Sockel. Vier Körper (Nr. 49, 1. Werksatz)
/// 1968 /// Participative Installation
/// Franz Erhard Walther

After Happening and Fluxus it was Franz Erhard Walther who was, historically, most clearly influential in the realization of the transformation from viewer to design or user. With the 1st series between 1963 and 1969, an ensemble of textile objects emerged which placed the viewer in given situations of action of hitherto non-existent situations and invited him to concrete usage and analysis. This is also the case with the work Sockel. Vier Körper (Nr. 49, 1. Werksatz): this challenges the visitor to climb into footholds at the corners of the square cloth and to form a communicative sculpture together in the allotted time. The emerging “object” replaces the function of the base as a static block for the elevation of a similarly static work of art, by a changeable, malleable process. Processes of sensual perception as well as communication consistently inform the core of Walther’s work actions and work presentations. Opposed to the notion of the autonomous work, the artist pursues the fundamental idea of “constructing a work by action” thereby shifting the focus to the reception of a work of art: the viewer becomes a responsible acteur in space and time and thus to a potential user and designer of aesthetic formation. The concept of the user was the focus of his artistic practice already in the book Objekte, benutzen (1968). Walther’s notion of art follows the idea of the authorization of the recipient as producer, whereby the actual piece of work remains immaterial.

Franz Erhard Walther (*1939 in Fulda) lives and works as a sculptor and concept-, installation and process artist in Halstenbeck. Studies at the Werkkunstschule in Offenbach/Main (School of Arts and Crafts). Studies at the Academy of Fine Arts Frankfurt/Main, from 1959 where, following a dispute with the professor of the class, he was sent down in 1961. Studies at the State Academy of Art Düsseldorf under Karl Otto Götz (1962 to 1964). Walther resided in New York from 1967 to 1971. Professor for sculpture at the Academy of Fine Art Hamburg from 1971 to 2005. He was appointed by the Academy of Fine Arts Frankfurt/Main, in 1984, revoked one year later following irreconcilable ideas on questions relating to instruction. Belonging to his Hamburg students are, among others, Lili Fischer and Jonathan Meese.


Franz Erhard Walther, Sockel. Vier Körper (Nr. 49, 1. Werksatz), 1968, participative Installation, material, material sack, measurement ca. 2 x 2 m, loaned by the artist