, Franz Erhard Walther

Körperformen

Nov 30 – Feb 13, 2013

GermanEnglish

In the past few years, Franz Erhard Walther (born 1939) has created a new set of works he calls Körperformen (Body Shapes). With the maturity of the artist’s late œuvre, these multipart sculptures made of foam material and upholstered in colorful fabrics recapitulate what has been the defining quality of Walther’s art for more than five decades: The “escape from the picture”;

Seit einigen Jahren arbeitet Franz Erhard Walther (*1939) an einem neuen Werkblock, den Körperformen. Mit der Reife des Spätwerks rekapitulieren diese mehrteiligen Skulpturen aus mit farbigem Textil ummantelten Schaumstoff, was Walthers Oeuvre seit mehr als 50 Jahren kennzeichnet: Der „Ausstieg aus dem Bild“, die Auflösung eines statischen Werkbegriffs zugunsten einer dynamischen Beziehung zwischen Dingen, Personen, und ihrem gemeinsamen Raum. Walther wurde ein Pionier sowohl partizipativer wie auch minimalistischer Kunstformen, indem er seit 1962 teils seriell gefertigte Objekte bereitstellte, die zu Handlungen einluden und die Vorstellung eines aktiven Eingreifens der Betrachter – nun Benutzer – propagierten. Er entwarf eine relationale Ästhetik avant la lettre.

the dissolution of a static conception of the work in favor of a dynamic interrelation between things, persons, and the space they share. Starting in 1962, Walther became a pioneer of both participatory and minimalist forms in art by setting objects, sometimes manufactured in series, that invited hands-on application and championed the idea of active intervention on the part of the viewer-cum-user. He conceived a relational aesthetics avant la lettre. “Virtually no artist,” the ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe recently noted, “changed the definition of what sculpture can be as early, or to as lasting effect, as he did.”

die Auflösung eines statischen Werkbegriffs zugunsten einer dynamischen Beziehung zwischen Dingen, Personen, und ihrem gemeinsamen Raum. Walther wurde ein Pionier sowohl partizipativer wie auch minimalistischer Kunstformen, indem er seit 1962 teils seriell gefertigte Objekte bereitstellte, die zu Handlungen einluden und die Vorstellung eines aktiven Eingreifens der Betrachter – nun Benutzer – propagierten. Er entwarf eine relationale Ästhetik avant la lettre. „Kaum ein Kunstschaffender“, schrieb jüngst das ZKM Karlsruhe, „hat die Definition, was Skulptur sein kann, derart frühzeitig und nachwirkend verändert wie er“.

Franz Erhard Walther, Körperformen WEINROT / Body Shapes BORDEAUX RED, 2013, Sewn dyed cotton fabric, foam, nettle, cloth (10 parts), Dimensions vary by installation
GermanEnglish

“Sculpture doesn’t need the eye,”

„Die Skulptur braucht das Auge nicht“,

“Sculpture doesn’t need the eye,” Walther writes with programmatic hyperbole in a note on a sketch made in 1966/69. His work is addressed not (only) to the gaze, but to the whole body, with all its senses and capacity for social interaction. His Vier Körperformen (Four Body Shapes, 1963), for example, are textile objects in organic cuts that may be held to different parts of the body, alone or together with others. In the 1970s, his installations take on architectural dimensions: corners, niches, and pathways offer viewpoints the audience can adopt, stepping into the sculptures and becoming part of them. Among the works Walther creates in the 1990s are the Konfigurationen (Configurations), abstract compositions whose proportions always remain related to the body, the space surrounding it, and the tactile qualities of the fabrics.

These and other strands in Walther’s œuvre resurface in the Körperformen, some of which are on display for the first time in the current exhibition at KOW. It is striking to see how playfully this influencial “Participatory Minimalist” (who has moved back to his native Fulda) conceives his objects. With their generously tailored outlines, sturdy volumes, and clear colors, the instrumental sculptures resemble a larger-than-life building-block set to be stacked up in the mind like a towering puzzle. Each work comes in several parts that may be combined to create a large self-contained shape. Some have curved surfaces designed to accommodate the human body. The Körperformen mediate between architecture, object, and human being, setting them in interrelation and lending them proportion.

Our exhibition, designed in collaboration with Franz Erhard Walther, also looks back on one of his most extensive wall installations from the early 1980s—the 24 Gelbe Säulen (24 Yellow Columns, 1982) is an ensemble of head-high cylindrical shapes in yellow muslin covers that has never been shown to the public. The antique-like motif is not a coincidence. From the beginning of his career, Walther sought to define an aesthetic that would dodge the challenges of shifting tastes as far as possible—that would, in its palette, materiality, and formal evolution, reach for the timeless or perhaps the untimely. This quest is the source of the quiet seriousness of Walther’s œuvre, which has nonetheless remained playful throughout the past 50 years. What’s more, it animates our ludic drives and solicits the involvement of an imagination perpetually spurred by an open conception of the work to exercise its agility.

Text: Alexander Koch / Translation: Gerrit Jackson, Kimberly Bradley / Photos: Alexander Koch

schreibt Franz Erhard Walther programmatisch überspitzt in einer Werkzeichnung von 1966/69. Seine Arbeit wendet sich nicht (nur) an den Blick, sondern an den ganzen Körper, an alle Sinne und an die soziale Interaktion. Seine Vier Körperformen von 1963 etwa sind organisch geschnittene Stoffobjekte, die sich an verschiedene Körperpartien anlegen lassen, allein oder gemeinsam mit anderen Personen. In den Siebzigerjahren nehmen seine Installationen dann architektonische Dimensionen an: Winkel, Nischen und Schreitbahnen offerieren Standpunkte, die sich vom Publikum einnehmen lassen, es tritt in die Skulpturen hinein, wird ein Teil von ihnen. In den Neunzigerjahren entstehen u.a. die Configurations, Formproportionen, die stets auf den Körper, den ihn umgebenden Raum und die Haptik der verwendeten Stoffe bezogen bleiben.

Franz Erhard Walther, 24 Gelbe Säulen / 24 Yellow Columns, 1982, Sewn dyed cotton fabric (16 of 24 parts), Dimensions vary by installation
Franz Erhard Walther, Körperformen WEINROT / Body Shapes BORDEAUX RED, 2013, Sewn dyed cotton fabric, foam, nettle, cloth (10 parts), Dimensions vary by installation
Franz Erhard Walther, Vier Formen ZIEGELTON / Four Shapes BRICK TONE, 2008, Sewn dyed cotton fabric, foam, nettle cloth (4 parts), Dimensions vary by installation
Franz Erhard Walther, Vier Formen ZIEGELTON / Four Shapes BRICK TONE, 2008, Sewn dyed cotton fabric, foam, nettle cloth (4 parts), Dimensions vary by installation
Franz Erhard Walther, Körperformen GELB / Body Shapes YELLOW, 2012, Sewn dyed cotton fabric, foam, nettle cloth (2 parts), Dimensions vary by installation
Franz Erhard Walther, Körperformen GELB / Body Shapes YELLOW, 2012, Sewn dyed cotton fabric, foam, nettle cloth (2 parts), Dimensions vary by installation
Franz Erhard Walther, 24 Gelbe Säulen / 24 Yellow Columns, 1982, Sewn dyed cotton fabric (16 of 24 parts), Dimensions vary by installation
Franz Erhard Walther, 24 Gelbe Säulen / 24 Yellow Columns, 1982, Sewn dyed cotton fabric (16 of 24 parts), Dimensions vary by installation, detail
Franz Erhard Walther, 24 Gelbe Säulen / 24 Yellow Columns, 1982, Sewn dyed cotton fabric (16 of 24 parts), Dimensions vary by installation, detail
Franz Erhard Walther, 24 Gelbe Säulen / 24 Yellow Columns, 1982, Sewn dyed cotton fabric (16 of 24 parts), Dimensions vary by installation

Current

  • Current
  • Upcoming
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009

Current

Upcoming

2018

EL OTRO, EL MISMO / THE OTHER, THE SAME

, Los Carpinteros
Apr 28 – Jul 21, 2018

Maskirovka

, Tobias Zielony
Mar 24 – Apr 15, 2018

Double Bodies

, Frédéric Moser & Philippe Schwinger
Feb 10 – Mar 17, 2018

Hotel Rénaissance

, Ahmet Öğüt
Nov 25, 2017 – Jan 28, 2018

2017

Michael E. Smith

, Michael E. Smith
Sep 16 – Nov 5, 2017

Love Story

, Candice Breitz
Apr 29 – Jul 30, 2017

On the Possibility of Light

, Chto Delat
Feb 18 – Apr 9, 2017

On Fear and Education, Disenchantment and Justice, Protest and Disunion in Saxony / Germany

, Mario Pfeifer
Dec 1, 2016 – Apr 15, 2017

The Cabinet of Ramon Haze

Nov 19, 2016 – Jan 29, 2017

Things, Not Words

, Heinrich Dunst
Nov 19, 2016 – Jan 29, 2017

2016

Barbara Hammer & Oswald Oberhuber

, Barbara Hammer, Oswald Oberhuber
Sep 17 – Nov 6, 2016

Out Of The Dark

, Chto Delat, Alice Creischer, Eugenio Dittborn, Heinrich Dunst, Barbara Hammer, Hiwa K, Renzo Martens, Chris Martin, Frédéric Moser & Philippe Schwinger, Mario Pfeifer, Dierk Schmidt, Tina Schulz, Michael E. Smith, Franz Erhard Walther, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Tobias Zielony
Jun 26 – Jul 31, 2016

The Citizen

, Tobias Zielony
Apr 30 – Jun 12, 2016

This Lemon Tastes of Apple

, Hiwa K
Apr 30 – Jun 12, 2016

Broken Windows 6.3

, Dierk Schmidt
Mar 12 – Apr 16, 2016

Cast Behind You The Bones Of Your Mother

, Clemens von Wedemeyer
Dec 19, 2015 – Feb 27, 2016

2015

Left To Our Own Devices

Sep 17 – Dec 5, 2015

A Summer Of Films

, Chto Delat, Alice Creischer, Eugenio Dittborn, Heinrich Dunst, Barbara Hammer, Renzo Martens, Frédéric Moser & Philippe Schwinger, Mario Pfeifer, Tina Schulz, Michael E. Smith, Franz Erhard Walther, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Tobias Zielony
Jun 28 – Jul 26, 2015

Approximation In The Digital Age To A Humanity Condemned To Disappear

, Mario Pfeifer
May 2 – Jun 25, 2015

A Lucky Day

, Renzo Martens
May 2 – Jul 26, 2015

Time Capsule

, Chto Delat
Feb 28 – Apr 18, 2015

Have A Crush

, Barbara Hammer
Jan 10 – Feb 14, 2015

Dream Lovers

, Tobias Zielony
Dec 6, 2014 – Feb 14, 2015

2014

Dämmstoffe

, Heinrich Dunst
Nov 1 – Dec 18, 2014

Pinturas Aeropostales

, Eugenio Dittborn
Sep 13 – Nov 23, 2014

Cool Drink on a Hot Day

, Chris Martin
May 3 – Jul 27, 2014

In The Stomach Of The Predators

, Alice Creischer
Mar 1 – Apr 19, 2014

2013

Körperformen

, Franz Erhard Walther
Nov 30 – Feb 13, 2013

40 cbm Of Earth From The Iberian Peninsula

Sep 14 – Oct 30, 2013

, Michael E. Smith

Michael E. Smith II
Apr 27 – Jul 13, 2013

Dignity

, Barbara Hammer
Feb 16 – Apr 14, 2013

Believers

, Alice Creischer, Chto Delat, Michael E. Smith, Franz Erhard Walther, Tobias Zielony
Nov 10, 2012 – Feb 3, 2013

2012

Im Archipel

Sep 8 – Oct 21, 2012

Das Etablissement der Tatsachen The Establishment of Matters of Fact

, Alice Creischer
Apr 27 – Jul 22, 2012

Manitoba

, Tobias Zielony
Feb 3 – Apr 15, 2012

Tina Schulz

, Tina Schulz
Nov 5, 2011 – Jan 28, 2012

2011

A Formal Film In Nine Episodes, Prologue & Epilogue

, Mario Pfeifer
Sep 10 – Oct 28, 2011

Social Violence

Apr 30 – Jul 29, 2011

Barbara Hammer

, Barbara Hammer
Feb 12 – Mar 17, 2011

Franz Erhard Walther

, Franz Erhard Walther
Nov 6, 2010 – Feb 11, 2011

2010

Chris Martin

, Chris Martin
Sep 11 – Oct 24, 2010

Michael E. Smith

, Michael E. Smith
Jun 12 – Jul 25, 2010

Vele, Zgora

, Tobias Zielony
May 1 – Jun 5, 2010

The Fourth Wall

, Clemens von Wedemeyer
Jan 23 – Apr 22, 2010

Antirepresentationalism 3: Issues of Empathy Conceptual and Socially oriented Art in Leipzig 1997–2009

, Mario Pfeifer, Tina Schulz, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Tobias Zielony
Nov 28, 2009 – Jan 15, 2010

2009

Antirepresentationalism 2: Trouble with Realism. Conceptual and Socially oriented Art in Leipzig 1997–2009

, Mario Pfeifer, Tina Schulz, Clemens von Wedemeyer, Tobias Zielony
Oct 17 – Nov 21, 2009

Antirepresentationalism 1: Politics of Redescription. Conceptual and Socially oriented Art in Leipzig 1997–2009

, Mario Pfeifer, Tina Schulz, Clemens von Wedemeyer
Sep 4 – Oct 10, 2009

KOW ISSUE 5: Spirituality and Anti-Universalism

, Chris Martin
May 1 – May 30, 2009

KOW ISSUE 4: THE SOCIAL USE OF SIGNS (OBLIGATION TO EXPRESS)

, Tina Schulz
Apr 3 – Apr 27, 2009

KOW ISSUE 3: Detroits' Post-Fordism

, Michael E. Smith
Mar 27 – Mar 29, 2009

KOW ISSUE 1: Participatory Minimalism

, Franz Erhard Walther
Feb 27 – Mar 21, 2009

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