A LETTER FROM PARIS (excerpt)

Dear Herr Rochowansky,


My “artistic activity” has long since no longer been limited to the word art, just as the word art is no longer adequate for everything being created now and only leads to misunderstandings. What is being done now is no longer art in the old sense, but rather a certain responsibility which a few people have taken upon themselves to draw the others’ attention to huge dangers. For example the danger of collectivisation which avails itself of standards and the straight line. On the basis of my experience in my “artistic activity”, i.e., my knowledge of the normal distribution of points and spots on paper and knowledge of the normal line, I can immediately recognise the danger of a marching column compressed into geometric rectangles, be they Fascist, Communist, or American; similarly, the danger modern architectures designed on the basis of straight lines entail for the people who will unsuspectingly live in them. Also, the danger of millions of identical spoons (standard mass production in America) and the danger of reproducing the same slogans and theses and uniformisation by the million (in the Soviet Union). The problem is very complex, as you know; just so you understand in what way, for example, art and politics can be mixed.
You see what I as well as most of the “avant-garde painters” am concerned with, but that is only a tiny fraction. Art today is getting freer and freer, but at the same time it is assuming more and more responsibility and is getting more and more complicated, but this complexity is a good sign. After all, life today is, too.

 

Hundertwasser

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