Sculpture Parks in Austria
Spacious areas, green meadows, gentle hills. The perfect setting to bring art and nature into an intensive exchange- not only to look at art, but to experience it. Two sculpture parks in Austria offer exactly this experience: the Austrian Sculpture Park of the Universalmuseum Johanneum in Premstätten and the Sculpture Park on the Symposium Grounds in Enzesfeld-Lindabrunn.
The Austrian Sculpture Park of the Universalmuseum Johanneum was founded in 2003 as a presentation forum for contemporary Austrian sculpture in an international context. The exhibited works of art deal with the manifold relationships between man and society, nature and art. They represent a broad formal spectrum, from figurative sculpture to the use and alienation of the everyday to abstract works. The sculptures develop their language through communication and interaction with their surroundings.
One example is Tobias Rehberger's Asoziale Tochter (Asocial Daughter): a pink abstract tree that achieves its irritating effect primarily by being placed in the middle of a forest landscape. Another work is Matta Wagner's Labyrinth: a glass box that reveals the view of the landscape behind it and yet symbolically charges it. Erwin Wurm's Fat House also plays with the alienation of the familiar and the everyday. The embedding of Wurm’s work, an inflated and thus deformed house, in the idyllic landscape further increases the irritating power of the sculpture. Through his walk-in sculpture, the artist plays with socially accepted norms and points of view and questions them.
A total of 75 works by 68 artists including Max Hollein, Jeppe Hein, Bernhardt Leitner, Fritz Wotruba, Franz West, Erwin Wurm, Heimo Zobernig, Michael Kienzer and Mario Terzic can be seen in the Austrian Sculpture Park. A complete list of the works with detailed descriptions can be found here.
The park is open until the 31st of October. The late summer festival will take place on the 8th of September, when the park will present its 76th sculpture. This piece is Martin Gostner's work Apparat für Park: three white cotton-wool cone shapes about two meters tall, hanging from trees which in their softness and over dimensionality not only deconstruct our idea of cones, but also as works placed outside, investigate sculptural shaping, materiality, fragility and presence as well as duration and transience.
The works of art in the Austrian Sculpture Park are regularly supplemented by temporary works by international artists participating in the park's Artists in Residence programme.
The Lindabrunn Symposium will also be celebrating at the beginning of September: The Symposion Lindabrunn association has its 50th anniversary from the 6th to 8th of September.
The sculpture symposium was initiated in 1967 by architect sculptor Prof. Mathias Hietz and other personalities. International artists would meet there to discuss a common theme and let their thoughts and ideas become reality. Originating as a gathering of Austrian sculptors, it has established itself as an experimental platform for art and architecture. Symposia with national and international artists take place on a regular basis, which mainly produce and exhibit temporary works. Since the works are usually dismantled again at the end of the yearly programme, it is also worth stopping by more often.
The sculpture park, which is freely accessible throughout the year, is laid out on a former "Hutweide", which was no longer used after the 1970s. Due to the grazing and the barren soil, a dry lawn area with a unique diversity of species developed, which now forms the background for the stone sculptures. The works exhibited here were created at the stone sculptor symposia of 1967 - 1996. Five works from this year's symposium are exhibited: three concrete sculptures by Christoph Weber and two wood sculptures by Karin Frank. Christoph Weber's works refer to the material found in the quarry - with larger and smaller stone inclusions the sculptures refer to the "Lindabrunner Konglomerat".
The hint to the symposium comes from Sculpture Network Lab curator Eva Wolf. She writes about the meeting: All together and each for himself, 100% with the other and 100% with himself, captured in the Symposium Lindabrunn. Combined among other things by the character of the stone, together in the terrain, by the idea and the task of the common interaction, each sculpture speaks nevertheless completely for itself and remains at the same time available and accessible for everyone. Lindabrunn admits, does not prevent, but enables in an unobtrusive way to discover perspectives and to superimpose them with one's own ideas.
Martina Fischer is Art Historian und Project Manager at sculpture network. She hopes for a beautiful late summer and still enough opportunity to visit Austria's sculpture parks.
Title: Summer Festival at the Austrian Sculpture Park , Photo: Universalmuseum Joanneum/F.S.K.