Saturday, September 29, 2012

adolf wolfli again ... late in life, after about thirty years in the asylum, with one of the paper trumpets for which so much of his music was written

On the Adolf Wolfli Foundation's website, it says ...

At the beginning of the twentieth century, Adolf Wölfli, a former farmhand and laborer, produced a monumental, 25,000-page illustrated narrative in Waldau, a mental asylum near Bern, Switzerland. Through a complex web of texts, drawings, collages and musical compositions, Wölfli constructed a new history of his childhood and a glorious future with its own personal mythology.

The French Surrealist André Breton described his work as "one of the three or four most important oeuveres of the twentieth century".  Since 1975, our aim is to make Adolf Wölfli's work known through one-man and group exhibitions as well as publications.

Wölfli's imaginary autobiography and one-person utopia starts with „From the Cradle to the Grave“ (1908-1912). In 3,000 pages, Wölfli turns his dramatic and miserable childhood into a magnificent travelog. He relates how as a child named Doufi, he traveled „more or less around the entire world,“ accompanied by the „Swiss Hunters and Nature Explorers Taveling Society.“ The narrative is lavishly illustrated with drawings of fictitious maps, portraits, palaces, cellars, churches, kings, queens, snakes, speaking plants, etc.

In the second part of the writings, the „Geographic and Algebraic Books“, Wölfli describes how to build the future „Saint Adolf-Giant-Creation“: a huge „capital fortune“ will allow to purchase, rename, urbanize, and appropriate the planet and finally the entire cosmos. In 1916 this narrative reaches a climax as Wölfli dubs himself St. Adolf II.

In the subsequent „Books with Songs and Dances“ (1917-1922) and „Album Books with Dances and Marches“ (1924-1928), Wölfli celebrates his „Saint Adolf-Giant-Creation“ for thousands of additional pages, in sound poetry, songs, musical scales (do, re, mi, fa...), drawings, and collages. 

In 1928 he starts with the „Funeral March,“ the fifth and final part of his great imaginary autobiography. In over 8,000 pages he recapitulates central motifs of his world system in the reduced form of keywords and collages, weaving them into a infinite tapestry of sounds and pictures, a fascinating requiem ending only with his death in 1930.

As a mulitple outsider, Wölfli used the world as a quarry for constructing a complex mental edifice complete unto itself. The „Saint Adolf-Giant-Creation“ was both a kind of wish-fulfillment machine and the result of his obstinate reception and reproduction of turn-of-the-century ideas, values and phantasies. Wölfli created a body of work that was part of its age in terms of content, yet clearly alien to that age's conventions.

and from wikipedia ...

"Every Monday morning Wölfli is given a new pencil and two large sheets of unprinted newsprint. The pencil is used up in two days; then he has to make do with the stubs he has saved or with whatever he can beg off someone else. He often writes with pieces only five to seven millimetres long and even with the broken-off points of lead, which he handles deftly, holding them between his fingernails. He carefully collects packing paper and any other paper he can get from the guards and patients in his area; otherwise he would run out of paper before the next Sunday night. At Christmas the house gives him a box of coloured pencils, which lasts him two or three weeks at the most."

etc etc

goya ... the prado's own goya site is getting started

this'll do, but ...

i'm sure i've seen a similar drawing, of a giant cat reading a book, maybe at a table in a bar, but i can't track it down at the moment

Saturday, September 22, 2012

bae joonsung in the korean exhibition at the saatchi

a prolific korean artist who overlays multiple photographic and hand painted images behind a lenticular screen

as you walk past the painting so whole figures appear and disappear and are transformed within one coherent picture space

... and there was another one ...

up close, you can smell the turpentine

Friday, September 21, 2012

Adolf Wölfli

i've only just become aware of

Adolf Wölfli

since we saw two of his large coloured drawings in the "maps of the mind" exhibition at the caixa forum art museum in barcelona

not the kind of man you'd want to be let out of the asylum, ever, but an inspired and fascinating "driven" artist