FRANZ-EHRHARD WALTHER

born in 1939 in Fulda, Germany.
Lives and works near Hamburg.


Site for Enghien,1979/1998
the person who stands on this sheet becomes a sculpture
(photography Q.Bertoux)

Site for Enghien
Much of Franz-Erhard Walther's work entails a simple, playful form of spectator involvement. More precisely, the work is there to be played, worn, moved, carried, lifted or whatever, depending on the circumstances. Once people are physically involved, they cease to be spectators and become sculptures. For Walther, this does not mean that the person/sculpture becomes an object; on the contrary, they remain a subject, just as the work comes alive and is given bodily form. There are several ways of achieving this, depending on whether the work is in cloth or metal, inside (usually in a museum or gallery) or outside. Sometimes it is designed for one person at a time, sometimes several people are needed. The notion of the pedestal is decisive here: the person entering the proposed space of the work stands on or in it, as on a pedestal. That person has crossed a threshold and is no longer in an ordinary context. When they put on a piece of clothing hanging on a wall of the same colour and begin to walk, when they stand on a metal plate laid on the floor and look around them, they are in a situation that is artistic. The degree to which they are aware of this modification is not important. Their behaviour, the way one moves and thinks (situates oneself) in relation to the people and things around one, is influenced by this involvement in the work. By the constraints it imposes, or by its arbitrariness, the new situation relativises the usual context. That is where the element of play comes in, that random and unpredictable dimension that is open to the world.

Description : metal sheets ("Stride Tracks") 200 cm long and 36 cm wide with, along one side, a ridge against which visitors place their heels, and which indicates the direction. These plates are placed directly on the ground.

Localisation : in the park facing the like, opposite no.