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Hundertwasser - brilliance

Hundertwasser - from Austria to New Zealand (and toilets)

Hopefully you have heard of the fascinating Artist & Architect - Friedrich Hundertwasser. Many of you will know of him because of his high profile in Keri Keri, New Zealand.

His art is totally different. How a brain can go every which way but one has always been asked of artists like Picasso, Salvador Dali and Joan Miro.

There is also Gaudi, who is an absolute enigma and his building designs and his presence in Barcelona is and must be one of today’s wonders of the world. If you aren’t aware of each of these artists, Google them.

Gaudi marches ahead of or beside these artists I have talked about so far, even talking about them to you makes me  aware of my own inadequacies. What makes artists likes this? What kind of an outstanding imaginative brain do they have?.

Back to Hundertwasser. As an artist he was successful beyond the imagination. In 1959 he took part in the 5th Biennale at São Paulo. In 1969 he represented Austria in the Venice Biennale.

His art is avant garde. In Kawakawa, he is an outstanding hero who designed a toilet block which has been internationally  acclaimed as a work of art. Born in Austria, he moved to New Zealand, living self-sufficiently in Kawakawa from 1975 until his death in 2001.

Many of you will be aware of the huge project which is now in the process of commemorating this man’s existence.  This is planned to include an art gallery in Whangarei featuring his works.

He loved spirals and colour. Masses of colour. Hundertwasser designed buildings in Vienna. He bucked the system and he had that extra art “gene” that can be identified with those artists I have mentioned. There very few of them - like literary greats - they have that element which marks them out for eternal distinction.

Like Matisse, Van Gogh, Frances Hodgkins, Rita Angus, Frida Kahlo, the German Expressionists. All those artists who I have talked about had that ingredient.

An interesting personal note:

My family really knew very little about art. When I went to Maeroa Intermediate School in Hamilton I was in Form Two as it was then. I had this teacher, Bert Watkins, a slightly stooped young man who was passionate about art and classical music. He introduced this class of 12 year olds to Matisse, Van Gogh, Gaugin, Lautrec and others, to Palaeolithic man.

I bought a special book all about that period of history. I must have had a little bit of pocket money and as time went on I worked in a vegetable shop in Ward Street after school and in the holidays.

The library was the best source of information for me about art.  But, because I had to return those books, I would save my pocket money and bought books about all these things. Just small books but that was the beginning of my love of art and music.

Thank you, Mr Watkins you influenced my life beyond imagination. I tried to find him over the years to thank but never have. He was probably only ten or 12 years older than me.

To find out more about Hundertwasser, look at the museum in his honour here https://www.kunsthauswien.com/en/exhibitions/museum-hundertwasser/


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