Hundertwasser, Friedensreich (1928-2000) - 1994 The 30 Day Fax Picture
Mixed media (thirty A4 size FAXes); 151 x 130 cm
Friedensreich Hundertwasser was an Austrian painter and architect. Born Friedrich Stowasser in Vienna, he became one of the best-known contemporary Austrian artists, although controversial, by the end of the 20th century. The Second World War was a hard time for Hundertwasser and his mother Elsa, because she was Jewish. They avoided persecution by posing as Catholics, a credible ruse because Hundertwasser's father had been a Catholic. To remain inconspicuous, joined the Hitler Youth. During Nazi rule he studied in Vienna, at public schools before briefly attending the Akademie der Bildenden Künste.
His floridly patterned works with their haunting and rich colors are dependent on the decorative tradition that produced Art Nouveau. He was fascinated with spirals, and called straight lines "the devil's tools". He called his theory of art "transautomatism", based on Surrealist automatism, but focusing on the experience of the viewer, rather than the artist. The luxurious, sinuous forms and expressive distortions affiliate him to figurative artists such as Klimt and Schiele. Hundertwasser’s subject-matter modified these stylistic sources and was often influenced by his great interest in a sane environment expressed as a stable relationship between man, the built world and nature. He traveled widely and developed a pictorial vocabulary unspecific to any place or time. The decorative and technical opulence of his work made him a controversial figure with the critics, while assuring him a large popular following.