What could make a more apt exhibition in a construction site than an exhibition of photos of construction sites? The Wien Museum goes gloriously meta on us with the From on High exhibition.
- Series of large oblique aerial photos
- Features major post-WWII construction sites in Vienna
- Makes for intriguing historical contrasts
- Open-air exhibition on Karlsplatz square
- Runs Feb 24 – May 22, 2022
- See also:
Post-WWII building sites
(Karlsplatz, oblique aerial photograph, 1956; press photo © City of Vienna)
We’ve become blasé about aerial views of Vienna. I can practically inspect my own sixth-floor balcony thanks to the accessibility of such services as Google Earth.
Not that it was always so. So the rarer bird’s eye views from history provide an important record of urban development, but also an opportunity to indulge in fascinating games of spot-the-difference.
In the From on High exhibition, for example, curators Sándor Békési and Friedrich Hauer have created eleven stations with large-format oblique aerial photographs of the historical Viennese cityscape.
The photos adorn the fencing surrounding the construction site of the Wien Museum (currently undergoing major rebuilding work).
Which brings us to the topic of those photos. They cover the post-WWII period and feature major public construction projects at a time when economic efficiency and functional modernism were the order of the day.
The selection includes skeletal buildings that have since become an integral part of modern Vienna, but also infrastructure and landscaping initiatives. Think of the photos as documentation, but also a reflection of the construction site as an object of public curiosity.
The photos exert a particular fascination when you compare them with 21st-century Vienna. The absence of roadside clutter and traffic, for example. Or the snapshots of ongoing transformation that reminds us how the city continues to grow and develop.
Equally, a few photos give us a sneak peak at places lost to time. The Südbahnhof railway station building, for example: now the brand new Hauptbahnhof. Or the Danube as it once was before extensive hydrological engineering changes.
Tickets and dates
Get your bird’s eye view of post-war Vienna from February 24th to May 22nd, 2022. As an open-air site in a public park, access is 24/7 with no ticket needed.
Vienna has various photography exhibitions running concurrently to From on High. Consider, for example, the When the Wind Blows exhibition at the always-excellent Kunst Haus Wien (from March 12th), the Michael Schmidt retrospective at the Albertina (from April 1st) or Ouriel Morgensztern’s photos at the Jewish Museum (until March 27th).
How to get to the photos
An open-air exhibition on Karlsplatz has the advantage of sitting more or less on top of a major subway station. Karlsplatz has the U1, U2 and U4 lines. Take the Resselpark exit from below and head to the Karlskirche. Look for the photos on the construction fencing to the left of the church.
Address: Karlsplatz, 1040 Vienna