946 when shortly after the end of the Second World War a wooden makeshift church was erected on a property devastated by the war in Vienna Döbling district. After the church was rebuilt in 1969 in the Donaustadt district, its service ended in 2000 and the chapel was left to decay.
The abandoned property and ruinous shell of the makeshift church was discovered by Reinhold Zisser in March 2015. Within a few days, a decision was made. Reinhold Zisser occupied the property and the empty church. The project and term "Notgalerie" was founded as a neologism of Notkirche (makeshift church) and Galerie (gallery). Already in the first months, the FLUC, curator Walter Seidl and artists cooperated with the Notgalerie. The first period of collaborations and exhibitions was born.
After two years of regular exhibitions and events, the end of Notgalerie was threatened when the new landlord announced a complete tear-down of the site for a house building project. In arrangement with the authorities, Reinhold Zisser successfully negotiated a translocating of the building. As the Seestadt Aspern district provided a plot of land for the reconstruction, the urban field at the edge of the Seestadt became the new home of the Notgalerie.
For four years the structure of Notgalerie framed the urban field of the Seestadt. In the months of 2020 the building was dismantled a third time but with a big difference from there on. Parts of Notgalerie like boards, windows and other elements were handed over to depositaries across Europe and also exhibited till this day.
While the disappearance of Notgalerie has left a huge void in the cultural sphere of the Seestadt, new ideas of public art emerged. In summer of 2021 the project of Dream Estate was realized as a coherent continuation of the original idea of Notgalerie.