Franz Erhard Walther is an influential German artist, active since the early 1960s. His works explore the relationship between space and individuals and how people interact in specific conditions. The use of peculiar tools, such as simple fabric elements of metal sheets, – “instruments for process” as he calls them -, constrains such interactions, depriving them of any kind of spontaneity.
Walther’s installations take the shape of minimal rules of occupations of a space, defining limits, distances, directions and thus staging forced interactions.
The works usually require the spectator to participate, but the apparent freedom that is offered to the public, (as: to touch the art-works, to use them…), is actually an acceptance of the rules and the constrictions the tools provide. The spectator is able to perform, but his physical movements are limited by the bonds embodied by the fabric ot metallic devices set by the artist.
During Walther’s career, the simple fabric elements have evolved into more complex objects, either resembling proper clothes or becoming flexible sculptures in the shape of large cushions. The research hasn’t deviated its course: it still involves the space of the body and the possibility of relating to art objects which are not static shapes to contemplate but tools, constrictive rules in the form of compelling structures.