The centre of what used to be a refined empire on planet Earth, the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, with royal see in Vienna, gave us two palaces which are essential to visit for the traveller who is passing by this part of the world: the photogenic Upper Belevedere and the more mundane Lower Belvedere.
Both are united by delicate French-style gardens and are currently art museums. In one they exhibit baroque paintings and in the other the whole paraphernalia that´s survived from the Middle Ages. But, both in one and the other, there are great works of art made from the time of the so called Viennese Secession Movement, born at the end of the 19th century as a rejection of the industrialization processes that, by then, were being implemented in the whole western world. And so, the famous painting ´The Kiss´ by Gustav Klimt is part of the permanent collection of the Belvedere (you have to go to the part signposted ´Austrian Art Gallery´), and it shares protagonism with the tormented figures of Egon Schiele or the pleasant landscapes of Monet, who despite not being Austrian mixes with them.
Anyway, this palace, which picks up all the past times, exhibits ´Utopia´, an exhibition with a suggestive name that´s open until the 20th of May. Here´s the link of the exhibition where the traveller can buy the entry ticket online and not much more, such is the brevity of the information for the visitor from the institution: http://www.belvedere.at/en/ausstellungen/aktuelle-ausstellungen/utopia-gesamtkunstwerk-e10519
And what does ´Utopia´ show us at the Belvedere? Essentially, the vision on this philosophical concept that the artists of the historical avant-gardes gave us of it as a total concept. However, let´s go bit by bit so we don´t get confused. Despite the concept of ´utopia´ (etymologically the ´no-place´ or the ´place that doesn´t exist´) being toyed with since the origins of philosophy, and still being an impossible place, it has assimilated itself as paradise on Earth, the idillic place where tribulation doesn´t exist. Utopia is the dreamt-of, desired and perfect state where man can redeem himself of his sins, which is, in all honesty, like no longer being a man.
If, during classic times, utopia was placed in a spot difficult to access and in the Middle Ages was assimilated to a past time that had long gone, the avant-gardes of the early 20th century gave it a more personal tone. It´s then when they posed utopia as an amalgam of all the arts able to redeem mankind. This is the artistic expression blowing up traditional genres and, at the same time, conjugating those scattered pieces, this being able to create a new concept where man, by looking at himself, could actually achieve a state of acceptance. And thus contemporary art surged which, with its inherent evolution, gave place to the new current expressions in which performance, video and visual poetry are the protagonists. Lastly, all this disperse and chaotic amalgam where all the artistic production of the last century took place, is the one that makes up the exhibition at the Belvedere.
Remember to book apartments in Vienna You can find some very close to this baroque palace and with great connections to the city centre.