210513: Unteres Belvedere - Hundertwasser, Japan and the avant-garde

Unteres Belvedere Hundertwasser, Japan and the avant-garde 06.02.2013 – 30.06.2013 Avant-garde washed with Hundertwasser By Goschka Gawlik In the present, every decade gives birth to its own artistic types. The painter, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, one of the best known – and in his own country regarded as one of the most controversial and also kitschy artists – was far ahead of his time and this rule in the 1950's. With his cleverly staged public appearances as a cryptical loner and "stranger in his own culture", he pre-empted an artistic type which first started to establish itself internationally in the 60's: he was a career, body, fashion and eco-conscious networker, a self-marketing genius, a visionary individualist, builder and street performer. His six-month sojourn in Japan in 1961 not only brought him intrepid artistic success but also luck in love. In all these roles, Hundertwasser tends to being a protagonist of post-war humanism, bettering the world and building a world which should be different than the rational, mass-compatible, serial and square modern. Simultaneously, the market value of his works scaled all heights. According to the catalogue authors, he came into contact in the 1950's - first in Paris and after that in Milan - with almost all the important representatives of the international avant-garde and succumbed, as many of his European and American artistic colleagues, to the influences of the Asian, and particularly the Japanese culture and Zen philosophy. His rediscovery and re-evaluation is the focus of the present exhibition "Hundertwasser, Japan and the avant-garde" in the Untere Belvedere. Its goal is to rebut Hundertwasser's image as a loner and to meaningfully and scientifically capture the symbolic value of his works. The presentation, compartmentalised into six theme areas, begins with the – for the 50's obligatory – deflection to abstraction as the expression of artistic freedom. During the occupation of Austria, one is confronted with the specific drive towards freedom and individualism in Hundertwasser's creations. This is attested in the photographic documentation of his diverse, performative actions such as "The Value of the Streets" or the simultaneously publicized manifest on "Transautomatism" and "new styles of composition”. Hundertwasser's credo "Man has to be self-creatively engaged. And that means everyone ....!!" can today, however, in the neo-liberalistic era, not solely be interpreted from a humanistic viewpoint. Hundertwasser's renowned, tectonic loop-like paintings dominate the scene in the exhibition's man entrance. Their different variations, formal as well as substantially, are presented with works – sculpture, drawings and pictures – of other avant-gardists, amongst them John Cage, Yves Klein and Manzoni, as well as Hundertwasser's Japanese artist friends such as the sculptor Shinkichi Tajiri or the painter Akira Kito. Some of the intentional parallels have succeeded – such as those with Tajiri, Constant, Corneille or Capogrossi – others – such as those with John Cage, Adolf Wölfli or Lucio Fontana – miss their intention and produced a rather contra-productive effect. Fontana's perforated picture "Concetto Spaziale“ (1949) deconstructively augments the general meaning of a picture against which the aesthetic replacement value of Hundertwasser's paintings seems modest. In them, the Austrian artist remains true to the traditional, comical structures and pre-conscious stages as a portrayal on inner values. After this, he manifests his universal ideals against the "demise of humanity" through the dictate of the straight line such as a franchise enterprise based on questionable, tasteless world embellishments in different building forms such as refuse incineration plants, motorway service areas, thermal hotels, market halls, stations, fountains or houses. Unteres Belvedere 1030 Vienna, Rennweg 6 Tel: +43 1 795 57-200 Fax: +43 1 795 57-121 E-mail: info@belvedere.at http://www.belvedere.at Opening hours: Daily 10 to 18 hours, Wednesdays 10 to 21 hours

Unteres Belvedere
1030 Wien, Rennweg 6
Tel: +43 1 795 57-200, Fax: +43 1 795 57-121
Email: info@belvedere.at
Öffnungszeiten: Täglich 10 bis 18 Uhr, Mittwoch 10 bis 21 Uhr

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