To step or not to step on that black carpet: ‘The Body Decides’ (Franz Erhard Walther, Wiels, Brussels)

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Visitor participation. It takes courage. Certainly in the solemn, highbrow environment of a contemporary art museum. And however tempted I felt, I lacked that courage too, upon visiting The Body Decides (Wiels, Brussels, through May 11). It is one of the largest retrospectives to date of German artist Franz Erhard Walther, emphasizing the participation and process at the heart of his practice, bringing together key pieces from the late 1950s and early 1960s, lots of sculptural elements, drawings and photographs, and Walther’s seminal First Work Set (1963-69). Copies of 15 elements from that Work Set (there are 58 pieces in total) can be manipulated by visitors. Pictures on the wall show you how to do so. Some of those pieces can be handled by one person, others have to be manipulated in group. But it takes courage to step on that mat and unfold a piece of fabric. So come on, take your friends to Wiels, and make this somewhat sterile looking corner of this interesting exhibition come alive. Or: book your ticket for a demonstration by the artist, April 26, here. More pics after the jump.

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Store of Trial Sewn Pieces‘ (since 1969; installation view Wiels, Brussels): textile tests Franz Erhard Walther used in realizing his works. He has carefully kept each one, from 1969 to the present. PS: nót to be touched.

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Three elements from the ‘First Work Set‘ (images: courtesy Wiels, Brussels)

More info on Franz Erhard Walther on the site of his gallery, here. The official site, here, is under construction.

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