A rare poster announcing the Happening to take place on December 18, 1959 at 3:11 in the afternoon, at the Hamburg University of Fine Arts, organized by Hundertwasser, Brock, and Schuldt, during which a spiral line was proposed to be drawn continuously around Hundertwasser's classroom at the University where he was a visiting lecturer; with text from art critic Pierre Restany affixed to the bottom left of the poster in the form of a long red strip of text, containing information on Hundertwasser, the preparation, and execution of the event, size of Restany text approx. 4.75 x 57 inches. Some overall toning, folding and crease marks, some small tears along folds, slightly fragile. Total overall sheet size approx. 27.5 x 24 inches. Hamburg, 1959.
This Happening was set to occur on December 18, 1959, at 3:11 pm, and was one of the earliest pieces of modern performance art and somewhat of a precursor to the environmental art movement. The event was described on the poster as "Der Zug einer Linie aus dem Geist der Wüste - ein Spiraloid jenseits des tachistischen Sumpfes - im Jahr des hervorbrechenden Unheils MCMLIX." According to Hundertwasser, the idea for the happening came from Brock, who proposed that the three men should "draw a never-ending line, in accordance with Hundertwasser's philosophy of the organically drawn line and the continuous spiral" and "as a protest against the T-square straight line, and thus they intended to promote one of the core elements of Hundertwasser's artistic philosophy." (Sara Nicole Lynch, "The Survival of Friedensreich Hundertwasser, 2013) In an essay about the Happening, Hundertwasser wrote, "I wanted to draw a spiral line that climbed the walls horizontally, like the layers of sediment in the rock." He visited an astrologer for advice as to the best date and time to begin the painting of the line, and sent "about a thousand invitations" to the happening. At the specified time, "I began to draw a line counter-clockwise around the room, about an inch from the floor. When I got back to this point, I continued to draw about an inch higher, irregularly parallel to the line I had already drawn, and so the spiral grew. I went over all obstacles, doors, windows, radiators, and other things...I had removed all furniture from the walls in order to clear the way...I first drew the line black, later red, first with dark pencils, then with paint and a brush. When I got tired, I handed the brush over to Bazon Brock, who took my place, like the relay race." According to the official Hundertwasser website, the line was "painted with red and black pigment...an uninterrupted line of about 10 km over walls, doors, and windows of Hundertwasser's guest lecturer classroom, rising in layers of spirals on the walls...On December 19, in the evening, the continuation of the line was forbidden by the director of the Art Institute." Hundertwasser resigned from the University that day, and a few days later the line was scraped off with razor blades and painted over. A scarce relic from an important occasion in the field of performance art; as of January 2020, we could not find this poster listed on WorldCat.
Book ID: 50487