Artistic Design of the Passageway "Am Tabor"Winner of the competition: Motoko Dobashi

Artistic Design of the Passageway "Am Tabor"

Through the new passagewy "Am Tabor" (railroad bridge object 101 - crossing at Tabor) the new and the old part of Leopoldstadt grow together. It now connects the Volkert- and Allied Quarter with the new Nordbahn Quarter. The Nordbahn Quarter in Leopoldstadt is one of the largest inner-city development zones, in which 20,000 people can live and 20,000 people will also work.
KÖR - Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Wien and the ÖBB (Austrian Federal Railways) have agreed on a cooperation with the aim of jointly awarding and implementing an art project in the area of the public transport system of the Nordbahnviertel.
On September 28, 2020, the five-member jury selected the project by Japanese artist Motoko Dobashi.

Winning design: MOTOKO DOBASHI - Legplants in the floating world

"With her design Legplants In The Floating World in the passageway, Motoko Dobashi opens up a different world, so to speak. The legs depicted may belong to an animal or a plant, and extend over the outer walls on a background inspired by Japanese woodcuts, allowing them to visually grow upwards. The references to traditional Japanese art also refer to the Vienna World Exhibition, which took place in the Prater in 1873 and brought Japanese aesthetics closer to a local audience, thus having a significant influence on the art of the Viennese Fin de Siècle.
The artist's design spares the central walls, which on the one hand benefits the overall cinematic effect and on the other hand the visual expansion of the location. Moreover, it contributes to the safety of the road users, since there are no provocative depictions near the street or railway tracks.
Forming a fabric towards the ground, the Legplants are striving upwards towards the blue sky, in which black and white crystalline structures can be seen, reminiscent of stone corals. By this allusion to the production of concrete - the raw material limestone is extracted from stone corals - the design is tied to material of the underpass.
In a playful way, the artist deals with the given massive wall structure. Through the precise coordination of the picture contents and the existing structure, the road users, whether pedestrians, cyclists, etc., will experience the legs seemingly in motion, so that the underpass is emphasized in its function as a place of transit.
The passers-by are thus guided through this special and elaborately designed place, plunging through and briefly into another world before leaving this important connecting route to the Nordbahn Quarter behind them again.

-- Statement of the jury

As a competition entry for the passageway "Am Tabor", a two-part wall painting is proposed, which will be placed on both lateral closed pile walls including the respective support bench in the south and north of the passageway and will completely design it. The acrylic painting on concrete is composed of two different components: A full-surface, rather painterly, colored background - essentially a color gradient in the shades "Prussian Blue" and "Cinnabar Red" - and a rhythmic, rather graphic, almost black and white foreground. Both components together create the illusion of a vivid, natural structure, which simultaneously brightens and spatially expands the passageway.

The colored background creates a living space for two beings. Huge, hairy plant legs wind around the half-columns of the closed pile walls and combine to form an organic tissue in the most intense orange space. At the top of the walls, black and white crystalline structures reminiscent of stone corals float in the darkest blue space.

The idea for the chosen colors and the rather graphic impression of the artistic work is based on Japanese Ukiyoe woodblock prints, which triggered the so-called Japonism in Europe at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. After centuries of political isolation of Japan, these everyday Japanese prints also influenced artists of the Vienna Secession like Emil Orlik in terms of composition and formal language. Prussian blue and vermilion were the colors that were often used as sky colors in ukiyoe.

The motifs - on the one hand the fictitious space-filling giant plant with fine hairs, on the other the flying fossil fragments of the stone coral - both symbolize different urban dynamics.

Motoko Dobashi *1976 in Tokushima (JP), lives and works in Munich and Berlin (DE)

Further competition contributions:

SIGNE GUTTORMSEN - There is always a way (Es gibt immer einen Weg)!

The work contains 2 motives: geography and language. The large river systems in Central Europe, Southeastern Europe and the Near East, from the respective countries where most of the people living in Vienna today originally come from, are represented in the artwork. In addition to the Danube river system, it includes the Rhine, Elbe, Vistula, Meander, Euphrates, Orontes and Jordan river systems. Large tributaries of the Danube are, among others, the Inn, the Tisza, the Morava, the Sava, the Mur, the Isar, which again have tributaries and together form a huge network of waterways.

The river systems are represented as curved lines in front of a stylized geographical landscape of stratified lines. On the free-standing columns and the benches facing the street, rivers are painted in their original form. The resulting painting resembles in its form a marbled surface of a building.

The names of the rivers are painted in several sections on the closed pillar walls opposite the freestanding columns. For example, in addition to German, the linguistic name of the Danube is reproduced in Slovak and Czech (Dunaj), Hungarian (Dana), Serbian, Croatian, Bulgarian (Дунав, Dunav), Romanian, Moldavian (Dunărea) and Ukrainian (Дунай). In addition, the Danube will appear as Dunyera in Roma and as יינוד in Hebrew, as these languages are also spoken in the Danube regions. Since the countries through which the rivers flow also use different characters, the river names will be in Cyrillic, Hebrew, Arabic and Latin letters.

Thus, all viewers can also read the names of the rivers in the languages they speak and find a point of identification. The river names with foreign characters will be perceived as pure images. This makes it clear that not everyone has the same access to information and sees the same thing in the same picture.

And depending on where people grew up or stayed in their lives, different memories or associations with the respective river names will be brought up.

Due to the conditions of the construction of the underpass, the possibility of shaping it in several layers comparable to a classical painting arises. The viewers look at a foreground, a middle ground and a background, and depending on the perspective (sidewalk, bicycle path, roadway and streetcar) a 3-dimensional picture in several variations is created. However, the picture can be experienced as a whole from all directions of view.

The artwork addresses the diversity in the cultural composition of the Viennese population and the related integration processes. With this work I would like to create a place in Vienna that is meant to be a sign that despite all cultural differences and diversities, there is a great deal that unites us and thus focuses on being together.


The bridge at Tabor is a special unit.
On their backs several high-speed trains are run daily - mostly in a 3 minute cycle. The rapid transit trains run in the direction of Retz and Znojmo and return to Mödling and Wiener Neustadt. The space below imperceptibly reminds of a cave.

So I thought every time I walked past the countless columns, which were initially plastered raw.
There is a lot going on in the cave - it is a hub of daily shifts and different speeds. Cyclist rushes from the left, pedestrian moves slowly to the right. Streetcar is just paving its way across the newly laid, still brightly polished rails. 4 cars are in the shadow of the bridge and push themselves forward in a dense crowd, the rapid transit railroad rattles. The sun rises - The sun sets.

One side and the other side:
The former historic Nordbahnhof and later a decade-long orphaned and much loved natural paradise has been completely renovated. Thousands of apartments and the associated infrastructure are available for new occupancy. If you want to get into the old part of town, you have to go through the passageway. It goes a little bit downhill and then uphill again and then it goes on into the long "old" Taborstraße.

The colors and us.
They have always attracted attention: the test coats on the weathered facades. Routinely applied by the painters and painters to see if the new paint really fits the outer shell of the house and the architecture. Sometimes they just stay there - because the house is not being repainted after all.

Mixing colors - a dream!

They exist: the dark ones, the pastose ones, the reflective ones and the subdued ones.
The color samples offer a refreshing activity for anyone who pursues his passion in mixing color gradations. Just like me.

The profiles
They turn, they turn, they multiply. They agree or disagree. They bend around the corner of the column. In twos, in threes, or alone...


Underpass Am Tabor, 1020 Vienna

Further Information


Invited discursive Competition for the artistic design of the passageway "Am Tabor" (Nordbahn Quarter), 1020 Vienna
Cooperation between ÖBB and Kunst im öffentlichen Raum Wien

Kunst im öffentlichen Raum GmbH
ÖBB represented by ÖBB-Immobilienmanagement GmbH, structural engineering and real estate development

Kunst im öffentlichen Raum GmbH

Werkraum Ingenieure ZT-GmbH, Monika Trimmel

Brigitte Felderer, KÖR Jury
Martina Lugert, ÖBB-Infrastruktur AG
Ursula Lichtenegger, head of district administration, 2nd municipal district of Vienna
Hannes Loichinger, artist
Marie-Therese Harnoncourt-Fuchs, jury chairwoman, architect

Gerhard Dully, Municipal Dept. 33 – Public Lighting
Andreas Gottlieb, Municipal Dept. 28 - Road construction and road administration
Herbert Kothmayer and Manfred Wegmayer, ÖBB Infrastruktur AG, SAE East 1
Monika Jost, Municipal Dept. 19 - Architecture and Urban Design
Franz Roth, Municipal Dept. 46 - Traffic safety
Martin Scheiflinger, ÖBB-Immobilienmanagement GmbH
Rudolf Skraback, Wiener Linien
Martina Taig, KÖR GmbH, Managing Director
Monika Trimmel, Werkraum Ingenieure ZT GmbH, preliminary examiner


Artistic Design of the Passageway "Am Tabor"Winner of the competition: Motoko Dobashi

Time Period

expected spring 2021



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