Wednesday, 29 April 2009


Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-200)

First off...apologise for the presentation of this post! For some reason blogger previews everything just right and then when I post and view blog words and pictures are all over the place. It drives me mad. I would normally go back and figure it out and present it better but today I just cannot be messin! Anyway...

Something prompted me recently to pick up my books about Hundertwasser which in turn prompted me to write about one of my favourite artists whom some may never have heard. For all old, and young, hippies everywhere, Hundertwasser is a man who, I feel, is a true inspiration. I mean, how can you not be interested in an artist cum envrionmentalist cum eco-warrior cum architect cum nude protester promoting hummus toilet dude???

Isle of Lost Wishes (1975)

Friedereich Hundertwasser was born in Vienna in 1928 and throughout his career caused a stir amongst the higher ups in society and politics. He created such interesting and thought provoking paintings, often using natural materials of vegetable dye and brick dust of course! But he wasn't just about painting, he was far more than an artist and his beliefs and views could be seen evident in his rantings (namely manifestos!), campaigning and architecture.

The most interesting thing for me about Hundertwasser, are his ideas about architecture and the modern world. He eschewed straight lines, sterility and the clinical presentation of modern buildings. He preferred to create architecture that blended in with its' landscape and surroundings and attempted to create architecture as art and buildings where people actually wanted to live and work. Trees, dirt and mould were all part of the natural world and should be embraced and not cleaned away.  

He planted trees on top of buildings and, amongst several of his 'manifestos' in 1972 he wrote 'Your Window Right - Your Duty' planning to make it obligatory to plant trees in the urban environment.  

Hundertwasser was very much of the view that a persons home expresses his or her individuality and, as such, he or she should be able to create the environment they live in in a way which they feel fits;

" A resident must have the right to lean out of his window and design everything his arm can reach on the wall outside just as it suits him. It will thus be visible from afar to everyone in the street that someone lives there" Your Window Right - Your Duty, 1958                           

rationalism in architecture' which encouraged freedom of expression in architecture and never more so emphasised his hatred for the uniformity of buildings stating;

"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."

The Hunderwasserhaus in Vienna can be said to sum up all his work and belief's in one magnificent show of the blending of architecture, art and one mans' dreams. It is something of a creation, one I would love to see first hand (and LIVE IN!) and one which shows his love of the unusual, creating such a visually stunning, as well as practical home! 

Hundertwasserhaus, Vienna

Hundertwasser was renowned for presenting many of his thoughts, ideals and beliefs into manifesto's and letters as well as them being evident in his paintings and architecture. He was strongly opposed to humankind interfering with nature which embodied the way in which he created his environment.  One of the most striking 'manifesto's' I feel he wrote is 'There are no evils in nature'.  He states;

"A community should not consider it an honour how much spontaneous vegetation it destroys; it should rather be a point of honour for every community to protect as much of its natural landscape as possible."

On a simplistic level, Hundertwasser embraced life and nature and its' natural beauty and hated to see the devastation that 'man's' desire for waste, development and sterility had on the natural world. There are so many areas of Hundertwassers' beliefs, values, creative work and ethics that I could cover. I fear I may be rambling far to much! All I can say is, if you haven't heard of the man and are interested in more, the links above lead to a rather interesting site "Hundertwasser". Enjoy and remember, in the words of the man himself;

The straight line leads to the downfall of humanity!!