new-york

View of “Franz Erhard Walther,” 2013.

Franz Erhard Walther

Peter Freeman, Inc.

View of “Franz Erhard Walther,” 2013.

The first thing to greet viewers in this exhibition was an imposing gallery wall, appended to which was Franz Erhard Walther’s Vier Körperformen (Four Body Shapes), 1963, made when he was still a student at Kunst-akademie Düsseldorf and had just begun to work with fabric. Each of the work’s four parts, which are crafted from sewed and stuffed canvas and resemble sea creatures’ limbs, was mounted to one of the wall’s four corners, with plenty of space between them. Walther intended for viewers to hold these objects or attach them, like prosthetic pillows, somewhere on their bodies; they could then interact with other viewers, who could wear other forms or else participate in the wearing of the first and thus create a new social or psychological space. The shapes themselves are not the work; the work is complete only when a viewer makes him- or herself part of it and perhaps interacts

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