See the world, but stay in Vienna. Two series of photos taken in the city let you do both, albeit in different ways. A visual display for a time of travel restrictions: the Almost / Wiener Weltreisen exhibition organised by the Wien Museum.
- Photos from 2020 find echoes of the world in Vienna
- Photos from 1873 reveal the delights of the Viennese World Fair
- Open-air, so no ticket required
- Runs Feb 11 – May 23, 2021
- Followed by the Urban Natures exhibition from June 10, 2021
- See also: The Wien Museum
Around the world in photos (sort of)
(Wiener Photographen-Association (publishing house), The 1873 World Fair: bird’s eye view (no number), 1873, Sammlung Wien Museum; reproduced with permission under the terms of the CC0 licence)
Curator Peter Stuiber has come up with a creative juxtaposition of two photo series that seem particularly relevant for the times we live in.
One of the many consequences of COVID has been, of course, restrictions on international travel. But how does the old saying go? If you can’t go to the world, then the world will have to come to you.
Such a concept suggests you’re going to get an exhibition of photos taken abroad.
The world does indeed come to you, but the photographers never left Vienna. A conundrum easily solved…
One photo series (Almost) comes from Wojciech Czaja. Unlike those of us who spent much of 2020 debating which new instrument we’ll not, in fact, learn, this architecture journalist produced some moments of creative genius.
Czaja travelled on his moped through pandemic Vienna to photograph cityscapes, places, and urban atmospheres that bear resemblance to locations elsewhere in the world.
A golden statue carries echoes of Berlin’s zoo. Metal structures outside an old factory have an air of Detroit about them. That kind of thing.
The World Fair
The second series dates from 1873. Back then, limitations on international travel had nothing to do with pandemics and a lot to do with the costs.
A World Fair held in Vienna that year brought the art, architecture, culture, and industry of dozens of countries to the city in the form of temporary pavilions and other displays.
Over 7 million people visited the fair (about ten times the population of the city at the time).
Fortunately for us, the Viennese photographers association turned the sights of this momentous event into souvenir photos, some of which now form part of the exhibition.
Even without seeing the photos in either series, you can imagine how the exhibition immediately raises issues of perception, reality, commonality, and similar.
The Wien Museum is a building site right now, so the exhibition makes the proverbial virtue out of necessity by occupying the fence around the construction area.
Tickets and dates
View the photos any time between February 11th, 2021 and May 23rd, 2021. The outdoor concept means opening times are, essentially, 24/7, and you need no ticket. Can’t really argue with that: free, all-hours access to culture.
If you’re a fan of the art of photography, drop into the Kunst Haus Wien, which has a concurrent photo exhibition for some the same period entitled After us, the flood that documents and illustrates the environmental crisis. The Elfie Semotan exhibition follows at the end of April.
You might also like an article I put together which matches historical photos of Vienna with how things look today.
How to get to the exhibition
To find the building site around the Wien Museum, just make your way to the front of the Karlskirche church and look left.
Subway: Karlsplatz station is on the U1, U2 and U4 subway lines. Take the Resselpark exit on the east side of this large underground station and just go straight ahead to reach the exhibition.
Tram: a short walk from Schwarzenbergplatz (tram lines 2, 71, or D) and Gußhausstraße (tram line D).
Address: Karlsplatz, 1040 Vienna