Home Lifestyle Vienna fountain… It’s ugly and it cost a fortune

Vienna fountain… It’s ugly and it cost a fortune

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The €1.8 million (R36 million) fountain was commissioned by the city’s left-wing government led by social democrat mayor Michael Ludwig and inaugurated by President Alexander van der Bellen on October 24.

A woman walks past the sculpture named “WirWasser Brunnen” (“Our Water fountain”) created by artist group Gelatin in Vienna. The sculpture, surrounding a fountain, was inaugurated on October 24 to mark the 150th anniversary of drinking water coming from the Alps. Picture: Joe Klamar/AFP

A FOUNTAIN in Austria’s capital commemorating 150 years of its modern water system has drawn fierce criticism for its perceived “ugliness” and excessive cost.

The €1.8 million (R36 million) fountain was commissioned by the city’s left-wing government led by social democrat mayor Michael Ludwig and inaugurated by President Alexander van der Bellen on October 24.

The unusual fountain – featuring 33 humanoid sculptures seated in a circle – was created by the provocative Viennese artist group Gelitin after their design symbolising the “communal responsibility for water” as a precious resource won over the jury.

While officials hailed the fountain’s “extraordinary, reality inspired” design for skilfully conveying a pivotal “sense of togetherness”, critics took issue with its artistic properties, venting their anger online.

A post on X, formerly Twitter, by an account called Culture Critic that slammed the fountain’s design and huge cost to taxpayers has since been viewed more than 7.6 million times.

Other astonished internet users blasted the artwork as the “ugliest fountain” they had ever seen, with some even spotting a Michelin man-esque figure among the sculptures.

The right-wing Freedom Party’s hardline leader Herbert Kickl blamed the social democrats for “damaging” Vienna’s image by building a “luxury fountain” with “ugly figures”, which he said showed how “completely out of touch” the party is.

Neither the city of Vienna nor the artist group were immediately reachable for comment.

Vienna’s modern water system – renowned for its pristine water that courses from streams in the forests of the Alps – was set up in 1873 under the Austro-Hungarian Empire to provide the city with fresh water to overcome diseases such as cholera.

SUNDAY TRIBUNE

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