Up! Art at vertiginous heights

Up above the clouds so high, like a diamond in the sky… — Well, admittedly the art installation and view tower of HÖHENRAUSCH – Das andere Ufer in Linz is not quite that far up, but high enough to give you impressive all-round views over Linz and a chance at refreshment on a hot day to boot.

Höhenrausch Turm
A tower in the sky – imagine the views from up there!

 

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The wonderful photography community Instagramers Austria organized a great instawalk there on 8 June, and it was really worth the trip from Vienna, even though it meant we got back home after midnight. Our hostess this time was Elisabeth Sageder from igersaustria.at/#igerslinz (check out her Instagram feed).  I posted some photos on Instagram a few days ago, but want to write a bit more about it, because it is really something special and worth seeing.

It is best to go on a nice day, because of the most impressive outdoor features.  My favourite was certainly the FLYING SHIP by Alexander Ponomarev.  The  lookout tower is definitely worth the climb – only we were interrupted by a looming thunderstorm and had to descend again too quickly for me to fully appreciate it from the very top.  On a sunny summer day it must be great fun to stand under the waterpipe-like art installation FONTANA, 2018, by Benjamin Bergman.  It consists of artfully arranged pipes and sprinklers, which periodically – at unpredictable intervals – spurt water in different directions.

Waterpipe art at Höhenrausch
Not a swimming pool — but water fun nevertheless. These pipes squirt water in different shapes and directions – caution, wet floor! Benjamin Bergmann wants to involve the viewer in his sculptural projects and make them tangible as an unfamiliar, physical experience.

 

A bit of Neverland
Straight out of Neverland? The ship hovering high above Linz is the work of the Russian artist Alexander Ponomarev. It reminds me a lot of the story of Peter Pan.

Right at the entrance to Höhenrausch, you pass through the first art installation, though at first sight you may mistake it for some infrastructure elements.  It is in fact called Loose harbour #2  and was created by Leo Schatzl with students of the Art University Linz.

Höhenrausch entrance
Instagramers at work in “Loose harbour #2”. Ships, islands, multi-layered transit zones and sketchy vanishing points – these are the elements of the large-scale installation Loose Harbor. Artist Leo Schatzl understands the entire steel structure of the Voestalpine open space as a hull.

But it´s not all outdoors here – there are equally impressive works of art on view in different rooms inside the building.  In fact, there is so much to see and absorb, that it is really worth going for an entire day trip.  As soon as you step into the room designed by Chiharu Shiota, an installation titled UNCERTAIN JOURNEY, created 2016/2018, you are struck by a red glare.

 

Red room
It really is totally red in this room. Chiharu Shiota lets visitors immerse themselves in a dreamlike place. A dense network of blood-red woolen threads, which is meant to resemble the human brain, connects with isolated metal boats in space. Each of these threads can be understood as one aspect of a person’s life.

 

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As different as these art installations are, all of them have the water theme in common.  Some are amusing, some make you think, and some are heart-wrenching.  So for example, Isaac Julien´s video installation THE LEOPARD (WESTERN UNION: SMALL BOATS) shows scenes from the same location where Visconti shot scenes for his 1963 film “The Leopard” (Il Gattopardo) about the decline of the Sicilian aristocracy.    In Isaac Julien´s work the focus lies instead on refugees and their stories.

New Wave
In the eye of the vortex. NEW WAVE, 2017, is an art installation by Didier Fiúza Faustino. Conventional metal fences, such as those used as barriers and boundaries in public spaces, are displayed vortex-like as a “new wave” in space.

The OÖ Kulturquartier in Linz hosts a new HÖHENRAUSCH exhibition every two years.  This year´s theme is water in all its forms and with all that it can mean – from being an elixir of life, to providing refreshment (try the unpredictable sprinklers in the rooftop art installation), to becoming a threat to life.  The HÖHENRAUSCH is part of DonauArt – a cultural project in which various institutions and artistic positions deal with the Danube region and the topic of water. At HÖHENRAUSCH more than 40 international artistic contributions show how contradictory the element of water can be.  You can take a look at this overview of all works of art.

There is more water-related art to see in Linz!   Like Vienna, the city of Linz is located on the Danube and is celebrating this fact in 2018 with the inter-institutional exhibition project DonauArt.  So maybe while you are there, you could check out some other exhibitions too.  But if you want to spend all day at HÖHENRAUSCH, food is available at a cafe, and the rooftop bar provides refreshments and snacks, or just step out to the plaza for a break, and then go back in and continue exploring.

Incidentally, Linz is a short train ride away, and there is public transport from the train station to the venue if you´d rather not drive.  Or, since we are talking about water, you could always take a boat (but that would take you quite a bit longer).

Oh, and by the way, back in Vienna, 20 June 2018 is Danube Day at Stadtpark.  Ah, the places you could go!


 

The exhibition  HÖHENRAUSCH – Das andere Ufer  is on from 24. Mai – 14. Oktober 2018.

Visitor information

(Check out the discounted tickets you can get via the Austrian Railroad ÖBB offer)

Tip:  If you are getting this via newsletter, click through to the website to see the image galleries – they tend not to come out in the newsletter.

Thank you, Instagramers Austria and OÖ Kulturquartier for the opportunity to visit this amazing site.

 


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