august walla: food passion
From March 10 to June 12, 2022, August Walla is on the spotlight at the gugging gallery.
The gugging gallery is currently devoting an exhibition to the Austrian artist and his passion for food. Mellitius ! august walla: food passion presents not only drawings with culinary content but also two works created ‘accidentally’: his tablecloths. These objects, created by the Austrian artist on his bedroom table in the Artists’ House over the years, are shown to the public for the first time.
His works are complemented by other food-inspired works by his Gugging Artist colleagues: Alois Fischbach, Helmut Hladisch, Heinrich Reisenbauer, Günther Schützenhöfer and Oswald Tschirtner.
Curated by Nina Katschnig.
After a troubled childhood and a turbulent adolescence, August Walla was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was finally admitted - along with his mother - to the Gugging hospital, near Vienna, in 1970. Resident of the Haus der Künstler (house of artists), he will remain there for the rest of his life. Expressing himself through photography, installation, diversion of objects and typing of manifestos, writing and drawing have become inseparable in his work. A key figure in art brut, collected by David Bowie, Walla is present in a number of collections around the world, including those of the MoMa (New York) or the Milwaukee Art Museum (Wisconsin).
Born in 1938 in Kirchau (Austria), Reisenbauer arrived at the Gugging when, shortly after his years in high school, he was diagnosed with psychosis. After 30 years of hospitalization in a pavilion for chronic illness, he was invited, in 1986, to come live at the Gugging House of Artists near Vienna. His drawings, most often small and drawn with black and colored pencils, invariably offer an almost serigraphic repetition of a subject that varies in miniscule details. He displays the same obsessive concern for order and balance in the most trivial daily tasks. Thus, when he is charged with the distribution of fruit to the residents of the Maison, the exercise is transformed into a veritable[…]
O.T. - as he signed - was an emblematic artist of the Gugging hospital, where he was interned because of the psychosis he began to suffer upon returning from the siege of Stalingrad. His drawings, antitheses of the horror vacui, are characterized by their minimalism, the purity, the economy of means and effects, the sense of balance and space. Admired by Michel Thévoz, who devoted several feature articles to him, he also fascinated David Bowie and Brian Eno, who met and collected him. His works can be found in countless collections, such as those of Arnulf Rainer (Austria), abcd/Bruno Decharme (France) or the Pinacothèque Hervé Lancelin (Luxembourg).
Helmut Hladisch, born in Vienna in 1961, mainly depicts in his drawings the things that surround him, everyday objects. Objects that he pushes to such a point of abstraction that, unrecognizable, they can barely be made out once transformed. His works, plentifully bestrewn with lines, offer a welcoming surface for the eye of the beholder. With his penciled lines, Hladisch creates images with fanciful perspectives that give the impression that these mysterious objects are breathing.