Franz Erhard Walther: The Body Draws and Pae White: Command-Shift-4

Franz Erhard Walther: The Body Draws and Pae White: Command-Shift-4

Henry Art Gallery at University of Washington

Franz Erhard Walther, Sehkanal (with body weight and exertion exposing one’s opposite number to one’s gaze—sight channel), 1968. Element #46 of the series 1.Werksatz,” 1968. Green fabric, 30 x 740 x 20 cm. Courtesy of Galerie Jocelyn Wolff. Photo: Timm Rautert. © Franz Erhard Walther Foundation, Timm Rautert.
October 22, 2015
Franz Erhard Walther: The Body Draws and Pae White: Command-Shift-4

Press preview: October 29, 3:30pm
Open house:
October 29, 7:30pm

Henry Art Gallery
University of Washington
15th Ave NE & NE 41st St.
Seattle, WA 98195
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Franz Erhard Walther: The Body Draws
October 31, 2015–March 6, 2016

The first major American survey of work by Franz Erhard Walther premieres October 31 at the Henry. With nearly 300 works produced from 1957 to the present, the exhibition will include sculptures, drawings, archival documents, and film, illuminating the significance of drawing—in its most expanded sense—to the artist’s practice.

The exhibition features pivotal artworks produced over the last six decades, including many pieces that have never been previously shown in the United States. The 1. Werksatz (First Work Set) (1963–69), Walther’s most celebrated and recognized work, is a central part of The Body Draws. The piece, composed of 58 participatory elements, is intimately related to hundreds of drawings created in response to the work.

Walther’s early works on paper (late 1950s and 1960s) show the artist’s conceptual and physical manipulation of material and medium. His earliest works in the exhibition—the Wortbilder (1957–58), rendered in tempera on paper—focus on the physical expanse of paper and the performative quality of letters and language. By the 1960s, Walther was experimenting with paper as material and finished work rather than as a support. His 16 Lufteinschlusse (1968) were made by affixing large pieces of paper to the wall and creating air pockets that generated unexpected forms. He considered the work to be at once drawing, action, and sculpture.

In the 1980s, Walther turned to institutional architecture as a framework to explore other forms, modulation, and proportion. These works, often presented in massive in scale or in discreet arrangements and configurations, play off the proportions of the buildings or galleries where they are installed.

Walther’s most recent work revisits his entire oeuvre in the form of exquisitely rendered drawings that act as both visual record of past events and as finished independent objects. Over time, the artist has used drawing to “reclaim” previous work and to help produce new generations of related pieces, including Dust of Stars: A Drawn Novel, a massive 524-page compendium of pencil drawings and handwritten texts. Selected drawings from the book will be on view.

Throughout the duration of exhibition, daily activations of the artworks are planned.

Recent solo exhibitions include Franz Erhard Walther, MUDAM, Luxembourg (2015); Franz Erhard Walther: The Body Decides, WIELS Centre d’art contemporain, Brussels (2014) and CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, France (2014); and Franz Erhard Walther: Work as Action, Dia Art Foundation, New York (2010–12).

Franz Erhard Walther: The Body Draws is organized by Deputy Director of Exhibitions, Collections, and Programs Luis Croquer. Major support is provided by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation; The Boeing Company; the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Culture; and ArtsFund. The exhibition is also made possible by generous support from Robin Wright, and Charlie and Barbara Wright. It is additionally supported through gifts made to the Henry Now Campaign by the Barton Family Foundation in memory of Irving Marcus; Cathy and Michael Casteel; the Jon and Mary Shirley Foundation; William and Ruth True; and the Bagley and Virginia Wright Fund.

Pae White: Command-Shift-4
October 24, 2015–January 24, 2016

In Command-Shift-4, Pae White engages architectural space as her material, reimagining the open volume of the Henry’s large Gwathmey-Siegel designed gallery. Painted graphics and a matrix of multi-colored acrylic yarn attached to walls, the ceiling, and the floor create a three-dimensional drawing for visitors to navigate both visually and physically.

Known for working across the fields of fine and applied arts, architecture, and design, White found inspiration for Command-Shift-4 in the buildings at The Sea Ranch, a visionary housing development on the coast of northern California, first designed in 1963. At the Henry, White reinterprets spatial qualities of the community’s early structures, which were characterized by austere exteriors opening into animated interiors of layered volumes, and supergraphics—bold, colorful geometric shapes and letterforms painted across built surfaces—enlivening the experience of enclosed space and creating optical ambiguities that confound the physical limits of the architecture.

White’s work often tells a story of its making, and here the title Command-Shift-4 refers to an image-capture function on a Mac computer that White regularly used during her online research of The Sea Ranch.

Pae White (b. 1963, U.S.) is a Los Angeles-based artist who has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and internationally. Read as a type of deconstructed textile, Command Shift-4 expands upon a technique White previously explored in text-based supergraphic projects at The Fabric Workshop and Museum, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2012) and the South London Gallery (2013). White was also included as part of the 2009 Venice Biennale and 2010 Whitney Biennial.

Pae White: Command-Shift-4 is organized by Nina Bozicnik, Assistant Curator, with project management by Susan Lewandowski, Manager of Exhibitions and Registration. The exhibition is generously supported by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, ArtsFund, and The Boeing Company.


Also on view:
Body Parts
October 17, 2015–February 07, 2016


About the Henry
A museum of contemporary art and ideas, Henry Art Gallery offers access to provocative and groundbreaking exhibitions by an international roster of emerging and mid-career artists of note. We are known for taking risks and for allowing space for uncertain outcome and unexpected connections. The only museum dedicated to contemporary art in our region, we anticipate the conversations and opinions that will be important and relevant in the field. The Henry offers a platform for daring new ideas and experiences in contemporary art and culture.

For further information and image requests, please contact [email protected].

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October 22, 2015

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