‘I began painting a landscape composition. The longer I worked on it, the more distinctly two completely separate areas emerged. While one is enclosed by a wall, the other has no limits. On the left continent, a willingness to organise prevails. All individual phenomena are combined to bow to an overall order. A system developed dividing the whole area into central and peripheral portions. This terrain may well be nature, but one governed by reason.
The other continent, taking up a much larger part of the picture, started to unfold as a different type of nature. The familiar proportions were given up, with objects distorted like in a dream. Painterly associations took a peculiar course, with visual memories of various species mingling to create new ones.
Only during the last phases of working on this picture did I begin to understand it. I gradually realised that I used nature’s poetic metaphor to paint a topography of the human landscape.
I was surprised to discover conspicuous similarities with The Arch of Ulysses: in both pictures, consciousness is confronted with the unconscious – loaded with all the autobiographic details in Ulysses, but removed from the sphere of private intimacies in the Two Continents.’
(Rudolf Hausner, Werkmonographie, by Hans Holländer, Edition Volker Huber, 1985)
Rudolf Hausner (Vienna 1914–1995 Mödling) was a leading exponent of the Vienna School of Fantastic Realism. In his detailed and brilliantly coloured paintings featuring unfamiliar perspectives and distortions, the Austrian post-war painter and graphic artist deals with dreams and traumas. In his work, which was strongly influenced by the French Surrealists and Sigmund Freud’s The Interpretation of Dreams, he sought to digest issues of identity and conscious perception, as well as the experience of World War II.
Contemporary Art I
25 November 2020