do I like it?

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Today I browsed my favourite online design magazine and found an article about a place I know well: the spa in Blumau, a little village in the south-east of Austria. I used to live closeby in another little village. The entire region is defined by its spa-tourism, today. It seems, if one digs a hole in the ground anywhere in the area, hot water rises immedeately (not true, as my house had its own well and the water was nice and cool). The beautiful, hilly countryside rolling into the big Hungarian plane to the east and the fact, that the entire region was really off side everything, as long as the so-called “iron curtain” to the former “East” was still up, cramped in between Hungary and former Yugoslavia, with just little farm villages and a few small towns with nowhere to go from or to, made it a forlorn jewel, interesting to no one. But to be the forgotten corner of otherwise thriving Austria had some positive effects, paying off today: no industry, intact nature, most produce homegrown and of the finest quality, including wines and some of the best fruit schnaps you can get. Plus the mild climate compared to the rest of alpine Austria and the down-to earth, friendly rural population prone to good food and drink (along with some no-go political ideas, I have to add), made it the perfect region to develope tourism. So when you leave the southbound motorway from Vienna to trail a little south-east, you pass an entire chain of inviting spa – spots, complete with hotels and fine, private B & Bs, often also offering various sports such as hiking, tennis, biking, golf and so on. Bad Waltersdorf, Bad Tatzmannsdorf, Stegersbach, Sebersdorf, Loipersdorf, Blumau, Bad Radkersburg, Bad Gleichenberg, there is no end.
And one of those villages decided to have Friedensreich Hundertwasser design their spa, obviously still worth being mentioned in a fairly modern online design magazine today. To some, the art of Hundertwasser stands rightfully in line with all other, great Austrian artists. He even got his own museum in Vienna, the Kunsthaus, if not exclusively, but much of it is dedicated to his work. I dutifully went to see it a long time ago, to find out, whether I was wrong. But to this day I don’t like his art very much. His paintings of colourful spirals never meant anything to me. Maybe decorative art, a sorry attempt to take the spirits of Klimt and Schiele into a new, modern era (Bauhaus did a much better job at this, I think). His architecture, albeit completely different from anything ever built before, looked more like oversized kindergarden buildings to me. Or dwellings for dwarfs, elfs, Hobbits and the like (another branch of artistic expression, I am not very fond of – here comes my confession: I am neither into Lord of the Rings nor into Harry Potter).

So, what brings me to write this post about Hundertwasser and Blumau? Homesickness? Nostalgia? The relative unagitated and nice way, he moulded the spa into the countryside? I don’t know exactly. If there ever was one aspect of Hundertwasser’s work, I really liked, it was his work in New Zealand, where he bought a valley and experimented with grass-covered dwellings and lived in accordance with nature. He succeded with living self-sufficient, purification plant and everything. At a time, when “Green Partys” didn’t exist yet and nobody gave a toss about the environment. There you are, I do like something about Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser aka Friedrich Stowasser.

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4 thoughts on “do I like it?

  1. here comes my confession: I am neither into Lord of the Rings nor into Harry Potter)

    blasphemy! :>>

    I grew to like, later adore parts of the written one, mainly because of friendship explored, mayhaps at a point in my life dearly missed – the other however, even though thoughts on machineage and machinehuman hybrids aka Nazi Germany, were quiet poignantly observed and are to be commended – hold little interest for me. It is appreciated however holding some great meaning to generations reading the books, bonding, drawing conclusions – and taking their imagination for a walk in the park. 🙂

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    1. I understand, that generations of kids (and adults) love the books (or films) and in that sense, the stories are much part of our culture. I just don’t get why so many like it and I just don’t (in my confession I left out Alice in Wonderland, also something strange to me). Maybe because my childhood stories were staight out of the old testament and therefor rather drastic. Later came Karl May (all of it, and here one needs to consider the Nazi connotation as well). Of course as a kid one wants stories about heroes, friendship and loyalty and one dreams to become a hero oneself. I just wanted a horse like the one, Kara ben Nemsi had, Rih its name was, if I remember correctly.
      One likes, what fuelled ones imagination, when one was a child, I guess. And Lord of the Rings was introduced to me, when I was 20+. When I didn’t like it, I was given the Hobbits, to get a better understanding, but halfway through the book I gave up. It just bored me. My Imagination is not ignited, when things happen, that seem too unrealistic to be true to me. Which is stupid, because I usually buy into almost any sci-fy setting offered (exhibit a: The Hunger Games, which I love). Weird, I know…

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  2. I tend to agree with most of your opinion of Hundertwasser, even if my own bathroom tiling was inspired by him. (And I have to confess – breaking those tiles and piecing them back together was fun!!) There IS a Kindergarten feel to his buildings – but then there is something to be said for rebelling against staight lines and the hegemony of orderliness. (See, here I am again, desperately trying to embrace the chaos!)

    Naturally, what struck me more was the word “nostalgia” – makes me think it is about time for you to come visit the porch and your nemesis in Scrabble.

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