Friedensreich Hundertwasser

Two years ago, there was still a nice little bomb crater on Obere Donaustrasse. It had water in it, and you went around it. Now I come back and find it has vanished. The City, or whoever it was, shouldn’t be so proud of the smooth sidewalk. The war brought earth into the city; instead of holding on to it, they are raping it more than before. Does another war have to come, an even more dreadful one? The earth will avenge itself, and when the earth, probably very soon, rebels once again, it won’t have been my fault. That the sidewalk and building walls were made smooth in 1920, was a necessity, but now, in 1957, it is madness which I cannot comprehend. The bombings of 1943 were perfect automatic formalistic teachings: the straight line and its empty shapes were to be smashed and pulverised, and they were.

Following that, normally a transautomatism should have set in: it is neither stucco nor flat, neither incidental nor drunk, nor dissolution, but quite simply like the true order which continues to form and exists everywhere where right-angled or drunken man doesn’t thwart it. As erosion has become controllable through transautomatism and everything that has been done up to now was wrong, anyway, the only right thing that can be done now with any feeling of responsibility is to engage in critical weathering: then spiraloid and fluidoid activity exercises and creative moulding would be the next things to be done. For after geometry comes the rapid explosion, followed by the slow explosion, then weathering and then moulding. Once we have understood mould, the way for a new mode of creating will be free again for a while.

But they are building cubes, cubes! At the perpendicular corners of Vienna. Madness. Delusion. Where is the conscience, if not of the masses, at least of the others? And this although it is 1957 by now. Madness. Better to shoot the people or kill them in the womb than put them in serial apartments or have them eat from plates of which there are already a thousand castings, and it is precisely the most beautifully formed which are the most dangerous. Horrible. Or if they are housed in boxes they didn’t build themselves and which they cannot and may not remodel, even if they were given this freedom


Written in 1957 in Paris for the exhibition at Galerie St. Stephan in Vienna (October 17 – November 24, 1957).

Published in:

Blätter und Bilder, No. 7, Würzburg (Germany), 1960

Schurian, Walter (ed.): Hundertwasser - Schöne Wege, Gedanken über Kunst und Leben. (Beautiful Paths - Thoughts on Art and Life) Munich: Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag (dtv), 1983, pp. 93-94 and ed. 2004 (Munich, Langen Müller Verlag), pp. 116-117 (German)

Das Hundertwasser Haus (The Hundertwasser House). Vienna: Österreichischer Bundesverlag/Compress Verlag, 1985, p. 44 (German, excerpt)

Hundertwasser Architecture. For a More Human Architecture in Harmony with Nature. Cologne: Taschen, 1997, p. 45 and Edition 2007, p. 33 (excerpts)

Grunenberg, Christoph and Becker, Astrid (ed.): Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Gegen den Strich. Werke 1949-1970, Exhibition catalogue Kunsthalle Bremen. Ostfildern: Hatje Cantz Verlag, 2012, p. 112 (German)

Hundertwasser, Exhibition catalogue for nordiska akvarellmuseet, Skärhamn, 2021, p. 55 (excerpt, Swedish, English)