Franz Erhard Walther, installation view with Body Shapes (Ochre, Four Elements), 2011; Body Shapes (Burnt Umber, Eight Elements), 2013; Body Shapes (Brick Tone, Eight Elements), 2013; and Body Shapes (Light Brown, Eight Elements), 2012. Sewn, dyed canvas, nettle cloth, and foam, dimensions variable.

Franz Erhard Walther

New York

Peter Freeman, Inc.

I first discovered Franz Erhard Wal­ther’s work in a copy of Avalanche magazine at a newsstand in Harvard Square in 1972. Black and white photographs of Werksatz (1963–69) revealed his use of fabric as a medium to make sculpture. The sewn shapes invited viewers to enter into their folds and pockets—to become participants, and in the process, to discover a totally interactive spatial physicality involving one, two, or three others. At the time, this idea was entirely new to me. I was aware of Happenings and Fluxus events, but Walther’s work seemed to function on another, more structural level involving individual body and mind coordinates while working in relation to others. I could only imagine that the experience of inhabiting these fabric shapes would be not only physically frustrating, but also psychologically intense and strangely satisfying. Since the outset of his career, Walther has had more than a hundred solo exhibitions in Europe and the U.S.…see the entire review in the print version of October’s Sculpture magazine.

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