My Experience

Short section from an essay I wrote about my artistic influences during my MA at Goldsmiths

I already knew and liked the painter and "architecture doctor" Friedensreich Hundertwasser, in the sense of having seen his pictures and having visited the house in Vienna. This year I actually sat down and read Pierre Restany's book about him and found several things that strongly appealed to me :

The tight integration of Hundertwasser's art and his political world-view or value system. The emphasis on advocating and enabling individual expression. The anti-modernist stance on architecture. The ecological messages2. Even the fact that he was a successful commercial designer, managing to get his art out of the gallery and into the world (on everything from stamps to power-stations).

Some ideas are more complex. Hundertwasser's multi-layered skins : the emphasis on boundaries or what we could call “interfaces”. At best this reminds me of Varela and Maturana's notion of “AutoPoiesis” : “becoming” by creating your own boundaries. At worst, his delight in nation states and their iconography disturbs the internationalist inside me.

There is also the usual problem with the successful visual designer : that work can end up ubiquitous but used as a mere decorative façade. The Hundertwasser House did demand radical interior novelty, with curved floors and “tree-tenants”. But can we be sure that other commissions (hotels, service stations) used Hundertwasser as more than surface decoration?

See also :

CategoryPerson, CategoryArtist