Friedensreich Hundertwasser



On Pacific waters, aboard the Queen Elizabeth II, a heart attack put a fittingly dramatic end to the vital career of Fritz Stowasser, the heterodox artist who under the pseudonym Friedensreich Hundertwasser incorporated his unclassifiable constructions into the list of Vienna’s tourist attractions. An out-and-out defender of individualism, this professor of painting first made himself known in 1958 with «Mildew Manifesto,» which charged at rationalism in architecture. Enemies of the straight line, his buildings – endowed with the coloristic and capricious air of toys – always included the spiral, resumé of a peculiar battle against monotony that led him to wear socks of different colors and give lectures in the nude. Author of the Kunsthaus Wien and the edifice that carries his name in the Austrian capital, he tried to build with ecological criteria and rebelled against the figure of the architect as a dictator of taste. His work is scattered around Europe and reached New Zealand, the place he chose to live in much of the year, where the public toilets he designed in Kawakawa are already a pilgrimage destination.

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