Menschentorsi (Human Torsos) – TU Wien main building

The bronze sculpture by Austro-Greek artist Joannis Avramidis entitled Menschentorsi (Human Torsos) (1983/93) is located in the Vienna University of Technology’s Wiedner Strasse colonnade.

The artist’s primary theme throughout his oeuvre is the human form. He is inspired by the theory of proportions developed in Ancient Greece and during the Renaissance in Italy, as well as by Paul Cézanne, Constantin Brâncuși, Fernand Léger, Oskar Schlemmer and Fritz Wotruba. His pieces are the result of his constant search for a timeless formal language. He analysed human bodies according to mathematical and spatial parameters and then developed a constructive system for building them.

The individual elements of Human Torsos seem to emerge, like pillars, from a mass. Avramidis eliminates anything that could be random or unique, while maintaining the recognisability of the individual parts of the bodies by keeping their curves and forms. Without sexual characteristics, these figures become de-individualised members of a compact unit.

After standing out in the open for more than 30 years and having become a popular nesting space for pigeons, the sculpture was in desperate need of restoration. In 2023 the piece was carefully restored to its original state. Thanks to a gentle cleaning process with subsequent patination, application of a protective layer of wax, rehabilitation of the base, and installation of a pigeon deterrent, Human Torsos again has its original calm, statuesque effect. 

Joannis Avramidis (1922–2016) was born to Greek parents in Batumi on the Black Sea (USSR). From 1945 to 1949 he studied painting at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts under Robin Christian Andersen, and from 1953 to 1956 under Fritz Wotruba. Later, between 1968 and 1992, he himself held a professorship at the Academy of Fine Arts, heading the master school for sculpture.

Known for his bronze sculptures, many of his pieces are life-size or larger than life and can be found in public spaces in such cities as Vienna, Berlin, Hamburg, Munich and Athens, among others. Joannis Avramidis is remembered as one of Austria’s most important sculptors.