Franz Erhard Walther

*1939 in Fulda

auf dem Vulkan

Franz Erhard Walther, auf dem Vulkan, 1958 , pencil and tempera on cardboard Ludwig Forum für Internationale Kunst Aachen, loan of the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn 2021, photo: Carl Brunn

Through his Word Pictures (1957/1958), Franz Erhard Walther discovered early on, that the graphic appearance of a typeface alone conveys associations, and that it can even become the artistic content. This series focuses on individual words, the effects of which are explored in terms of form, color, and proportion. His work auf dem Vulkan repeats its title in red lettering on an orange background, positioned below the upper edge of the picture. The reduced composition and the color combination instantly evoke associations and images in the viewer’s mind: lava, eruption, heat, or danger. Only by being mentally repeated by the viewer does the word picture turn into a work of art. Depending on the viewer’s personal feelings and individual experiences, the message can be “read” in very many different ways. From the mid-1960s, Walther expanded this pure work of thought and included physical actions to which he calls on his audience. He formulates a completely new concept of the work of art, beyond the classical understanding of sculpture and painting, art that can be touched and in which one can participate.

AK