First, I have to show you one of my favourite photos from Salzburg because it captures what I would like to do in Salzburg once: sit or lie down for hours, just watching the flowing river of Salzach and enjoy the Baroque silhouette of the city.
However, in Salzburg, there is always so much to discover and always something going on that I can only slow down for a few minutes.
Although I’ve been here several times and have probably visited all of the most important sights already, I know where the original Mozart balls are sold, I know where the musical genius Mozart was born and baptized, but also Joseph Mohr, the author of the lyrics of the famous Christmas song Silent Night, and I was here not only in spring, summer and autumn but also visited the local Christmas market, still, Salzburg always fascinates me with something new or reveals something I haven’t noticed before. This was also the case with my June trip which focused on modern art, especially on art exhibits exposed in the open air.
The advantage of these works is that they are not guarded by the strict eye of the museum guard, there are no prohibition signs and when you approach those objects you do not have to worry about the alarm being triggered. A typical example is Caldera – a monument by English sculptor Anthony Cragg which symbolizes a crater. The artist himself chose the place for his work in the middle of Makart Square. You can walk around the statue and even walk into it. The flowing “lava” creates new forms and reveals various human faces, one of them even resembles Mozart’s wife Constance.
Caldera is part of a project in which various internationally renowned artists have been invited to Salzburg since 2002 to learn about the history, culture and architecture of the city and then to realize their work of art here. Today, there are 14 objects, if you like to see them, I recommend you to open the website Walk of Modern Art where you will find all the necessary information including a map and you can also book a special guided tour.
If you have already been to Salzburg, you certainly did not miss one of these objects which surely appears on a number of photos from Salzburg. It is a huge golden ball at Capitol Square with a man in a white shirt and black trousers on its top – Sphaera. However, many have no idea that German sculptor Stephan Balkenhol also made a female figure but you must find it in the rocky wall of Toscanini’s yard which is why it is called Frau im Fels (Woman in the Rock).
Some other sculptures will catch your eye as well but there are also some that you may not even notice – like the Berlin Block by Austrian artist Gerhard Trieb which at first glance, may seem like a piece of building material, just carelessly thrown in the Mirabell Garden.
I have to admit that although I had noticed the mirror cube on a pillar of the State Bridge by Brigitte Kowanz, I didn’t realize that there are actually four cubes – one on each pillar and the text on the cube is a memory of war prisoners who built this bridge under inhuman conditions. The artist named her work Beyond Recall.
Vanitas – made by Christian Boltanski from France cannot be found in the streets of the city. To see this impressive installation, you need to go to the Salzburg Cathedral and get down into the crypt. Twelve figures symbolizing death cast shimmering shadows on the wall. Their dance is complemented by an angel of death circling around while a mechanical voice is relentlessly counting downtime…
But I am not going to list all those works of art here – you have to come and see for yourself. Even if you don’t incline to modern art, I bet you will not bypass the work created by Erwin Wurm, master of special humour. His Gurken (Cucumbers) are banal objects promoted to a work of art. There are five cucumbers of human size, they all resemble each other but each one is different. No one can overlook them, people stop at least at one of them, embrace it or lean against it and take a selfie.
However, these works are not the only thing Salzburg offers in the field of modern art. There are around 50 galleries in the city, many of which specialize in contemporary art. Modern musical compositions are already part of the summer festival Salzburger Festspiele. There are also other modern sculptures and installations in the city – like the figure of a man with a bicycle by Lotte Ranft. If this is not enough for you, then you should visit the Museum of Modern Art, one of the largest museums in Salzburg. Part of it is situated in Rupertinum and the other on the hill Mönchsberg where – as a bonus – you can enjoy one of the most beautiful views of the city. For fans of dance and theatre arts, modern shows take place every June in the Salzburger Sommer Szene. International artists perform at this Performing Arts Festival, in 2020, it will be held from 15th to 27th June – for more information see the page: Salzburg SZENE
Special tip: for those who want to see and experience the most of Salzburg, I recommend you to get a Salzburg Card – for 24, 48 or 72 hours. This gives you free access to all the museums and monuments in the city, attractive discounts on cultural events and free use of public transport as well, including the cable car to the Hohensalzburg Fortress. The card is sold at the airport, railway station and tourist information or you can buy it in advance at Salzburg.info where you can also get other useful tips for visiting Salzburg.
Where to Stay:
This time, my tip is for those who are looking for something special. Hotel Stein (4 ****) has an excellent location in the city center at the waterfront. Guests have been welcomed here since the Middle Ages. Today, history combines modern design and art.
The first wow! was when I saw my spacious room with two windows. Another wow! followed when I opened the window. The room was on the top floor, the cityscape spread in front of me – and it was just amazing – both during the day and in the evening!
We enjoyed this fascinating view of the towers and roofs of Salzburg also during breakfast on the terrace of the hotel restaurant Seven Senses. Even those not staying at the hotel can enjoy a drink at the rooftop bar in the evening.
Hotel address: Giselakai 3, 5020 Salzburg
Where to Eat:
ARGE Beisl is located in the student district of the Nonntal University Park in the ARGEKultur building, where the modern Salzburg scene is also being held. The restaurant has a large terrace – pleasant seating, tasty cuisine and reasonable prices. And don‘t miss the modern monument by Zoltán Pap which reminds us of the burning of books by the Nazis in April 1938.
Escobar is a bar right at the Salzburg SZENE (Anton-Neumayr-Platz 2), suitable for lovers of Mexican food. However, it is quite a busy place, tables are also on the street which may not suit everyone but again it is a great place to observe the surrounding life. August 2019: It’s now called Szene Cafe and specalizes in burgers.
And when you finish your coffee, the bottom of the cup will kindly remind you that it is time to move on – whether for another piece of modern art or for some classic landmark of this beautiful city. 🙂
And where to go? You may be inspired by my other articles about Salzburg:
My special thanks to Tourismus Salzburg for the support in organizing this trip.
Text: © Copyright Ingrid, Travelpotpourri
Fotos: © Copyright Ingrid, Travelpotpourri