Thursday, April 19, 2007

Hundertwasser House & KunstHausWien

Hundertwasser House

Today was essentially devoted to a visit to a pair of sites demonstrating the work of Austrian artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, some of whose works I admit I was aware of but didn't connect them as the product of one man.

First stop (purely by accident as I didn't have good street directions) was the Hundertwasser House, an apartment building constructed in the mid-1980s. Hundertwasser's design was free "to prevent something ugly from going up in its place".


A few blocks away is the newer KunstHausWien, a building that both illustrates his design philosophies but showcases his paintings, textiles, book, flag and other designs. Absorbing all that, and taking advantage of the cafe with garden is an easy half-day experience.

A quick way to see his paintings is via an image search, showing him as a very much in the Klimt-Gaudi zeitgeist. His paintings are like Klimt's The Kiss but the embraces implied in them are between man and environment. I was particularly taken by the alternate flag he created for New Zealand, his chosen country of residence. He also proposed one for Australia, with an inverted Uluru (Ayers Rock) over the seven-pointed star.

I should specially note that Bondi was allowed to accompany me everywhere through the KunstHausWien, including the exhibition galleries, where he usually curled up on the floor while I listened to audio commentary. On the way back to the apartment, I thought I'd stop in at Café Sacher, but they seem to be the only café in Vienna that doesn't allow dogs.

The "beautiful blue" bits of the Danube now float on top; today's Austrian hausfrau in the kitchen

Finished reading Stanislaw Lem's beautifully written, though terribly pessimistic 1986 novel Fiasco. Now into Seth Lloyd's Programming the Universe, an exposition of the idea that the universe is (or is equivalent to) a quantum computer.

News link: Impounded: family forced to leave their dog in France because officials couldn't scan its ID chip

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