Bea Aaronson's Lectures.



Thursday September 10 at 3:00 central time

Spirals, Mildew and Transautomatism, Friedensreich Hundertwaswser, Art and Life


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by Béa Aaronson, PhD


Painter, architect, philosopher, environmentalist, Hundertwasser is 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. 


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 twenty, 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 chaneled 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 Tangore, who strived for harmony between humans and nature, and also by the teachings of the Dalai Lama.


Hundertwasser revolutionary architecture will fill you with awe and astonishment, as he succeeded to built houses, apartment buildings, 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, extra-ordinary 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…