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Spirals, Mildew, and Transautomatism

Blobs Grow Beloved Gardens

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, organic growth that could soften the angular “geometrization” of man-made functional structures. His 1958 Mouldiness Manifesto Against Rationalism in Architecture is truly a must read.

Wed, Jun 10, 4:30 and 6:30pm
La Ostra Roja
45 San Jorge (off Refugio)
Colonia San Antonio
130 pesos per person
Please make your reservations early
121 1026 or 152 3730

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 awaken 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.

He was 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 that 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 bright colors, biomorphic forms, rejection of the straight line, 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 imaginings.


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