The fall is coming over soon and the dull weather is ready to make an intervention in our lives. While having a stroll along the city in such days, we often think “It would be nice to have something bright around, something that would cheer you up in the grey urban surroundings”. In fact, such thing does exist. It might remind you of the wildest architecture in the numerous fairy tales and fantasy stories, yet, it’s real. Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Friedensreich Hundertwasser.
Yes, his name is quite difficult to read. But at the same time it is quite indicative of what we’re going to see in his oeuvre. Something very complex, extremely bright; something that reminds our childish dreams that have come true.
Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser (that’s his full name) was born in 1928 in Austria. He was an architect, designer, painter, sculptor, and, of course, a dreamer. He altered his last name a bit, so in a translation Friedensreich Hundertwasser stands “Peace-Realm Hundred-Water” in English.
He was very interested in philosophy, environmentalism, connection with nature. He rejected the idea of straight lines, calling them “godless and immoral”; straight lines were something automatic for him, something created without a feeling or a human touch. On the contrary, one of his favorite shapes was a spiral. In all the projects he was involved with, Hundertwasser was focusing on the perception by the viewer and unity with nature, rather than on the reflection of his personality in the works (which was quite a common thing to do in the art world, and still is). He was inspired by such Austrian artists as Egon Schiele and Gustav Klimt. And we can see the resemblance in the patterns, the inspiration he drew from the lines on the works of those great painters. All of them were not fascinated by the regular shapes; they were rather fond of the potential that a transformation of the simple lines could give.
He was against the rationalism in the architecture, and even wrote Mould Manifesto against Rationalism in Architecture, where he stated that “We must at last put a stop to having people move into their quarters like chickens and rabbits into their coops.” He felt that modern architecture is faceless and turning urban spaces into a prison of straight lines. “Today we live in a chaos of straight lines, in a jungle of straight lines. If you do not believe this, take the trouble to count the straight lines which surround you. Then you will understand, for you will never finish counting.”
He felt that we should come back to the organic forms, to the individualism that society has lost along the course of consumerism and industrialization. He basically strived not only to “think outside the box”, but to destroy this box and create something unique for each of us.
That’s where the magic begins: when each of us dares to perform the act of creating without following the existing rules, but using our imagination; when we all act in peace with nature and each other. That’s what the world needs, and this incredible artist with very long name certainly knew it.