Agata Pyzik – Oskar Hansen (1922-2005)

Oskar Hansen was a Polish architect, a member of Team 10, a tireless experimenter and pedagogue and the creator of the theory of Open Form. He died in 2005, and his innovative genius was never properly appreciated in the West during his lifetime. But as interest in the architecture of the former Eastern Bloc increases, an effort has been made to reveal his work to a wider public: an exhibition curated by Warsaw’s Museum of Modern Art travelled to Barcelona in 2014, and to Porto earlier this year. Warsaw’s MoMA also published a collaborative Polish-English scholarly effort Oskar Hansen – Opening Modernism, but typically, this new research comes from the art world. It focuses on Hansen’s didactic, experimental work as an inspiration for conceptual art, and is less interested in his actual architectonic realisations – a fate similar to that of Cedric Price and the Smithsons in the UK. Hansen himself managed to realise few of his projects. The reason for this lies in the complex destinies of postwar Modernism, and how the postwar humanism embodied in the aim of many designers to set up a fairer world met the obstacles of Cold War ideology, economic limitations and social reality.

Pyzik, Agata: “Oskar Hansen (1922-2005)”, Architectural Review, 8 october, 2015


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