• Franz Erhard Walther, Element No. 5: Elfmeterbahn, 1964, cotton. Installation view, Kunsthalle Düsseldorf, 1969. From the series “1.Werksatz” (First Works Set), 1963–69. Photo: Timm Rautert.

    “Franz Erhard Walther: The Body Decides”

    WIELS Contemporary Art Centre
    Avenue Van Volxemlaan 354
    February 21–May 11

    Curated by Elena Filipovic

    Franz Erhard Walther’s 1960s work with the body hasn’t received the same critical attention as that of Chris Burden or Bruce Nauman, perhaps because it never engaged issues of popular culture. What’s more, Walther himself was seldom the protagonist. Instead, he choreographed other bodies in scenarios akin to the experimental dance of Trisha Brown and Yvonne Rainer. And his sensibility is emphatically European, the photographs of these performances recalling the brooding existentialist films of Ingmar Bergman. Walther’s work eerily evokes the diametrically opposed experiences of phenomenological awareness and Foucauldian control. With his turn to creating large, static, richly colored structures in the 1970s, Walther extended the concerns of twentieth-century Neo-Plasticism, his approach surprisingly similar to those of Lygia Clark and Hélio Oiticica. The entire range of his output will be represented in this survey, which spans nearly sixty years. Travels to CAPC Musée d’Art Contemporain Bordeaux, Nov. 2014–Feb. 2015.