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Hans Hollein (Austrian, 1934–2014)

Highrise Building, Sparkplug, project, Exterior perspective

Cut-and-pasted printed paper on gelatin silver photograph
4 3/4 x 7 1/4" (12.1 x 18.4 cm)
Credit Line:
Philip Johnson Fund
MoMA Number:
© 2015 Hans Hollein

The Museum of Modern Art , MoMA Highlights, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, revised 2004, originally published 1999, p. 248

The surreal juxtaposition of a giant sparkplug and a rural landscape is a deliberately provocative gesture. This fantastic collage registers Hollein's dissatisfaction with the architectural status quo of the early 1960s and invites speculations about the future of architecture. Declaring all forms of architecture, even the vocabulary of modernism, to be inadequate, Hollein drew upon the consumer products of science and technology to create images he believed appropriate to the times.

While Hollein's transformations of commonplace objects and the landscape in a number of photomontages have certain parallels with Pop art, he shared the larger concerns of polemical architects, such as his countryman Walter Pichler and members of the British group Archigram. The imaginary proposals for buildings, cities, and services made in the early 1960s by Hollein and other visionary architects anticipated the radical, often utopian, statements of the Italian groups Archizoom Associati and Superstudio toward the end of the 1960s, a decade that culminated in cultural upheavals throughout much of the world. By this time, however, Hollein was redirecting his focus. In interiors and buildings of the late 1960s and the 1970s, he included references to historical Viennese architecture while continuing to juxtapose the built and the natural landscape.

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