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Art and nature united

A good hour's drive from Salzburg, in the middle of the Hohe Tauern National Park, lies Bad Gastein - known as a health resort, design hotspot, art mecca, the centre of the village marked by vacancy and decay.

The entire soundscape of Bad Gastein is dominated by the rushing waterfall that defines the centre of the village. Traffic, birdsong, conversations and other noises are muted. The essential remains: the unsparing view of the dilapidated buildings in the centre of the village. The former charm of the now listed villas and hotels of the Belle Epoche (1884-1914) is easily recognisable from the imposing building forms, façades, ornaments and wallpaper. Influenced by historicism, the once noble Austrian spa and popular winter sports resort never really recovered economically after the Second World War.

Since the 1970s, many hotels and villas have not been modernised, stand empty and are thus left to decay. In recent years, the Gastein summer resort offers not only relaxation in nature, but also art and cultural enjoyment. For many people interested in art and design, Bad Gastein has long been a "place to visit". Artists, coming from all over the world, use the empty spaces for exhibitions, events and as studios for the sommer.frische.kunst artist-in-residence programme.

The sparse, gloomy Gastein late autumn landscape, the high humidity and the clear, sharpened view of the natural surroundings - this is how the unique "Black Gastein" was created during a walk through the centre of the village.

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