Monday, 14 May 2012

Hundertwasser in Wittenberg and Lira/Illanes in Warisata: The Breadth of the Decorated School Cause

There is a lot to be said for bringing together and exploring comparatively the visual language of two highly distinctive, celebrated decorated schools from different parts of the world, different periods and ostensibly different ideologies.

We could begin by contemplating the new Luther Melanchthon Gymnasium in Wittenberg, Germany (1997-1999) and the Escuela-ayllu Warisata between La Paz and Lake Titicaca, Bolivia (1931-41) for the Aymara community.

For now, I just mention that the unfinished murals at Warisata (by Alejandro Mario Illanes), along with the community they served, were destroyed while the carved relief entrances (by Manol Fuentes Lira) survived. The school is currently being reinvented as an indigenous university. The Wittenberg Gymnasium is also a reinvention, it being designed (perhaps as an anti-rationalist statement) around a functionalist DDR school type in accordance with Friedensreich Hundertwasser's plans.

I reproduce here some images and for the time being would simply mention that it would seem consideration of the schools' distinct histories and visual vocabularies could reap great rewards in terms of the aesthetics, function, place and definition of the decorated school.

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