"I cleave the heavens, and soar to the infinite. What others see from afar, I leave far behind me." Giordano Bruno (1548 – February 17, 1600)

Monday, August 11, 2014

Best Keep Secrets of Austria – The Secret of the Giant Leporidae

Albrecht Dürer's "Young Hare" 1503
Image: Wikipedia
"What beauty is, I know not, 
though it adheres to many things.."
Albrecht Dürer 
Simon & Garfunkel - Bright Eyes
I was wandering through Vienna during the middle of July, while heading towards the Burggarten on a photographic mission (more on that in a number of future blog essays). I decided to go along a side street of the State Opera House, when my eyes caught sight of something totally unexpected. Sitting on top of the most famous Bitzinger Würstelstand, located below the Albertina Museum and across from the Opera house was a supersized green bunny.
Austrians like to enjoy themselves with some rather strong or numerous enlightening liquids and some have been known to see some odd things. Being stone cold sober and spying this ginormous green bunny was a surprise, and delight, to me. I couldn’t help taking a few shots of the bunny sitting in all his elegance on top of this famous Würstelstand.
I wasn’t sure if I would be bothered writing about the Super Bunny. That all changes when I got close up and friendly with Supersized Pink Bunny. I found him sitting on top of a slab type structure behind the Operhouse, on the Ring side. The pink bunny was more of a surprise than the green one. It truly gave you an idea of just how big the bunnies are. After that second fateful “meeting” I was on another mission. Being female means being multi-skilled, so I can handle those extra missions as they crop up. :)
After a little research, I tracked down the actual original use for these humungous Leporidae. I remembered an exhibit, I missed out on seeing which featured the famous the art work of a number of renaissance artists, including Albrecht Dürer. The featured artwork used on all the billboards and poster stands throughout Vienna was Dürer’s famous watercolour of the “Young Hare” which is part of the Albertina Collection, along with a number of his other famous works.
With a little more research, I discovered these 3D versions of Dürer’s famous bunny are the work of the German sculptor and artist Ottmar Hörl. It appears Hörl, makes a speciality of creating controversial plastic and giant sculptured figures, turning 2D artworks like the bunny into 3D. The bunny was project he undertook in 2003, called “Das große Hasenstück” (the Giant Hare Piece”). The year 2003 saw the 500th anniversary of Dürer's painting, that lovely watercolour masterpiece, known in German as “Ein junger Feldhase", and in English as the "Young Hare”.
Though the colour pink and green may seem over the top to celebrate a great work of art, even these plastic giant bunnies have a certain charisma, serving to send your mind on a journey to reflect on a great piece of work, by an artistic genius, who began his career over 500 years ago. I am hoping the giant bunnies stay, so if you make it to Austria, head for the Albertina to check out the work of Dürer. Take time to pause on the way, reflecting on the humongous green and pink bunnies which are a tribute to Dürer by Ottmar Hörl, a modern artist.
OK these may not be real secrets in which I indulge in my “The Best Kept Secrets of Austria” but they do generally need some research, and are usually happenings that most tourists do not know of. They are worth a visit if you ever are around when they occur. The shooting” the bunnies gave me one of those Elmer Fudd moments, even though he never ever said “I Tawt I Taw a wabbit”, enjoy the video below: 

Rabbit Season, Duck Season trilogy
YouTube Channel - kenpoarniceguy1's channel
"As I grew older, I realized that it was much better 
to insist on the genuine forms of nature, 
for simplicity is the greatest adornment of art."
Albrecht Dürer  

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