Sunday, August 4, 2013
The 387 Houses of Peter Fritz, Insurance Clerk from Vienna
In 1993 the artist Oliver Croy was looking through the contents of a junk shop. He found 387 miniature hand-made buildings, each in its own trash bag. The houses were meticulously crafted by an unknown Viennese insurance clerk, Peter Fritz. They were built from inexpensive materials like cardboard, foil, scraps of wallpaper and matchboxes. They do not appear to be specific real houses but each is a kind of house or store or bank building or other structure that might have been built in Fritz's Austria. Each is different.
Croy and his friend Oliver Elser, an architectural critic, preserved the buildings and presented them in the 2013 Biennale in Venice. Despite thousands of artistic works created by professional artists, these miniature houses made by an idiosyncratic clerk for his own enjoyment were my favorite pieces in the Biennale.