In Love With Vienna: Anna Jermolaewa

Find out why Anna cannot eat “Frittatensuppe” anymore, why she loves to meditate in the Viennese park Prater and to run away from the security…

“In Love With Vienna” – the new rubric on The New Contemporary! Artists, gallerists, curators, and many other personalities from the Austrian art scene will let us know what they love about Vienna.

Anna Jermolaewa is a Russian artist who fled from St. Petersburg 23 years ago for political reasons. Now she lives and works in Vienna.

I love Vienna because of…

Jermolaewa: … Naschmarkt, the traditional food market, around the corner from my flat, which is like my second home. There I can speak Russian, eat, and meet people. I am very connected with this place.

Why do you live in Vienna?

Jermolaewa: Actually I came to Vienna by accident. The Austrian capital has never been on my radar. I fled from Russia to Poland and friends helped me to move to Vienna. Back then I could not even imagine that I will end up in Vienna, I wanted to go to West Berlin. First of all, the cultural life is very rich and versatile for such a quite small city. Then, Vienna is fairly cheap to live in. For the young artists this is a significant reason to come here…

Where are the best places to find contemporary art in Vienna?

Jermolaewa: There are a lot of really good new spaces here in Vienna. I would recommend Kunstbuero at Schadekgasse, off-space  Ve.Sch, art initiatives at the Ankerbrotfabrik, where you can find the OstLicht Gallery – a center for contemporary photography – and at Expedithalle there are all kinds of events – from designer markets to concerts… and WUK  of course!

Where is the best place to waste time in Vienna?

Jermolaewa: The Viennese Prater is a place where you can do whatever you want. There you can get delicious Mexican food, play football, run, ride a bike or go to newly opened Madame Tussaud’s museum. Back in the days I used to meet my friends every sunday for playing football there. Prater is a very unique place.

What is the best souvenir from Vienna?

Jermolaewa: Manner Schnitte, a sweet waffle made in Vienna, is the greatest to be honest!

Manner WM-Schnitten Limited Edition

Manner WM-Schnitten Limited Edition

What is the best current event In Vienna?

Jermolaewa: The exhibition of Franz West at MUMOK museum. I wonder how they managed to organize it without him (Frank West died in July  2012 – to see the impressions from the opening of the exhibition click here). It is a big retrospective and for me it is very interesting how they have implemented it.

What is the best place to find ideas and inspiration?

Jermolaewa: Jogging in the green surrounding of the Prater gives me inspiration. I also love to meditate there.

What is your favorite building in Vienna?

Jermolaewa: I would say it’s the Flakturm in the 6th district. I live in the neighborhood to the Aqua Terra Zoo (Haus des Meeres), on which Lawrence Weiner did his amazing artwork “Smashed to pieces (in the still of the night)”. I love this building very much, with this “ears” on its top, it looks like Mickey Mouse. I am very glad that I live nearby.

Strangest in Vienna?

Jermolaewa: During first time in Vienna I was very surprised by one Austrian dish. I could not believe for a very long time that it is supposed to be like it was. I am talking about Frittatensuppe. When I was in the refugee camp, where us were given this soup, I was sure that we were fed with the remains of a nearby restaurant and they were cutting leftover pancakes in the broth and served it to us. And it turned out that it has to be like this. l can not eat this soup anymore.

Your personal Instruction for Vienna.

Jermolaewa: On Naschmarkt you can speak Russian to the sellers. More than half of the people, who work there came from Usbekistan, many of them from Samarkand, the heart of the silk route. During the time I worked on my art project there I discovered that, historically, they are one of the largest diaspora of the Bukharan Jews in the world. Go to Schönbrunner Schlosspark in the night, climb over the fence, go up to Gloriette and discover night Vienna from there. There is an amazing view. Dont forget to run away from the security, it is the funniest part though.  And visit “Friedhof der Namenlosen” (Grave yard of the nameless). Here lie the nameless who were found dead in the nearby Danube. A creepy place, better do in the morning.



What is the aroma of Vienna?

Jermolaewa: I think the smell of the cigarette smoke, like no other city.

What is the sound/beat of Vienna?

Jermolaewa: For me Vienna sounds electronically. Austrian capital is very famous for its electronic music. In my social circles there are  so many outstanding  musicians, and it is a important part of my life.


Where do you go to listen to this music?

Jermolaewa: Of course to the Rhiz bar, a fantastic place for electronic music.  Also my friends are always inviting me to the concerts in different places. In Austria contemporary art is strongly related to the electronic music scene. It’s a kind of symbiosis. I studied at Austrian Academy of Fine Arts in the class for new technologies. A lot of my classmates were musicians, who decided to study art. We had five music bands in our class. Even I had one, I was a drummer. But we played only one concert at WUK… We were to lazy and had no time to rehearse… But our frontman became pretty famous, he has a new band now.

What about the restaurants? Where is a good meal in Vienna?

Jermolaewa: I practically live in the restaurants. One of my favorites is a small Georgian place at the Karmelitermarket called Madiani. Another nice place is the Japanese restaurant Kuishimbo on Linke Wienzeile.  It is very small, but the best in town.

Anna Jermolaewa has lived in Vienna for 22 years, and her work is in the collections of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Friedrich Christian Flick Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma, MUMOK-Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, Volpinum Kunstsammlung, MUSA, Museum auf Abruf, Vienna, Tiroler Landesmuseums Ferdinandeum, Vehbi Koc Foundation, Kontakt. The Art Collection of Erste Group, Belvedere.

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