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PETER FREEMAN, INC. 140 GRAND STREET NEW YORK NEW YORK 10013
212 966 5154 / fax: 212 966 5349
exhibition: Franz Erhard Walther
date: 31 October – 20 December 2013
Peter Freeman, Inc., New York, is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by German artist Franz
Erhard Walther. It is the gallery’s second solo show with Walther, and is the artist’s first exhibition of new
work presented in New York in 22 years.
Walther is widely recognized as an originator of participatory art. Since the 1960s, he has conceived of his
canvas sculptures as “instruments,” and has placed the viewer in a critical role: only when the objects are
used, in ways appointed by the artist, are they completed. Unlike many other artists following his lead in
creating sculptures for the viewer to handle and animate, Walther is not motivated by spectacle, humor, or
the nature of performance, but rather the meditative and contemplative possibilities of the experience.
The new works on view are from the recent series Körperformen
(Body Shapes), dating from 2006 to 2013,
and relate to the Werksatz
drawings as well as to Vier Körperformen
(1963), also on view, a reminder of
the origins of, and the artist’s long engagement with, themes of sculptural/bodily interaction. The new Body
, made of dyed canvas sewn around foam shapes, are composed of four, six and eight elements,
allowing for multiple installations adaptive to the exhibition space. In that sense, they broaden the scope of
the work beyond the body into spatial installation and the sculptures’ relation to one another, with potentially
infinite resulting sculptural situations. Another important development in the new work is that the
deliberately stiff and solid nature of these sculptures reduces physical manipulation–the imagination now
participating in what the artist has long called the “action process” of the viewer’s role. The exhibition is
completed with a group of 28 new drawings made in 2013, part of a larger series that will feature in
Walther’s upcoming artist’s book to be published by Hatje Cantz in 2014.
Walther was born in 1939 in Fulda, Germany, where he now lives and works. He studied at the
Städelschule Frankfurt and continued studies at the Düsseldorf Academy in the early 1960s with Karl Otto
Götz. Walther soon gained recognition for his own experimental sculpture and was included in important
group exhibitions such as When Attitudes Become Form
(1969, curated by Harald Szeeman at Kunsthalle
Bern, recreated for the 2013 Venice Biennale) and SPACES (1969-70, Museum of Modern Art, New York)
and participated in documenta
four times between 1972 and 1987 (Kassel, Germany). Recently, his work
was included in the 2012 São Paulo Biennale
. Walther has had more than 50 one-person museum shows
at venues including Secession, Vienna (1989); Musée d’Art Moderne et Contemporain, Geneva (1999 and
2010), DIA: Beacon, New York (2010), and Hamburger Kunsthalle (2013). His work is in many important
public collections, including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Hamburger Kunsthalle; Kunstmuseum Bonn; Museum
of Modern Art, New York; and Staatsgalerie Stuttgart. His work will be featured in several upcoming shows
internationally, including a solo show at WIELS Centre d’Art Contemporain in Brussels (2014).
A reception for the artist will be held on Thursday, 31 October, from 6 to 8 pm.
For reproduction requests, interviews with the artist and general inquiries, please contact the gallery at
212-966-5154 or firstname.lastname@example.org.