Friday, August 3, 2018

Art report / Hamburg 4

Two more pieces of art from the Hamburger Kunsthalle featuring fiber -- both very simple, little more than big pieces of fabric hanging flat against the wall.

Franz Erhard Walther, Three Wall Pedestals, 1980-1 (detail below)

Well, this has a little bit extra added onto the big pieces of canvas, with extensions that are arranged on the floor, and on two of the pieces, to the top and sides.  The left-hand and central panels have strapped pockets at floor level, the right-hand panel has some kind of extra fabric-covered plane standing an inch out from the wall.

I wasn't sure what to think of this piece; perhaps I was confused by the translation.  The card on the wall translated Drei Wandsockel as "Three Wall Pedestals" -- but what's a wall pedestal?  Google translate gave me "Wall Sockets," but where would you plug something in? 

I asked my German friend for clarification, and didn't get much.  She wrote me back: "A Sockel is some construction on which you can present something, typically it would be a statue on a Sockel.  Probably fixed to it, and when upheaval is on, statues are pushed off the Sockel, or if you lose confidence into an idol you push that idol from a (metaphorical) sockel.  So Karl Marx was pushed off the Sockel in East Germany after 1989 a number of times. A Wandsockel would normally be some Sockel fixed to the wall with something fixed onto it, but it is not a typical German word. With the photo illustration I would think it is giving the construction a name so it is not 'no title'."

So I remain mildly impressed, by the size of the work and the technical excellence of construction (although I bet he didn't do the sewing himself), but puzzled about the meaning -- I didn't get much out of it.

I was much more taken by these two works by Sara Sizer.  Although the velvet panels look like creased pieces of fabric dramatically shadowed in oblique light, they're actually stretched and perfectly flat -- the patterning is done with bleach discharge.

Sara Sizer, Scarlet, 2017 (detail below)

Sara Sizer, Please, 2017

Having done a fair amount of bleach discharge in my artistic career, I was transfixed by these pieces -- how on earth did she achieve that photo-perfect image?  A fruitless google expedition provided no answers (note to artists -- I sure wish you would put a word or two onto your website alongside the ravishing photos).


  1. I can only echo your last comment! Though I love looking at other people’s work, those sites which do give some explanation are so much more enlightening - and can be very useful.

  2. Perhaps "plinth" would be a more accurate translation.