Roman Signer, X Aktion, 2009, photograph. Courtesy: Hauser & Wirth
23 March – 28 April 2012 Preview: Thursday 22 March 5:30-7:30
Holly Antrum / Becky Beasley / Billy Childish / Robert Ellis / Catrin Huber / Sophie Macpherson / Jeremy Millar / Arnaud Moinet / Francesco Pedraglio / Roman Signer / Sylvia Vögel
‘Apropos the Kissing of a Hand’ forefronts the Festival Robert Walser. The exhibition at Vane consists of the work of eleven national and international artists who share a fascination with one of the major figures of modernist literature. Organised and curated by artist and writer Paul Becker and painter Catrin Huber.
The twentieth century Swiss writer Robert Walser (1878-1956) has had a huge influence on a long list of literary, artistic and philosophical figures, from Franz Kafka to Walter Benjamin, musicians such as Heinz Holliger, visual artists from Paul Klee to Mark Wallinger and Tacita Dean, and filmmakers including the Brothers Quay. Only translated into English comparatively recently, international interest in Walser’s work has generated a wealth of new art, writing and critical discussion, which continues to explore his unique legacy.
Walser worked as a bank clerk, a butler in a castle and an inventor’s assistant, at the same time producing several novels and more than a thousand stories and poems. In 1929 he checked himself into an asylum in Berne, Switzerland, where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. He remained in mental health institutions for nearly thirty years until his sudden death in 1956, whilst walking in a field of snow near the asylum.
‘Apropos the Kissing of a Hand’ attempts to highlight Walser’s impact on a wide range of contemporary artists and, more particularly, seeks to present artists who attempt the complexities of referencing the influence and/or language of literature within their works.