Monday, January 23, 2017

Some ideas stew for quite a while!

 (Above:  Detail of In Box CCLXXXIII.  Click on any image in this blog post to enlarge.)

Many people know that my entire "In Box" series was inspired by Friedenreich Hundertwasser, the Austrian painter and architect whose fixed income condominium complex in Vienna was on my "bucket list" for years.  Hundertwasser's eco-friendly ideas, recycled tile mosaics, and colorful palette are central to the concepts in my work.  More importantly, Hundretwasser's philosophy stressed individualism.  He disdained straight lines in favor of more organic forms.  He stressed individualism and the reconciliation of humans within nature.  He thought that if people had to live in "boxes" (and we all do!) that the structures ought to reflect the unique people inside.  He advocated for the facade around every window to be decorated accordingly ... so that each unit was recognizable/individual from the outside.   My "In Box Series" represents an aerial view to an imaginary Hundretwasser city ... where the streets aren't neatly planned, the boxes don't have uniform 90-degree angles, and all the motifs express the unique inhabitants of each box.

(Above:  In Box CCLXXXIII.  Inventory # 3943. Unframed: 33" x 12"; framed: 41" x 22".  $700.)

The Hundertwasserhaus was built between 1983-85 and was featured in a Smithsonian Magazine article at around the same time.  I read it.  I really wanted to see this unique building that includes fifty-three apartments, four offices, sixteen private terraces, three communal terraces, and a total of two hundred and fifty trees and bushes.  In 1986 I was a staff person for my parents' summer studies program to Salzburg.  (The Cultural Studies Academy was started in 1963 ... and there's a nice history HERE which include family photos from a long, long time ago!)  One weekend trip went to Budapest.  Visas were needed for the group.  Visas were acquired from the embassy in Vienna.  Dad and I drove to get them.  Dad ALWAYS got lost in Vienna.  (Swearing was involved ... a lot! LOL!)  Of course, we got lost ... and accidentally drove right by the Hundertwasserhaus with me begging to stop.  We didn't stop.  Eventually, we got the visas.  Dad calmed down.  I told him about the Hundertwasserhaus but we had no time to return.

(Above:  Me holding the framed piece.)

By the next year, Steve and I had moved to South Carolina.  I started my custom picture framing business and could no longer travel to Austria ... but the rest of my family was still going.  On the weekend trip to Vienna, my Dad had the bus driver take the entire group to the Hundertwasserhaus.  I got a postcard.  For several years, the group visited.  I got a Hundertwasser calendar every Christmas ... being the only person in the family NOT to have been there.

It wasn't until somewhere around 2002 or 2003 that I finally got to the Hundertwasserhaus with Steve and our younger son.  It was wonderful, of course.  During that trip, I finally got inside Schloss Belvedere and saw Klimt's The Kiss and the Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer (before it became the subject of an international law suit and moved to NYC ... and long before the movie The Woman in Gold.) Shortly after that trip, I started making pieces that I called my "In Box Series".  They were originally based on BOTH Hundertwasser and Klimt ... but I sort of forgot about Klimt somewhere along the timeline.

By 2009, my "In Box Series" had evolved and I was excited to return to Vienna with fiber friends from Sweden.  (I blogged about it HERE.)  During this trip, I finally went to the Hundertwasser Museum and the resulting work reflected even more of Hundertwasser ... getting more and more colorful.  Klimt was forgotten until a couple of weeks ago.

 (Above:  In Box CCLXXXIII hanging in the sales room at Mouse House.)

Steve and I were invited to a friend's New Year's party.  They purchased one of my very early In Box Series pieces.  I haven't seen it in years.  Steve remarked, "Susan, it looks more like Klimt than Hundertwasser!"  He was right!  I was stunned and my mind has churned with ideas ever since.  In the meantime, Steve built me a wide, black fabric liner.  He found the sticks while doing year-end inventory.  It came from a company that went under years ago.  I looked at it for over two weeks, allowing ideas to brew about my original "In Boxes" and about Klimt.  I finally decided to act on a new idea ... eliminate the "space" between the "boxes" ... don't get too detailed inside the boxes ... and don't melt anything with a soldering iron.  When I finished, Steve said, "You're channeling Klimt again!"  I think I might continue down this path!  Some ideas are worth revisiting ... or perhaps they just have to stew for a while until surfacing again!

 (Above:  Forever, a commissioned piece for very special keys ... for very special friends.)

Recently, I finished a very special piece.  Stephanie has been to Salzburg with the Cultural Studies Academy.  My youngest sister Sonya has owned the business for several years.  She and Stephanie are quite close ... and Sonya made arrangements for Stephanie to marry Russell one summer in Salzburg!  These keys are "forever" and include the July date in Austria when they said, "I do." 

This is Steve holding up the finished piece ... and below is Steve holding up another special project.  This one is a gift. It is a photo from Facebook of a note written by local poet Cassie Premo Steele who went to Saturday's Women's March in DC.  She asked for names of anyone who couldn't attend but would like to be "in her pocket".  Steve and I submitted our names.  Hilariously, we are listed as "Susan and Steve Lenz".  (Lenz is my maiden name.)  Steve said, "For such an occasion, I'll take your name!"

I am linking this post to Nina-Marie's "Off the Wall Fridays", a site for sharing fiber arts.


Els said...

Love the Hundertwasser Susan !!!

flspirit said...

I'm a Hundertwasser fan, also... a book stays where i can locate it quickly. Enjoy considering the many designs & how to interpret them. Who know if you are the reason I like him, or if it's the other way around. Still enjoying the process.

Debbie said...

I have been lucky enough to visit the houses and the museum his work is amazing and he sounds like a fascinating person. Wouldn't it have been wonderful to have met him. Love your interpretation. I also have visited the Klimt's, beautiful though I had gone mainly to see Egon Scheile's work, (sorry spelt wrong) which unfortunately had been removed for the Klimt exhibition.

Linda Laird said...

Beautiful piece--very Klimty! (Is that a word?) Keep up the good work.