Shifting Perspectives - Streaming Festival on the work of Franz Erhard Walther

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.

Walther lets the viewers become protagonists and their actions become images. In doing so, he has become a reference for an entire generation of contemporary performative artists who declare the body to be their material and create situation-related, action-oriented, and ephemeral works of a pictorial character.

The focus is on Walther’s role as a key figure in the conceptual departure from the image and his promotion of a substantially expanded understanding of the image since the European post-war period. To what extent does Walther’s lifelong reconciliation of the purported antipodes of object and body juxtapose art with life, and does he succeed in creating spheres of circulation?

The public sphere becomes the medium for interventions through which Walther thematises its constitution and calls for non-hierarchical, equitable discourses which revolve around a more humane reality of life. What significance has his work taken on here in the past and can it take on in the present?

Elements such as the body, space, place, time, and language are Walther’s artistic means, but he also uses nettle or brightly coloured fabrics as material and innovation drivers for his activation objects. The human being becomes a body of experience in the work actions, which are based on sensitive communication and are designed as transformative events.

The aspect of process and the action are to be examined as constants within Walther’s oeuvre. The activation opens up a wide range of possibilities, which is why the appearance of the formations remains changeable—and is therefore never tangible in its simultaneity. Did Walther’s radical interweaving of work categories lead to overcoming closed spheres of presentation forms in museums? The ‘Shifting Perspectives’ Streaming Festival is intended to open up diverse perspectives on Walther’s artistic practice, which lend clarity to his media reflections of historical significance and make a future-oriented reading of his work possible.

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