Pissender Knabe mit Wolkenkratzern


The tapestry which I did in Vienna in 1952 would not exist if it was not for a bet. The two weavers Riedl and Schidlo insisted, a tapestry can only be woven after a cartoon the size of the tapestry itself. My opinion was that it could be done without and as I did not give in, they lent me a loom. I dragged it home myself, I believe it was on a push-cart, and the two weavers helped me to erect the loom and lent me coloured wool in many tints and then I started weaving.
I was amazed to see how endless it got; it grew a few millimeters per day only. I always had to push the wool back into the warp with the comb-hammer and thus 5 cms became one or two millimeters. I slowly worked my tapestry upwards and it took me six months during which I worked from eight in the morning till eight at night with hands and feet - never in my life have I laboured so intensely and for so long a time.
I began with the toes, they became a trouserleg and to the right of it appeared a house.

As I wove I kept thinking what could fill the background and what I could conceive for higher-up.

As I had started on with a trouser-leg, a body had to follow, arms, and a head; there were to be windows in the background, and if one makes windows, there must be a roof to top them off, and this is how I finished the tapestry and won my bet. (from: Cat. Barbican Art Gallery, London, 1983)