Franz Erhard Walther

CAPC Contemporary Art Museum Bordeaux

Franz Erhard Walther, Sehkanal (First Work Set,
element # 46)
, 1968. Courtesy The Franz Erhard
Walther Foundation and Dia Art Foundation, New
York. Photo: Paula Court, 2011.

November 14, 2014

Franz Erhard Walther
The Body Decides

November 13, 2014–March 8, 2015

musée d’art contemporain
de Bordeaux

Covering 2,000 square meters and spread across the vast nave and additional spaces of the institution, Franz Erhard Walther: Le Corps décide / The Body Decides is the largest presentation in France of a remarkable oeuvre that lies at the crossroads of minimalist sculpture, conceptual art, abstract painting and performance. Bringing together more than 200 works produced between 1957 and 2014, the exhibition focuses on the ways in which the artist has redefined the relationship between sculpture and action, architecture and representation.

These sculptural propositions focus on the production of elementary forms combined with conceptual speculations, radically rethinking the relation between sculpture and action. His forms in fabric—resulting from a praxis developed in the 1960s when Walther was still a student—made the visitor an active participant in the action oeuvre. These place visitors at a threshold, at once in front of, inside, and even, literally, part of the work. His 1.Werksatz (First Work Set, 1963–1969), composed of 58 sewn, padded, and folded fabric elements, introduces the crucial notions of interaction and use, either through action or imagination. The artist describes them, incidentally, as “instruments of process.” And, as he explains, “This moment of manipulation and action—in its capacity as a component element of the work or as the work itself—has become a main theme. The basic idea is to construct a work based on action.”

The exhibition thus highlights the artist’s thoughts about what a work of art can trigger in the viewer beyond what it merely is—materially or visually. For Walther, it is up to the visitor to activate the potential of the work, by giving shape to it and determining its form. Through the presentation of more than 200 historic and more recent pieces, as well as photographic documentation, Walther’s solo show at the CAPC importantly draws the visitor’s attention to a typology of art objects that gives the public a responsibility in the actual creation of the work. These objects of use—as they are defined by the artist—invite activation by the public, accordingly demonstrating that the artist and the visitor can share in the shaping of a form as a demanding but generous artistic experience.

Co-curators of the exhibition
Elena Filipovic, WIELS Centre d’Art Contemporain, Brussels and Alexis Vaillant, CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux

Franz Erhard Walther: Le Corps décide (The Body Decides) is an exhibition initiated by WIELS, Brussels and co-produced with the CAPC musée d’art contemporain de Bordeaux, in collaboration with The Franz Erhard Walther Foundation.

Curated Cinema 
February 7–8, 2015, 2–6pm
Cinematographic sequences at the basis of Franz Erhard Walther’s work
In collaboration with Goethe-Institut, Bordeaux

A full color, richly illustrated pop-up book in English accompanies the exhibition with historic texts by Franz Erhard Walther, a chronology of the artist’s life and work, an essay by the curator, and a newly commissioned interview with the artist and art historian Erik Verhagen. 

The publication is produced by WIELS and the CAPC, in association with The Franz Erhard Walther Foundation and König Books, London.

Upcoming exhibitions
Ce Qui Ne Sert Pas S’oublie
January 22, 2015–May 3, 2015
Curator: Catalina Lozano

Harun Farocki
L’écran: Entre Ici Et Ailleurs
January 22, 2015–March 1, 2015
Curator: Anne-Sophie Dinant

Vandy Rattana
Enter The Stream At The Turn #1
January 22, 2015–May 3, 2015
Curator: Erin Gleeson
In co-production with le Jeu de Paume, Paris

Blaise Mercier / Karine Daviaud
T +33 (0) 5 56 00 81 70 / +33 (0) 6 71 12 79 48 / b.mercier [​at​] / 
k.daviaud [​at​]

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CAPC Contemporary Art Museum Bordeaux
November 14, 2014

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