Friedensreich Hundertwasser, Concrete Utopias for the Green City, 1983
Hundertwasser’s popularity is not only based on the mass appeal of his paintings and his visionary architecture, but today more than ever also on his active dedication to and many interventions on behalf of comprehensive nature- and environment protection. Just like he showed the people possibilities of a better world and finding a way back to paradise in his pictures, he turned his utopias into reality in the course of his artistic life. He himself made his vision of paradise a reality in the form of his modest safe havens located in the Austrian region “Waldviertel”, in Normandy, in Venice, and lastly in New Zealand. Next to public tree plantings around the world, he planted over 150,000 trees in his valley in New Zealand with the help of farmers and construction companies, thus giving the land back to nature.
Examples of the standards he set for people-friendly architecture that is both close to nature and accessible for everyone can be witnessed at the KUNST HAUS WIEN.
Two models of his plant purification system in the permanent exhibition also draw attention to details of his vision; together with the humus toilet, this idea was both at the center of his ecological ideas and at the center of his own homes. In The Sacred Shit – The Shit Culture (1979) Hundertwasser writes that “what is coming out of our body is not waste but the basis of our world.” Even in the Master School at the Academy of Fine Arts, students were ordered to cultivate such a facility. Receptacles laid with gravel and water plants were connected in a cascading way, turning sewage that runs through the basins into clear water.
Whoever propagates nuclear energy is either extremely short-sighted, tendentiously informed, or consciously criminal …
Friedensreich Hundertwasser, On Ecology, 1983
Hundertwasser was globally active when it came to advocacy against nuclear energy and deforestation, along with becoming involved in saving wales and seas, and—among others—the preservation of the Austrian Hainburg Au wetlands. He also implemented this in his imagery and supported international organisations and campaigns. His original posters for environment protection have become legendary. Hundertwasser also published 691 Irinaland Over the Balkans, a mixed-media piece from the year 1969 on display at the KUNST HAUS WIEN, as a serigraph in 1971. These sheets are among the most impressive and meaningful in his graphic oeuvre. In 1980, the picture served as a model for Ralph Nader’s antinuclear power movement in the USA. It bore the title “Plant Trees, Avert Nuclear Peril”.