Yellow Sculpture, 1969/79, Franz Erhard Walther. Shifting Perspectives, Installation view, Activation, Haus der Kunst, 2020, Photo: Maximilian Geuter © VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2020

Shifting Perspectives – Streaming Festival dedicated to the Work of Franz Erhard Walther

Online with HDK LIVE,

Practical information

Online with HDK LIVE in German and English
No reservation required
Free Admission

Event overview

On the occasion of the retrospective Shifting Perspectives, Haus der Kunst, in cooperation with the Franz Erhard Walther Foundation, is dedicating an all-day streaming festival to the artist’s oeuvre, which spans altogether six decades. Live activations of historical works, an artist talk, interviews with collaborators, and two panel discussions with scholars and curators will explore the historical and contemporary relevance of his work. More

Watch the Streaming Festival online in our live stream on our website and on Facebook. 

Programme (PDF Download)

10 am: Welcome
Andrea Lissoni, Artistic Director, Haus der Kunst
Susanne Walther, Chairwoman, Franz Erhard Walther Foundation
Erik Verhagen, Professor for Contemporary Art History, Université polytechnique Hauts-de-France, Valenciennes 

Jana Baumann, Senior Curator, Haus der Kunst

10.30 am Artist Talk
Franz Erhard Walther in conversation with Jana Baumann

The joint review of Franz Erhard Walther’s artistic oeuvre will focus on the intertwining of media connections – the core of his artistic practice. The shift from the representation of the image to the presence of the body, from seeing to feeling, will be discussed.

11.15 am: Panel I 
Image as Action: Transforming Life Processes into the Visual

Moderated by Catherine Wood, Senior Curator International Art (Performance), Tate Modern, London
Gregor Quack, PhD Candidate, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
The Artist’s Image of Society: Textile Social Theory in the Work of Franz Erhard Walther
Gaëtane Verna, Director, The Power Plant, Toronto
Franz Erhard Walther: A Call for Action

The body has always served Franz Erhard Walther as a medium, but the question arises as to how far physical action leads to the living being actually becoming an image. From the fabric as material, Walther derived a new forming power, which unfolds in the course of the activation of the objects and triggers a broad spectrum of thought, perception, and emotional processes.

Here, the human being becomes a body of experience – but what social or political function is inscribed in him, her or their? Both the historical and current relevance of Walther’s work in the art historical as well as socio-political context of participation, co-determination, and self-responsibility will be addressed.

12.30 pm: Six Theses à Five Minutes: PhD Candidates on the Work of Franz Erhard Walther 
Luisa Pauline Fink, Freie Universität Berlin
Dieter Groll, University of Bonn
Anne Simone Krüger, Universität Hamburg
Sarah Lorbeer, Ruhr-University Bochum
Gregor Quack, Yale University 
Lucia Schreyer, Freie Universität Berlin

1 pm: Activation of Yellow Sculpture (1969/79), The New Alphabet / Form Z (1991), and further works from the exhibition
Yellow Sculpture is the prototype for the Wall Formations, Walther’s most comprehensive series of works. Since the artist develops elements that can be worn or entered, the body becomes a module and means of representation.

Language serves Walther as the material from which he derived the textile wall and floor sculpture Form Z. The activatable sculptural letter becomes a form of action, and the viewer becomes a user.

2 pm: Conversation
Susanne Walther, Chairwoman, Franz Erhard Walther Foundation,
and Johanna Walther, textile engineer and long-term collaborator of Franz Erhard Walther

Since 1963, Johanna Walther has been working closely with Franz Erhard Walther to produce his sewn works. Similarly, Susanne Walther has been closely associated with the artist’s work since 1996 in her capacity as coordinator of the realisation of exhibitions and as Chairwoman of the Franz Erhard Walther Foundation (since 2007). The contributions of his companions are to become tangible in their central significance for the history of his work.

2.45 pm: Panel II 
Generative Praxis: Medial Entanglements as Artistic Expansion
Moderated by Erik Verhagen, Professor for Contemporary Art History, Université polytechnique Hauts-de-France, Valenciennes
Yasmil Raymond, Rector, Hochschule für Bildende Künste–Städelschule
Franz Erhard Walther: Drawing Up a Common Ground
Gregory Williams, Associate Professor for Contemporary and Modern Art, Boston University
Practice Situations: Franz Erhard Walther and the Framing of Action
Christian Rattemeyer, former director, SculptureCenter, New York 
Franz Erhard Walther: Sculpture into Painting

Walther’s radical work ideas are visualised through a variety of conceptual strategies. The sculptural – and at the same time pictorial – ambiguous figures manifest an imaginative counterpart to the image. What does this mean for the triad of object, image, and representation, and what new networks of relationships between producer, work, and recipient has Walther initiated?

Walther’s interweaving of painting, sculpture, and architecture, as it becomes tangible in the Wall Formations, for example, and their activation open up unknown artistic potentialities in the field of tension between organism and image. Walther’s transformations of media categories, as well as conventionalised ways of looking at art and an institutionalised exhibition space, are the focus of the discussion.

4.15 pm: Q & A with Franz Erhard Walther

5 pmActivation of Mantelstahlstück (1969) with Lehmann Walther
With the activation of Mantelstahlstück (Coat-Steel Piece) by the artist’s son, Lehmann Walther, a unique connection between body and object is created. Movements are slow due to the steel plates in the jacket pockets, which, during activation, are thrown onto the steel plates placed on the floor. For Walther, deceleration, like the sheathing, is a tool for a ‚plastic modeling‘ of the body in its relation to space.

5.30 pm: End

The event is a cooperation between Haus der Kunst and the Franz Erhard Walther Foundation.