Friedensreich Hundertwasser

By Helen Thomas

Friedensreich Hunderstwasser (1928–2000), Hauteurs de Macchu-Picchu, 1966. Mixed media. © Estate of the architect. DMC 1563.

Hauteurs de Macchu-Picchu, or the Heights of Macchu Picchu is a poem by Pablo Neruda written in 1945 that embraces a visit he made to the site in Peru, and includes within it a critique of modern life. The mountainous location is echoed in the form of this pile of 28 interlocking cardboard boxes, but in another configuration the collection of boxes represents a group of open books, whose surfaces are covered in a collage of lithographs and cuttings. Separate 4-colour lithographs were made that represent the boxes in their pile called The Eyes of Macchu Picchu, and it is these curious staring eyes that dominate the graphic character of the piece. The collection of boxes was produced as a limited edition in 1966 at a time when the artist, and later architect, Friedrich Stowasser, or Friedensreich Hundertwasser as he was known, was in the midst of his protests against architectural rationalism and most especially the straight line.

Friedensreich Hunderstwasser (1928–2000), Hauteurs de Macchu-Picchu, 1966. Mixed media. © Estate of the architect. DMC 1563.
Friedensreich Hunderstwasser (1928–2000), Hauteurs de Macchu-Picchu, 1966. Mixed media. © Estate of the architect. DMC 1563.
Friedensreich Hunderstwasser (1928–2000), Hauteurs de Macchu-Picchu, 1966. Mixed media. © Estate of the architect. DMC 1563.