Franz Erhard Walther

Standstelle und Gelbe Säule, 1981
coton, wood, 235 x 160 x 40 cm, 2 pieces

Zentriert, 1965 / Über Arm, 1967
Kope zu Kopf über Kopf, 1967 / Kopf Leib Glieder, 1967

28 Standstellen Zeichnung, 1967 / Ort Zeit Innen Aussen, 1967
Kreuz Bewegungsraum, 1967 / Rahmen Wege, 1967

Proportionen und Zeit, 1967 / Ort Feld, 50 x 50 m, 1967
Strecke Gewicht Form, 1968 / Auge modelliert, 1968

Straight Line Semi Circle, same length, 1975

Mass Messung, 1967 / Plastik-5 Stufen, 1967
Kurz vor der Dämmerung, 1967 / Argument, 1967

Ausgangpunkt und Wege, 1969 / Rede, 1969
Plastische Behauptung, 1969 / Positionen, 1969

Plastische Rede, 1983
coton, wood, 365 x 470 x 40 cm, 6 pieces

all images courtesy of FRANZ EHRARD WALTHER and Kunstverein Braunschweig

Since the early 1960s, German artist FRANZ ERHARD WALTHER has created objects or ‘instruments‘ out of fabric that people could manipulate to increase their awareness of time, space and the human body. His work is therefore not an autonomous, independent work; it becomes a tool that invites the viewer to become its user. If the viewer accepts the invitation, a sculpture arises in the interaction between user and object.

In 1963 while a student at the Staatliche Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf, WALTHER began fabricating simple forms made from muslin and Styrofoam, which were stacked, folded, and wrapped: This moment of manipulation, and then action as a component of the work, or as the work itself, became the main theme. The decisive fundamental idea was to build up an œuvre from action.

Consisting of 58 fabric elements or “instruments for process” (the artist’s term) made from thick cotton in an array of earth tones, the First Work Set (1963-1969) invites visitors to volunteer in a two-fold activity, to become both subject and object and to engage in actions as individuals and with others, highlighting how much art in general depends upon the cooperation of the viewer. His rise to fame begins!

The rediscovery of FRANZ ERHARD WALTHER began in the mid-nineties. But it’s only since 2010 that he has important retrospectives and exhibitions: last year, Berlin gallery Koch Oberhuber Wolff presented a major exhibition of the artist’s work. In 2010, he had a solo exhibition entitled Der Gesang der Schreitbahnen at Kunstmuseum Luzern, and one entitled De l’origine de la sculpture, 1958-2009 at Mamco, Geneva. The Dia Art Foundation in Beacon, New York presented Franz Erhard Walther: Work as Action in 2011 and has planned two programs dedicated to his work for this year.

And – good news –  the Museum Haus Lange, Krefeld is currently presenting the exhibition Sternenstaub with approximately 500 drawn and written sheets from the years 1943 to 1973, on view until February 5th, 2012.

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