Public Art in Vienna | Top 10

In the last ten years KÖR/Public Art Vienna have realized 169 permanent and temporary art project breathing new life into the city of Vienna’s public space. We have selected ten projects and created a map for you to get an overview and inspire you to view Vienna from a new perspective. 

Oswald Oberhuber | metro station Landstraße
Mural, 1991 | Vienna, 1030

In order to create a contrast to the dull gray of everyday life, Oswald Oberhuber (*1931) designed an enamel wall featuring playful and cheerful depictions of animals in the western passage of the Landstraße metro station.


Josef Bernhardt | Kundmanngasse 30
‘Waiting for the Birds’, 2009 | Vienna, 1030

Waiting for birds III is conceived primarily as an artistic intervention in nature and in living space, which in Vienna is above all an urban space. The artificial character of the installation (its red colour and geometrical and architectonic structure) creates in combination with the nesting boxes, which are potential homes for birds, an ambivalent relationship between constructed material and living nature, between logos and natura (…), which reflects our civilization’s disturbed relationship to nature. Text: Lucas Gehrmann, 2008

Josef Bernhardt, public art in vienna

Franz West | Stubenbrücke Stadtpark
Sculpture, 2001 | Vienna, 1010

“Ever new waters flow on those who step into the same rivers, and ever new souls emerge from it.” The Austrian artist Franz West (born in 1947) chose this maxim after Heraclitus’s “Fragment” to accompany his “Vier Lemurenköpfe” (Four Lemur Heads). While “lemures” describes the souls of the dead wandering around in the dark of night in Roman mythology, the Viennese dialect also relates to shady characters with the word “lemurs.” Mounted above the Wienfluss, the lemur heads symbolize the ghosts of the past. Yet, as the artist says, there are always new talents on the other bank from that of the deceased and forgotten.

Franz West, Public Art Vienna

Donald Judd | Stadtpark
‘Stage Set’, 1991 | Vienna, 1030

Donald Judd’s Stage Set is the expression of an uncompromising vision situated between art and architecture. Six panels made from differently colored strips of fabric are mounted at differing heights within a steel framework of 7.5 x 10 x 12.5 m. These panels rhythmize the open space and visualize serializations and processes that are characteristic of Judd’s work Donald Judd developed Stage Set for the MAK in 1991 on the occasion of his exhibition Architecture. The installation was gifted to the city of Vienna in 1995, and it has stood in Vienna’s Stadtpark since 1996.


Manfred Wakolbinger | Otto Probst-Straße 5
Sculpture, 1991 | Vienna, 1100

It is his personal relationship to the physical world which Manfred Wakolbinger (*1952) explores in his sculptural works. Each development of the artist’s practice is inspired by his continuing dedication to and reflection on the representative possibilities of sculpture and the power of elementary forms. The ensemble “Three Stelae with Different Head Parts” fathoms the tensions resulting from the combination of various materials and form elements – a three-dimensional venture that takes up traditional structures and reduces them to the absurd at the same time.


Franz Graf | Passage-way Vienna Central Station/U1 Südtiroler Platz
Sued, 2012 | Vienna, 1040

Franz Graf has selected a variety of pictorial motifs from his art archives for the four areas in the passageway and assembled them to complex compositions. The subjects follow star charts and connecting lines which, as it were, reflect relationships between words and thoughts of passengers.
Elements from geometric symbols, reduced text fragments, and typographic pictures, as well as patterns of organic structures and abstracted portrait photographs join like film sequences or dream images. The portraits might also be read as forms emerging from the shade or as signposts from the subconscious. Lettered panels transmit succinct codes whose keys everybody has to look for in themselves. Occupying wall areas amidst functional information and rational communication, the artist sets the passers-by off on a contemplative journey of a different kind.

Franz Graf, Public Art Vienna

Ken Lum | Westpassage of Karlsplatz/Friedrichstraße
Pi, 2006 | Vienna, 1010

The Canadian artist Ken Lum has created the permanent media installation Pi for the underground pedestrian passageway on Karlsplatz, which was recently reopened. The artist has been working since the 1980s primarily with photos and texts often using urban advertising forms for his communication art.
In the middle of the passageway there is a representation of the transcendent number pi (π) with 478 decimal places, with the most recently calculated figures being shown on the display. A collection of statistics and handbooks on topics, such as population development and migration, can be viewed in a vitrine.

Ken Lum, public art Vienna

Roland Kodritsch | Getreidemarkt 17/corner of Mariahilfer Strasse
‘Reason to Believe’, 2009 | Vienna, 1060

The sculpture “Reason to Believe”, a life-size figure of a man with glasses and a plain grey suit carrying an attaché case, was mounted on the edge of the roof ledge of the corner building Mariahilfer Straße 1/Getreidemarkt 17, which houses the company WertInvest Beteiligungs- und Immobilienberatungs AG. The man was bent slightly forward. Suit, shirt, and shoes were made to measure to bring out his physique. It is difficult to derive which epoch the man comes from because of his classical grey attire and its style. The 1920s may be as good a guess as the 1990s; the man could be a reverend from a cowboy film or even a banker.

Ronald Kodritsch

Franz West | Rahlgasse 5
Gerngross Column, 2007 | Vienna, 1060

“I spent a day that turned into an odyssey with the architect Gerngross, who likes to organize large exhibitions near naschmarkt. his herculean achievement (odysseus sailed, at least in the divine comedy, to the columns of hercules) of mounting this exhibition in great speed is why this column, which would also like to stand in public space, was created for ulysses gerngross.” (Franz West, March 2004)

Franz West , Public Art Vienna

Lawrence Weiner |  Esterházypark/anti-aircraft tower
Smashed to pieces (in the still of the night), 1991 | Vienna, 1060

In 1991 the building of the anti-aircraft tower (House of the Sea now) was crowned with a lightweight wraparound box with the slogan Smashed to Pieces .. In the Still of the Night (in English and German), a memorial against war and fascism designed by Lawrence Weiner.


And one more… on view only in the evening

Olafur Eliasson | Am Hof 6a (Verbund-Headquarter)
Yellow Fog, 2008 | Vienna, 1010

The light installation “Yellow Fog” by Olafur Eliasson (born in 1967) unfolds a play with colors and fleeting forms, yellow light, fog, and wind, which interact with the observer. When dusk falls, fog rises in front of the façade for an hour, which is bathed in yellow light. As Eliasson deliberately creates an artificial environment, the construction remains visible. The Danish-Icelandic artist, who has come out with numerous spectacular installations in outside spaces in recent years, changes the urban scenery to open up new perspectives of perception and experience to the observer.

Olafur Eliasson, Vienna Public Art

To find out more about Public Art in Vienna visit the website of our partner KÖR / Public Art Vienna: www.koer.or.at  or download and print their map: http://www.koer.or.at/downloads/Folder_englisch.pdf 


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