Austrian Sculpture Park - Universalmuseum Joanneum
A concrete boat obviously run aground on the edge of a grassy pyramid shaped embankment or a pink tree in a natural forest - visitors to the Austrian Sculpture Park at Unterpremstätten near Graz will have some surprising encounters in this pleasure(-in-arts) garden. The 7-hectare area designed by the Swiss landscape architect Dieter Kienast for a garden festival in 2000 is today inhabited by about 60 monumental works by Austrian and international artists.
The Austrian Sculpture Park is the culmination of two separate but mutually beneficial concepts. The first was in 1981, when contemporary sculptures were set up in the park around the Austrian Broadcasting regional studio. The former studio managing director, Emil Breisach, had wished to make them accessible to more visitors than would otherwise be likely to visit them in a museum. The second concept was to find a suitable use for the creative gardens designed by the renowned Swiss landscape architect, Dieter Kienast for the 2000 International Garden Festival. In 2003, the sculpture collection was finally transferred to Kienast's gardens at Unterpremstätten and has since been constantly evolving.
The sculptures all look perfectly at home in their surroundings between the strictly geometrical slopes and in the niches formed by hedges and bushes. Each piece of art is given an optimal exhibition space. A nest-like object sits on top of a green roof-shaped hill obviously built for a huge pterosaurian by Michael Kienzer. Peter Weibel places a huge handle on the lawn interpreting it as "The Globe as a Suitcase". Yoko Ono's work „Painting to Hammer a Nail in / Cross Version 2005" invites visitors to hammer three nails into wooden crosses themselves and thus assume the role of perpertrator. Small sculptures of great masters stand on the "Himmelstreppe" (stairs to heaven), while Erwin Wurm's "Fat Car" is grinning out of a pavillon next to the lotus blossom pond. Various sound installations give an additional dimension to this sensory experience. Works by young Austrian artists are on an equal footing with the famous names of Austrian sculpture, such as Fritz Wotruba, Bruno Gironcoli and Franz West. Contributions of international artists allow a glance beyond the Austrian scene. In 2007 the Austrian Sculpture Park was integrated into the Universal Museum Joanneum.
By the way
Admission to this miraculous world of art and nature is free.