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Title: Hans Hollein and postmodernism : art and architecture in Austria 1958-1985
Author: Branscome, E. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5358 0993
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2014
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This thesis investigates the art and architecture scene in post-war Vienna to ask how this can inform our understanding of architectural Postmodernism. It specifically focuses on the various outputs of the Austrian artist and architect, Hans Hollein, and on his appropriation as a Postmodernist. The study’s background in post-war Austria belongs within a context of re-education initiatives by the Allied forces, especially from the USA. But within an Austrian culture still steeped in Catholicism, American practices like abstract expressionism, action painting and art happenings were transformed unrecognisably. One such outcome, Viennese Aktionism, directly affected thinking about architecture through the ‘performance environments’ that were created. In Vienna, the circles of radical art and architecture were not distinct, and Hollein’s claim that ‘Everything is Architecture’ was symptomatic of this intermixing of practices. Austria's proximity to the Iron Curtain, and its post-war history of four-power occupation gave a heightened sense of menace that emerged strongly in Viennese art. Seen as a collective entity, Hollein’s works across architecture, art, writing, exhibition design and publishing require a more diverse, complex and nuanced account of architectural Postmodernism than that offered by critics at the time. Here Hollein's outputs are viewed not as individual projects for appropriation by architectural critics according to their various agendas, but as a symptomatic of Austria's attempts to come to terms with its Nazi past and to establish a post-war identity. While Hollein's concerns with the obsolescence of built architecture and its replacement by mass media corresponded in certain respects with those of Postmodernism, in other respects they were rooted in the sometimes violent, abusive and self-destructive practices of the Austrian avant-garde and its attitudes towards politics, religion, technology, infrastructure, advertisements and sex. If these are to be included within the postmodern canon, then the criteria of Postmodernism require substantial revision.
Supervisor: Forty, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available