hu en

Budapest, Installation of the Hundertwasser Exhibition, Museum of Fine Arts 2008

The creative imagination of Friedensreich Hundertwasser (1928-2000) is manifested in painting, graphic arts, applied arts and architecture equally: the aim of the exhibition of the Budapest Museum of Fine Arts in 2007 was to present this rich lifework in its entirety. The artist's childhood drawings, juvenile watercolors, mature period paintings, graphic artworks, tapestries and architectural designs were featured in the selection.
The attention Hundertwasser received wasn’t based only on his fine artworks but also on the individual approach he took to the environment and the world in general. He wrote several manifestos about the relationship between the built environment and nature, and a creative method he invented and represented in his works. He went as far in his appreciation for living organisms, that in his Mould Manifesto (1958) he professed that molding on the house walls is not a process to be eliminated but the legitimate right of nature to be present in human habitats.
He was strongly against the solid, ever-repeated painting of house walls; he saw the organic pattern created by patches of dirt naturally appearing on walls as something valuable, lending unique appearance to the façades. As all of this reveals, Hundertwasser regarded nature as a respectable creative power, equal of man, important not only as an artistic partner but also as a source of inspiration. He referred to organic forms as models to be followed by architects. According to his main principle, rulers should be thrown away and straight lines should be forgotten, since “The straight line is godless.” This motto is not surprising, since Hundertwasser’s art is deeply rooted in natural forms and in art nouveau, a movement appearing at the turn of the twentieth century.
The installation of the exhibition is an endeavor to convey these creative principles within the limitations set by the exhibition space. The installation is made of specially treated steel with a rustic, fretting surface; creating a slightly stained, marble-like effect. Though the screens are coated with a homogenous, dark grey layer; the shiny and shady bits created by the unevenness of the base rais the illusion of a surface eroded by the forces of nature. There are no two identical screens in the exhibition; however, the lighting makes this only subtly noticeable, so it doesn’t interfere with the appreciation of the artworks; it simply adds a further aesthetic feature and a subtle reference for the viewer. The screens are arranged along segments of polylines, creating intimate spaces and separating the artworks in groups; thus the exhibition is split into a series of consecutive impressions. The soft, dark, grey carpet on the floor feels under the feet like a well-trodden forest trail. The management of the Hundertwasser legacy requested that the pictures should be suspended without lying directly on the surface of the wall or the screens: the 2-2 wedges placed on the sides of each piece ensure a few centimeter distance from the screens, making the pictures look almost like hovering in the air, as if the leaves of a tree.

Péter Kis, Bea Molnár, Ivett Tarr
Photo by: Péter Kis