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Franz Ehmann

Established in 1997 by Franz Ehmann and Charles Robb, Soapbox gallery was an artist driven initiative located in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane


Austrian | Australian artist Franz Ehmann


Franz Ehmann (b. 1963, Austria) lives and works in Brisbane, Australia.

From 1979 to 1982 he completed an apprenticeship as a chef. He worked and lived in Switzerland until 1986 where his interests were in nouvelle cuisine and seasonal produce. In 1986 he migrated to Australia, arriving in Adelaide. He received a BA in Fine Art from the NTU in Darwin now ( Charles Darwin University ) in 1991.

Beehives with Heather
Beehives with Heather at Glen Mark

His first exhibition was at Gallerie Autodidakt, Bregenz, Austria in 1976 where he exhibited paintings and prints. Franz Ehmann was a partner in the artist run space Whitebox gallery in Brisbane from 1996 to 1997. He opened Soapbox gallery in Brisbane which he directed from 1997 to 2005. Soapbox Gallery operated as an incubator for ideas, installation practices, photography, video and other forms of visual communication. In 1999 in partnership with the Institute of Modern Art Brisbane he published ‘Soapbox – installation practices and artists’ which was followed by ‘Heterostrophic’ in 2002. Three monographs of his own work have also been published.  ‘The blue room of humanity’ in 1997 coincided with his exhibition at the Institute of Modern Art as was ‘Open Panorama’ in 2000 and ‘Speaking the world into existence’ in 2005.

Since 1992, Franz Ehmann’s works have been based on food and materials related to cooking. There is a philosophical and conceptual link to the work that can be sustained through existential and ontological inquiries. Prepared food and its waste have dominated the theatrical language of many installation/performance/video works that hold symbolic and metaphorical significance. The focus and intention of these materials are their existential and phenomenological functions. Being in this world means to embody this world. The world is ingested, digested and wasted. A worldly theatre therefore embodies alienation and conciliation and is ultimately humanistic.


His first artist residency in 2000 was in Sri Lanka, which coincided with an exhibition at Barefoot Gallery and were he also curated the Artlink show of that residency with Sri Lankan and international artists. In 2007 he participated with a residency at Sydney’s Artspace and its attached program of performances and sculptural work practices. He presented his first solo show in Germany at the BBK Galerie in Augsburg and at the same time participated at the Vienna Biennale in the autumn of 2008. In his artwork text is a constant force of refining the physical and experienced environment.


Franz Ehmann introduced newspapers in 2003 after years of using the papers to protect the wooden floorboards from being paint splattered. Every bit in the newspapers represents values, data and communications on every imaginable level. At one point it becomes clear that everything counts that little bit more or becomes utterly absurd. Work and labor is never far from Franz Ehmann’s installations as if there is an escape route in all of this. His first public installation had its premiere at Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide, in 2005 under the statement ‘questioning the questions of this world’. These Installations and performances reappeared in the following years to the present. Franz Ehmann reworks the exhibitions from week to week and serves meals at the opening event. On the menu you will find Soft polenta with pan-fried mushrooms, Balsamico and Grana Padana and Pumpkin Risotto. The performance pieces are staged in and around gallery locations. These actions have been performed by him in Australia, Austria and England and are absurd and laughable. He holds a newspaper ball in both of his hands above his head or carries it on the back. These actions are documented and become photographic prints for future exhibitions.


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Various Private Collections


Born: Ehmann Franz in Graz Austria, 1963


Masterclass with Alison Knowles, New York artist

B.A. Fine Art, N.T. University, Darwin, Northern Territory (Charles Darwin University)



Exhibition co-ordinator at 24 Hour ART, Darwin


Director of Whitebox gallery, Brisbane


Director of Soapbox gallery, Brisbane


Lecturer at Queensland University of Technology, Kelvin Grove campus, Brisbane


Lecturer in media studies/sculpture, Queensland College of Art, Brisbane


Eyeline – publishing, Brisbane, Board of directors


Panel discussion, BARI Festival, Jugglers Art Space, Brisbane



Many Things (it’s a colourful world), SGAR, Brisbane

Creatio continua, Haus der Kunst , Munich, Germany


1 Biennale der Künstler im Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany


Words that changed the world and influenced the weather, FOE 156, Munich, Germany

Words that changed the world and influenced the weather, SGAR, Brisbane


There where you are not, Factory49, Sydney


Songs that changed the world and influenced the weather, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide, S.A.

Fourteen, Factory49, Sydney

Cheap philosophies, Schwartz Gallery, London, UK


Yes we can, Lisi Hämmerle Galerie, Bregenz, Austria


Vienna Biennale, Vienna, Austria

Relentless (without beginning nor end), BBK Galerie, Augsburg, Germany

Maximum acceleration, Conny Dietzschold Multiple Box, Sydney


Aftermath, Artspace Sydney, artist residency and exhibition, Sydney

Maximum acceleration, Ryan Renshaw Gallery, Brisbane

ARC Biennial, Queensland University Technology Art Museum, Brisbane


Questioning the questions of this world, Ryan Renshaw Gallery, Brisbane

Questioning the questions of this world, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide

Speaking the world into existence, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

Speaking the world into existence, Artspace Mackay, Mackay Qld


Where is my mind, Soapboxgallery, Brisbane

Speaking the world into existence, Esa Jäske Gallery Sydney

Speaking the world into existence, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane


Through the mouth, into your existence, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane

Thinkthank, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide

Where is my mind, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane


Love at the end of a days work, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane


Eveningmeal with 6 o’clock news, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane

Open Panorama (milk, honey, wax, theories, politics, assumptions + words), Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide

Almost there ( again… ) , Casula Powerhouse, Sydney


Almost there, Artspace, Sydney

Open Panorama, Greenaway Gallery – Adelaide, Institude of Modern Art + Soapbox gallery, Brisbane


2000 years of nothingness, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane

Wishlist, Greenaway Galleries, Adelaide


Worldly pain – Worldly spirit, Soapbox gallery, Volt, Brisbane Festival

Culture of forgetfulness, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane + Linden gallery,Melbourne

The blue room of humanity, Experimental Art Foundation – Adelaide, Perth Institute of Contemporary Art – Perth, 24 HR Art – Darwin


The blue room of humanity, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

Memos for the next millennium, Michael Burke gallery, Brisbane


Milk table for parliament, Darwin Festival, Northern Territory

A ladder for everyone, Whitebox gallery, Brisbane


Memos for an un-known person, Michael Burke gallery, Brisbane


Loneliness + Wailing Room, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

From the human museum of forgiveness: Eine weisse Geschichte, Randall Studio, Brisbane

Milk+Poem, From the human museum of laughter, Randall Studio, Brisbane

Emotional Architecture, collaboration with Architect Peter Besley, Gallery 331, Brisbane


Sprachenfuge – Language fugue, Kiss my art, Brisbane


Inside the beehive and a museum for everyone,an installation for everyone and no-one, 2 movements, M.O.C.A. and Space Plentitude, Brisbane


Inside the beehive, everyone’s land, Territory North Theatre, Darwin

Human Generation, collaboration with Lynnette Voevodin

N.T. Centre for contemporary art – Darwin

Chameleon contemporary art space – Hobart, Arthouse – Launceston


Junge Talente, Gallery Atelier Autodidakt, Bregenz – Austria

Group Exhibitions


Remix: Objects&Sculptures, Conny Dietzschold Gallery, Sydney and Cologne

Artstage Singapore


Creatio continua, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany

25 Years Conny Dietzschold Gallery, Sydney and Cologne


Group show with Conny Dietzschold Gallery, Sydney

Turn around, Schwartz Gallery, London, UK

Open Sky, Metro Arts, Brisbane


Group Show, Conny Dietzschold Gallery, Sydney and Cologne

Public sale, Kunst Pavillon, Munich, Germany

Annual Group Show, Factory 49, Sydney

Non-objective Group Show, Factory 49, Sydney


New Skin, Queensland Centre for Photography, Brisbane

In der schönen neuen Welt, Koloni, Dresden, Germany


Changed conditions ahead, Jugglers Art Space, Brisbane

Plan B, Kleine Altstadt Galerie, Dachau, Germany

In der schönen neuen Welt, Dachauer Wasserturm, Dachau, Germany


Little white door show, Ryan Renshaw Gallery, Brisbane

Artist makes video, art rage survey 1994 – 1998, Dell Gallery, Brisbane


December group show, Ryan Renshaw Gallery, Brisbane

Artlanguage – every publishable place, The Cross Art Project, Sydney, Australia

Painting, John Gordon Gallery, Coffs Harbour, NSW


Art Language, Poetry Festival, Nowra, NSW

This is love, Umbrella Studios, Townsville, QLD

Thing, Rocketart, Newcastle, NSW


This is love, Rocketart, Newcastle

This is love, 24HR ART, Darwin


This is love, Yarra Sculpture Gallery, Melbourne


Parallax, Umbrella Studios, Townsville


Artlink 2000, Barefoot gallery, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Re-site, curated by Jacki Wurm, 24 HR ART, Darwin


Artrage, video works for television, ABC-TV, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Artspace, Sydney, etc.

Constructed in the field of the other, Artspace, Sydney

Corps, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane


Art Nineties, University Art Museum, Brisbane

Wax, Soapbox gallery Brisbane


Asia Pacific Hotel Art Fair, Coronation Motel, Brisbane

Artists’ Books, Brisbane City Gallery

Miss Read in the fortress, Kinesis-Sydney

Peregrination, Metro Arts

CUE, curated by Donna Confetti, Adelaide Fringe, Adelaide, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Cairns Regional Gallery, Cairns


Combust, Q.C.A Art Gallery

Essence, Mail art show, curated by Neil Degney

Q.C.A Art Gallery + Toowoomba Regional Gallery

Mail exchange event with Italian artists, Drawing exhibition, Pisa – Italy


Neglected Erotica, Bartleme Gallery

The graphite crucible, curated by Helen Jones at Ipswich Regional Gallery, Ipswich

FOI, contributed Inside the beehive, Last space-First space, Noosa Regional Gallery


Crossings, multicultural collaboration, Metro Arts

Dining on the abdomen, First Draft West

Move Over, Umbrella Studio Townsville


Human Rights, Framed gallery Darwin

Edge of Frontier, N.T.C.C.A. Darwin



Katherine, Tennant Creek, Alice Springs, Jabiru, Groote Eylandt, Darwin

Is there anybody out there, Northern Territory University Gallery, Darwin


Künstlerhaus Dornbirn, Austria


Gallery Autodidakt, Bregenz – Austria



Artspace, Sydney, Aftermath project, performances and exhibitions


Artlink 2000, Colombo, Sri Lanka


Randall Studio, Brisbane

Performance Events

2007    Forever young, Artspace, Sydney

2005    100 actions, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane

2001    Almost there ( again … ), Casula Powerhouse, Sydney

1999    Wishlist, Nexus multicultural art space, Adelaide


Constructed in the field of the other, (Very Little … Almost Nothing) Artspace, Sydney

Worldlypain-Worldlyspirit , Soapbox gallery , Volt,  Brisbane Festival

1997    Memos for humanity, Artspace, Sydney


Gesture (Everyone is a Destiny) and Bodymilk, Bartleme Gallery, Brisbane

25 years of performance art in Australia, Sunset ( Sonnenuntergang) Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane


Erdenschwelle – Earth threshold, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

How to explain forgetting to the forgotten and

Thought Pieces – Thought Fugues, Bartleme Gallery, Brisbane

1992    Inside the beehive, Washingplace – Weepingplace, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane



Speaking the world into existence, published by the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane

Thing, exhibition catalogue, Rocketart, Newcastle


Heterostrophic, published by the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Ihor Holubizky


Open Panorama, monograph, published by the Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane, Ihor Holubizky


Soapbox – installation practices and artists, published by the Institute of Modern Art,

Brisbane, writers Ihor Holubizky and Linda Carroli

Taken!, contemporary photography, essay by Timothy Morrell


The Blue Room of Humanity, published by the IMA, Brisbane




Das männliche Körperbild


Das Objekt


Diaspora, hand made book 10 copies only, Linda Carroli


Memos for the next millennium, Linda Carroli


Memos for an un-known person, Tracey Smith


Inside the beehive and a museum for everyone.

Publications, catalogues and books

2012    Perform, Repeat, Record: Live Art in History, Amelia Jones, Adrian Heathfield

2008    Column 1, Artspace Sydney

2008    The Material Poem, James Stuart, Sydney

2007    The Material Poem, James Stuart, Sydney, e-book publication

2007    McCulloch’s Encyclopaedia of Australian Art

2004    Temperature – contemporary queensland sculpture, Museum of Brisbane, Queensland

2001    The hottest gallery in the world, 24 HR ART, Darwin N.T.

Almost there ( again …), Franz Ehmann, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney

2000    Almost there, text by Richard Grayson, Artspace, Sydney

1996    Solitary Confinement, Tim Morrell, Brisbane

1995    Essence – International Networking Culture, Neil Degney, Brisbane

1994    The graphite crucible, Helen Jones, Ipswich regional art gallery, Ipswich

1993    Dining on the abdomen, first Draft, Sydney

Crossings, multicultural aspects, Linda Carroli, Metro Arts, Brisbane

1991    Human Generation, Chris Downie, 24 HR ART, Darwin

Curated exhibitions


Open Sky, Metro Arts, Brisbane, Australia


This is love, Umbrella Studios, Townsville

Thing, Rocketart, Newcastle

Killing time, contemporary photography, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane


Taken!, photography,  Soapbox gallery,  Brisbane

3° of separation, diversity as certaintity, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane

Residue, reinstallations, University of Southern Cross Performing Art Gallery, Toowoomba

Oration, performances and video work, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane

Human, exploring the limits of physicality, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane

Colourfield, abstract paintings at the end of this decade, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane


Art=Nature, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane

Gravity, Yarra Sculpture Space, Melbourne

Writing + Voice as Sculpture, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane

3° of separation, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane

Pulp, contemporary works on paper, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane


SOAP OPERA, BILDERMACHT, WAX , Das Subjekt,  Soapbox gallery,


UTOPIA DYSTOPIA, Whitebox gallery, Brisbane


Das männliche Körperbild, Whitebox gallery, Brisbane

Diaspora, curated for the department of social and political justice, Whitebox gallery, Brisbane

Das Object, Whitebox gallery

Garagesaal, curated for the department of social and political desire, Gallery 331

Artworks are in private collections, Australia ( Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales, Northern Territory ), Japan, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Italy

Art works held in Australian Institution:

Artbank, NSW, Australia

Gold Coast Art Gallery, QLD, Australia

State collection of Vorarlberg, Austria


Art magazines:                         Art/Text, EYELINE, Like, Artlink and Machine

News papers:                Sydney Morning Herald, Courier Mail, Melbourne Times, Brisbane Review, Brisbane News, Art Monthly, Austrian and German Newspapers

Radio interviews:         Darwin and Tripple Z – Brisbane, Tripple J- National Radio

Television:                   Briz 31

Artshow – ABC TV

A currant afair – Channel 9

Stateline, Queensland – ABC TV.

Eyeline #15, Winter 1991

Elizabeth O”Shea, Human Generation, Lynette Voevodin and Franz Ehmann, NTCCA Darwin, page 30 to 32

Eyeline #31, Spring 1996

Franz Ehmann in discussion with Beth Jackson, page 30 to 35

Eyeline #36, Autumn/Winter 1997/98

Alison Kubler, Franz Ehmann: blue room of humanity, Institude of Modern Art, page 44/45

Eyeline #38, Summer 1998/1999

Linda Carroli, Brisbane Festival – Volt 1998, Worldly pain – worldly spirit, Franz Ehmann: Soapbox gallery, page 35/37

Eyeline #35, Summer 1998

Victoria Garton, Corps – group show, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane, page 50

Art/Text #64 – 1999

Ihor Holubizky, Franz Ehmann – Soapbox gallery, Brisbane, September 11 – 30, 1999, page 89 -90

Like, #13 – Summer 2000

Peter Anderson, Open Panorama ( Existenz ) Franz Ehmann – Institude of Modern Art, Brisbane, page 48/49

Eyeline #46, Spring 2001

Ihor Holubizky, Franz Ehmann, art, food, cooking, life, 15 August 2001

page 27 to 31

Artlink, Vol 27 no1, 2007

The word as art

James Stuart, text-art & interactive reading, page 58 – 60

Eyeline #66, Winter 2008

Kasia Janczewski, Franz Ehmann: Maximum acceleration – Ryan Renshaw Gallery

Page 71

Writing for other artists and shows

Carl Warner, Sensing the surface, University Art Museum, Brisbane,Queensland,

2006, Some thoughts in disproportion to what is seen.

The art of Natalie Billing, reflections on remembering and being, published 2005 for the Institute of Modern Art show.


( Pamela Mei-Leng See, Caitlin Reid, Cezary Stulgis, Eleanor Avery, James Avery ), Rocketart, Newcastle, 9 – 26 June 2005

This is love, ( Eleanor Avery, James Avery, Caitlin Reid ),

Yarra Sculpture Space, Melbourne, Victoria 2003,

24 HR Art, Darwin, Northern Territory, 2004,

Rocketart, Newcastle, 2004,

Umbrella Studios, Townsville, Queensland, 2005

James Avery, Trailer, Soapbox gallery, Brisbane, 2003

Art Fairs

2012    Artstage Singapore, GAG Projects/Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide and Berlin

2011    Korea International Art Fair, Conny Dietzschold, Sydney and Cologne

2011    Artstage Singapore, Conny Dietzschold, Sydney and Cologne

2010    Melbourne Art Fair, Conny Dietzschold, Sydney and Cologne

2008    Brisbane Art Fair, Ryan Renshaw Gallery, Brisbane

2005    Brisbane Art Fair, Greenaway Art Gallery, Adelaide and Ryan Renshaw Gallery, Brisbane

2003    Art Sydney


2012   Australia Council for the arts, Australian Government

1997   Australia Council for the arts, Australian Government

1992   Australia Council for the arts, Australian Government

2008   Arts Queensland, Queensland Government

2003   Arts Queensland, Queensland Government

2002   Arts Queensland, Queensland Government

2000   Arts Queensland, Queensland Government

1999   Arts Queensland, Queensland Government

1997   Arts Queensland, Queensland Government