Exhibition at the windows gallery of ERSTE Foundation
The greatest, largest, longest, widest, deepest, bluest, foggiest… Over the millennia, the Danube has always been described in superlatives, never as poor, unexceptional, mediocre… It has been loved, feared, worshipped, cursed, but never underestimated. The Danube, once a long-standing frontier of the Roman, Ottoman, and Austro-Hungarian Empires, has divided enemies, and in good times connected friends. It can be blue, grey, brown, green, following the moods of those closely connected to it. You may see it just once, or it may be the longest relationship you ever had. One thing is certain: it always leaves you in awe.
The Danube connects and divides; it has brought people together and kept them apart. Like a big vascular system, it absorbs the waste we produce, and it brings life to over 230 million people, with bridges being the essential part of everyday lives for so many. For almost 2,000 years since the Romans built the first bridge at the Iron Gate, bridges have crossed the Danube like a zip, opening and closing the gaps between its shores.
Today the Danube waterway is spanned by more than 300 bridges from its source to its mouth. This exhibition focuses on some of them, those that are crossed by the largest number of people every day. The Danube flows through ten countries, more than any other river in the world, passing through or bordering Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine. Yes, Ukraine! This most European of rivers can take you all the way from Vienna to Ukraine, while its drainage basin extends to ten more countries. It gives life to Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade and Bratislava, all of which are the capitals of their respective countries, as well as 95 other cities on its direct route.
Dejan Petrović is, among his other callings, a photographer, born in Novi Sad, a city that sits on the Danube. Spanning the period of 50+ years, he has also lived in Belgrade, Vienna, and Bratislava, all of which occupy the Danube’s shores.
The exhibition at the windows gallery of ERSTE Foundation at Erste Campus runs until 12 May 2022 and is on display 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Cover picture: The Steinitzsteg, previously Nordsteg, a bridge over the Danube and the New Danube in Vienna. It connects the districts of Brigittenau and Floridsdorf. Photo: Dejan Petrović, 2022