This has to be one of my favourite art exhibitions in Europe - it's worth a visit to Graz on its own. A combination of shocking architecture, and fascinatingly different artwork on display inside, makes for great entertainment.
The building, designed by British architects Peter Cooke and Colin Fournier, is amazing. Dubbed "the friendly alien" its strange curves and shiny surfaces catch the eye immediately, and offer amazing distorted views of the city riverscape in the reflection. The style is very futuristic, and is part of a modern revolution in architecture that can be seen in buildings like Selfridges of Birmingham, and the Swiss Re (Gherkin) tower in London. Architects have been set free by the power of the microchip to produce structures more complex than the human mind could design alone.
The exhibitions inside change from time to time, but when I visited the centerpiece was an exhibition on urban sprawl, showing how it can be done both badly and, with a little imagination, amazingly well. There were fascinating little side shows, like the video clip of a Frenchman who was on a chat show explaining how he made his way through life paying nothing for his purchases, always returning them "not fully satisfied". The displays, film clips, lighting and sounds all added up to a slightly disturbing atmosphere, but one very different to what I'm used to in these kinds of places.
This strange looking building is located on the banks of the River Mur and was commisioned to coincide with Graz's position as European Capital of Culture in 2003. The building was designed by the British architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier who won a competition to design a new Museum on the banks of the river.
Locals refer to the builing as the 'friendly alien', which is a good name, considering the out of this world nature of the building with it's blueish green hue and rounded spouts sticking from its roof. The rounded skylights of the building are designed to flood the interior of the museum with light.
Still not sure if I like the building but I can't deny that it is eyecatching and interesting.
Tuesday - Sunday 10.00-18.00
Thursday - 10.00-20.00
Guided tours available on Saturdays @ 14.00
This is an exhibition of contemporary art, which is housed in a spectacular, and very unusual building. I really enjoyed the exhibition, which included various modern art installations and some interesting sections on urban living models. For the price of a couple of euros, if I remember rightly, it is well worth taking a gander at. A few installations have commentary, which are available in different languages. There was also an interesting section of photography on the townships of South Africa, which really made you stop and think. There is a cafe there as well but we didn't stop there.
This amazing building, which looks alike gigantic liver to me, dominates the right bank of the river Mur and entire city aswell. The moment you get up to the Schlossberg hill it is the first and the most dominating spot you'll see from above, and it realy looks spectacular.
Kunsthaus is work of Peter Cook and Colin Fournier and this revolutionary piece of architecture was opened in 2003. It is the second largest museum in whole of Austria and certainly the most visited since its opening.
Located right next to the river is the striking new exhibition centre, Graz Kunsthaus. Nicknamed the "friendly alien", an architectural must-see designed by renown architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier. You will note the extreme contrast between this futuristic structure overlooking the river Mur and the old city on the other side, making it even more of a must see landmark for Graz.
Its also worth visiting it at night to see the lights on the outside of the building which flicker, its very cool!
If you're like me and love architecture - be it old or new - then Graz has one of the best examples of modern design I've ever witnessed. it's called the Hedgehog and is located very close to the Clock Tower on the banks of the Mur. One look at it will tell you why it's called the Hedgehog.
By day it's a stunning piece of 'art' but by night...it comes alive. If you can imagine the essence of the Aurora Borealis captured and put on display in a 'big blue glass blob' then this is it. I loved it.
The best way to reach it from the Clock Tower side of the river is acorss the bridge that was build along side. I can't really put into words what they're like at night. You have to see them. Electric blue light seeping into the darkness. Wonderful.
Grazer Kunsthaus is a brand new museum, built in 2003 by the architects Peter Cook and Colin Fournier , who called the building a "friendly Alien" ! Somehow it looks funny and interesting, and so I took my picture from the Schlossberg !
Grazer Kunsthaus is open for visitors :
Tuesday till Sunday : 10.00a.m. - 06.00p.m
Thurdays it closes at 08.00p.m. !
The Kunsthaus is closed on December 24th + 25th !!
Guided tours in german : daily at 11.00a.m.+04.00p.m. !
Guided tour in English : Saturday at 02.00p.m.
Kunsthaus Graz: Not far away from the Murinsel, and close to the Annenstrasse – one of Graz’s main shopping streets, which leads from the station to the city centre is the Kunsthaus Graz. When I travelled down to Slovenia a couple of weeks later after seeing it, I had a chat to two Scottish architecture students who were going to Graz just to get some photos of the building – before jumping on a train straight back. However, architecture aside the building is well worth a look – www.kunsthausgraz.at has a list of current and forthcoming exhibitions – which tend towards contemporary and modern art. Entrance is EUR 6 (about GBP 4.50) and there are a large number of exhibitions - with most also having information available in English. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10am to 6pm, with late opening until 8pm on Thursdays.
New Yorker Vito Acconci designed a spot worth the new millenium just in the middle of the city. Right across the Kunsthaus - connected by a bridge on each bank - is situated an amphitheater with a café lounge club called Aiola situated under it's globe. It has been re-opened now - unfortunately, when I was there in Aug, it was closed, 'coz the river Mur often changes its level. They're still working on making it right, but it's still a great sight. The shell-formed mixture of architecture, art & design is a great place to rest your tired feet after climbing the Schlossberg... :)
This great architectural work often called A Friendly Alien or Piggy Bank really swept me off my feet! It's a really unique museum! As 1 of the innovations sponsored by the city (besides the Murinsel mentioned later) during it was the City of culture, they really made a great thing! I've never seen a thing like that before! :)
It consists of a big glass balloon, which is darkened, but still partly see-through, which makes the inner area brighter. The architects Peter Cook & Colin Fournier used acryl plates & the so-to-say sticking pipes - 'nozzles' - to give it the alien look they wanted. And if you climb the so-called Needle, you'll have a great view of the city! :)
I'm not sure if the exhibitions change often, but when I was there, there were 2 extraordinary exhibitions! The first 1 was called Videodreams handled modern film with short parts of them played in small dark chambers. It's gonna take you a while to check all of them (if you're interested, of course), but I'd take the time, 'coz it really amazed me, especially since I like to take a look at some art films. I advise you get friendly with the hostesses, 'coz it's much better when they tell you the story behind the whole thing - you'll get to experience it the right way. :)
I remember there was this great film I stared at for like 10 minutes. 3 people: a woman drying her hair, another girl playing the piano & a guy cleaning the pool. The scenes were so great & the music even better - it just made a magic combination. If I could only get it somehow. If I remember right, it's a film by Teresa Hubbard & Alexander Bircher called 'House with pool' - great work! :)
The other exhibition handled movable furniture & more practical stuff. Chairs this, chairs that, chairs becoming ladder, rocking chairs; moveable houses, vehicles, whatever! A great thing if you wanna see things from a different perspective. :)
Tue - Sun 10.00-18.00
Tue - Sun 11.00/16.00
Thu 11.00/16.00/18.30 or by appointment
50 EUR/group (up to ca. 20 prs.)
Kunsthaus is closed on Dec 24th & 25th.
The most striking piece of contemporary architecture I have ever seen has to be the Kunsthaus in Graz. Opened in 2003 during Graz's tenure as Cultural Capital of Europe, the Kunsthaus was dubbed the "Friendly Alien" and it is easy to see why. Its large bulbous curving "body" looks unlike any museum I've ever seen. It is covered in a bluish futuristic plastic "skin" and plastic "nozzles" open up to the sky, letting in natural light and affording some unique views of the city, particularly the Schlossberg and Clock Tower on the other side of the River Mur. And circular lights embedded in the "skin" can be programmed so that the building itself becomes a sort of living billboard, creating unique effects and sharing information at the same time.
It is so easy to be overwhelmed by the modernity and beauty of the building itself to almost overlook the art spaces within. There are two large viewing halls and a smaller separate room for photography and other exhibits. The exhibition I saw called "Perception in Art" was interesting, but for me the museum itself was the main draw. Time will tell if the amazing building itself ends up overwhelming the art exhibitions held within. Hopefully not, and the Kunsthaus will be both an exciting venue for contemporary art as well as an excellent example of the possibilities in current architecture.
The museum also houses a nice shop and excellent cafe. And visitors are rewarded with wonderful views of the city from the viewing platform at the end of their visit.
See the Travelogue for more pictures.
The next sight which was built for the European Capital in 2003. It is a museum for art. I like this building very much - even it is an extrem modern architecture in the old town. The roof is built as a big blue bubble.
Did I just say I will not bombard you with a bunch of photos? I meant the photos of the interior of the gallery ;-)
Here's another (last one, I promise!) great perspective of this biomorphic structure - too impressive not to share it with you. Wish I stayed overnight so I could take some photos when the structure is lit up! One more reason to come back.
Kunsthaus from another angle.
Don't worry, even if I wanted, I cannot bombard you with a bunch of photos - the gallery is still under construction and only a small part of it has been open for public. They are currently having an exhibition of Japanese photography there, but we were not particularly interested in that so we moved on.
By the way, the coffee bar is open!