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Gorky Park in Vienna

Part of 2014 Moscow Days in Vienna, a unique Pop Up Park (Puteshestvuyuschiy Park) art project was hosted in the Austrian capital by Gorky Park from 8th till 10th of September.

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For three days four art boxes filled with landscape, atmosphere, art and music brought a new life to Michaelerplatz, one of the city's main squares.

“Gorky Park was the first big park in the world to successfully follow the universally popular Pop Up Park trend. A part of Gorky Park has emerged in an incredible urban environment – on Michaelerplatz, one of the best known and popular squares in Vienna. Not far from Michaelerplatz, which serves as the gateway to Hofburg Palace, is Graben, a celebrated pedestrian street. It is, of course, a great honour for Gorky Park to be part of 2014 Moscow Days in Vienna, because we have had nothing but cordial and friendly relations with this country ever since 1956”, says Olga Zakharova, Gorky Park’s director.

One could suddenly find oneself in Gorky Park just by walking down the streets of the Austrian capital. For three days any willing Viennese, as well as numerous tourists, could take a break lying on the green grass, doing yoga, reading a newspaper in a chaise longue, playing a Russian game of gorodki (a distant relative of bowling) or riding a bike along the virtual alleys of the Park. In only three days, approximately 150 000 people came to check out Pop Up Gorky Park in the city centre.

The cube containing an interactive video installation where those who felt so inclined could embark on a virtual bike ride around the Park was particularly enthralling. One of the first people to try it happened to be Ernst Woller, Chairman of the Culture Commission at the Vienna Municipal Council. Overall in just three days the visitors have biked the virtual distance of almost 100 kilometers!The attendees could also look in the eyes of dozens of Muscovites captured on Polaroid and make out the latter’s silhouettes in the tangle of wire sculptures in the Portrait of the City art box. Next to those expositions an Austrian artist painted portraits of anyone who felt like it for an exhibition that will soon be coming to Moscow.

“It feels wonderful to be in the centre of Vienna at the same time as in Gorky Park. It’s great that Gorky Park has become a symbol of Moscow just like the Vienna State Opera is now synonymous to Austria and Vienna”, noted the Head of Moscow City Cultural Department Sergey Kapkov during the official opening ceremony.