Golden Johann Strauss in Vienna: cloned for renovations

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Golden Johann Strauss double in Vienna's Stadtpark: Klaus Pobitzer's offbeat installation provides an amusing and uniquely Viennese alternative to the Johann Strauss memorial, as the artist (right), Vienna Tourist Board Managing Director Norbert Kettner (center) and Katharina Schinner, member of the Vienna City Council and the Vienna Provincial Government (left), found out for themselves.

After 90 years of sterling service, it is understandable that the golden Johann Strauss statue in Vienna's Stadtpark now requires a little restoration work. But as the monument to the Waltz King is probably the most photographed attraction in the city, the Vienna Tourist Board (VTB) wanted to make sure that visitors had an appropriate alternative. And as luck would have it there is an exact replica of the popular statue in its store of props which is used for international appearances. Although it is only gold colored plastic, it makes a highly photogenic double. However, feeling that visitors should be under no illusions that they are in the presence of the original, VTB Managing Director Norbert Kettner also spotted an opportunity to demonstrate Vienna's highly inventive creative scene. He commissioned a pair of Vienna-based artists to develop the theme - the outcome was two installations that provide a photo opportunity for visitors, while giving a playful take on the construction site and restoration of the original statue. 

Vienna Tourist Board Managing Director Norbert Kettner (third from left), Katharina Schinner, member of the Vienna City Council and the Vienna Provincial Government (second from left) and artist Klaus Pobitzer (first from left). 

 


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Putting visitors first - face to face with Vienna's Waltz King 

Klaus Pobitzer, who studied under Gunter Damisch and Michelangelo Pistoletteo, has positioned the replica statue on a podium, just as you would find in the medals ceremony at any major sporting occasion. The Waltz King is in second place with the top spot left open for the visitor - after all, visitors come first in Vienna. This unique installation lets visitors get closer to Johann Strauss than ever before, as unlike the original they can drape their arms around it. Located just two minutes away from - and in sight of - the original Strauss memorial, the podium features a sign in eight languages explaining the idea behind the installation.

The fence around the restoration site was designed by Zenita Komad, who studied at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna and the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna. She came up with the design for the Waltz King's "out of office reply" which appears on a sheet of paper emerging from an old typewriter. "My dear, I need some rest. Don't worry, please. I'll be back, I promise! Johann" This notice appears along the length of the fence in eight languages with a message from the Vienna Tourist Board (also in eight languages) directing visitors to the Foto Point with the replica statue. The installations are designed to ensure that rather than being a disappointment for visitors, Johann Strauss' "spa break" will raise a smile.

 

 

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