Hey art lovers and those of the curious kind! This post is for you! Have you ever found yourself walking down a Viennese street, stumbling upon a stunning contraption of sorts, wondering what the heck it is? Well, I can say with ninety-eight percent certainty that it was probably an art installation. The other guess would be accidental art – like an inevitable dog gackerl* (Viennese slang for dog excrement) in the perfect shape of the poop emoji.
That’s right, Vienna is so full of art that it literally hits you in the face when you are walking down the street minding your own business. Well, perhaps not literally, but figuratively enough to make it count.
With the help of KÖR (Kunst im öffentlichem Raum) and their handy Public Art Vienna guide, we have compiled 10 of the most curious art installations in this amazing city’s public spaces for you to ponder on.
1. Stylit – By Michael Kenzer
If you walked up to this piece of art, you might think someone spiked your coffee, as it gives off a very ‘Alice in Wonderland’ vibe. The artist wanted to interpret open space as an archive of objects and implemented the idea of a long rod with a water pump at the tall end of it.
2. Abtauchen/ auftauchen by Julie Hayward
This piece is meant to give us the feeling of diving under water and swimming through to the other side of the passage. The way leads people to and from the Danube and serves as a guide, or perhaps even a magnet, to the water.
3. Pi by Ken Lum
This installation shows the most recently calculated pi figures, and projects them here for everyone’s information. How else could we get through the day?
4. Monument for a Female Nobelpreis Winner by Helmut and Johanna Kandl
This was created after the artist duo had collected stories and anecdotes for years from people in the Volkertplatz neighborhood. The duo condensed the stories into a fictitious woman’s biography who will be awarded the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2045. This Monument to a Female Nobel Prize Winner is dedicated to her.
5. Library of the Nameless by Rachel Whiteread
Also known as The Memorial for the Austrian Jewish Victims of the Shoah is located on Judenplatz. This is already a well-known piece of art, but not many know the purpose of it, making it as chilling as it is fascinating. The Library of the Nameless was created as a reminder of the 65,000 Jews who were murdered during the Nazi regime and dissapeared without a trace. The books that make up the outer walls of the library are turned outward concealing the title of the book. In this case the inward turned books are a representation of the nameless victims who were killed and whose identities and stories have been lost to the genocide forever.
6. Tell these people who I am by Iris Andraschek
This installation is all about women’s rights activism and putting a spotlight on prominent feminist activists. It is a three part series highlighting three different women’s names and short biographies about their achievements in the form of carpets on concrete.
7. SOUNDTRACK_passage by Esther Stocker
One of five passages in MuseumsQuartier that are dedicated to a certain theme, it is located between courtyard 7 and 8 at MQ. Some passages have small benches so you can sit and listen to the various sounds. Our advice is to sit there for a while, people watch, and try to guess the theme for each one, then let us know how you did.
8. Cube EXPORT – The transparent room by Valie Export
A transparent glass cube that was installed underneath one of the elevated subway arches at Lerchenfelder Gürtel, it was designed for open space, communication, creativity, and contemplation. It serves as a venue for presentations by artists.
9. U-bahn Station Karlsplatz by Peter Kogler
This Installation is perhaps the most curious out of the bunch. The artist wanted to interpret a kind of connection and symbiosis between reality and virtual reality. It portrays a network of digital wires or tube forms existing and intertwining with reality.
10. Untitled (Project “Garden with a well”) by Ines Lombardi
This work relates to the district’s history and topographical context. It is an overgrown garden with a bronze well located within its center.
This list is just the tip of the iceberg. We hope to have piqued your interest for the somewhat invisible art that surrounds you in this beautiful and bizarre city. We strongly encourage you to explore as much of it as you can. It is a mind-altering experience.
header image: pixabay