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Vienna fountain decried for ‘ugliness’, costs

VIENNA (AFP) – A fountain in Austria’s capital commemorating 150 years of Vienna’s modern water system has drawn fierce criticism for its perceived “ugliness” and excessive costs.

The EUR-1.8-million (USD1.9-million) fountain was commissioned by the city’s left-wing government led by Social Democrat Mayor Michael Ludwig and inaugurated with 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 sculpture named ‘WirWasser Brunnen’ created by artist group in Vienna, Austria. PHOTO: AFP