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Spirals, mildew and transautomatism, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, art and life

By Béa Aaronson

Painter, architect, philosopher, environmentalist, Hundertwasser is a one-of-a-kind artist. He was fascinated with spirals, and called straight lines “the devil’s tools.” He loved uneven paved streets, uneven irregular floors, saying that they were “a melody to the feet.” He would have loved San Miguel! He marveled at mosses and mildew whose organic growth could soften the angular geometrization of man-made functional structures. His 1958 Mouldiness Manifesto against Rationalism in Architecture is truly a must read.

“Friedensreich Hundertwasser, art and life”
Wed, Oct 2, 4:30 and 6:30pm
La Ostra Roja
A Casa Verde Annex
San Jorge 45
Off Refugio
120 pesos per person
Please make your reservations early
121-1026 or 044-415-101-4803

He called his theory of art “transautomatism,” based on Surrealist automatism, but focusing on the experience of the viewer, rather than the artist. He wanted to awake a response within the viewer, a response that bypassed mercantile value, bypassed scholarly perception, and could reach deeply into the psyche and senses of the beholder, yielding a hypnotic, almost trance-like experience which still astounds today. Indeed, his artistic vision vibrates with an organic perception of life and nature, which, while exhaling powerful perfumes from Gaudi, Klimt and Schiele, is totally sui generis.

Born Friedrich Stowasser in 1928, to a Jewish family in Vienna, all of his relatives on his mother’s side were killed in the Holocaust before he was 20, and he escaped persecution in a most frightening way…by joining the Hitler Youth. He then traveled extensively throughout the world, and finally rested his nomadic persecuted soul in New Zealand, where he died in 2000.

Hundertwasser has given us bold unforgettable images, which arrest our gaze and perplex our minds. A controversial creator and thinker who did not shy from appearing naked in public political forums, as when he gave a lecture in Munich in 1967, called “Speech in Nude for the Right to a Third Skin,” part of his Five Skins theory which I will unravel for your pleasure.

Hundertwasser primarily channeled his energy to open a new consciousness about the place and role of humanity on earth. His philosophy of life is suffused by the wisdom of Rabindranath Thakur, better known as Tagore, who strived for harmony between humans and nature, and also by the teachings of the Dalai Lama.

Hundertwasser’s revolutionary architecture will fill you with awe and astonishment, as he succeeded to build houses, apartment buildings, and factories, that incorporate natural features of the landscape into their structure. He also designed facades, postage stamps, flags, airplanes, clothing and jewelry.

His work can be best described as follows: a rejection of the straight line, bright colors, biomorphic forms, a reconciliation of humans with nature, and a strong individualism. Come and meet this revolutionary, anti-totalitarian, extraordinary man. You will not be able to shake off his visionary style and thinking. You will want to drink at the source of his imagining.

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