Behind the Scenes

An Exhibition in the Making - Franz Erhard Walther

Written by Lilli Christoph-Homberg,

Studio visits, long conversations and trips to lenders: before an exhibition becomes a reality, several years of work take place behind the scenes. In a series of images, we present a few moments from the long planning phase of the exhibition dedicated to Franz Erhard Walther, which opens in March at Haus der Kunst.

First idea and plans

Curator Jana Baumann has long been interested in the oeuvre of the German artist Franz Erhard Walther. In her work, she repeatedly found he had received too little attention beyond the art world compared to his contemporaries such as Gerhard Richter and Sigmar Polke. Franz Erhard Walther, who was named “Best Artist” at the Venice Biennale in 2017, is still a discovery for the general public. This discrepancy led to the idea of mounting a large retrospective to honor his visionary work and his position as a pioneer for an open understanding of art.

Viewing works in the studio

Jana Baumann and her curatorial assistant Julia Heldt visited the artist in his studio in Fulda. Together they looked through existing works and drawings, such as these early hatch drawings, which were created in the late 1950s and are still in the artist’s possession.

Loans from around the globe

Once the list of the works desired for the exhibition was finalized, Jana Baumann travelled to see the works in person and to discuss the exhibition with potential lenders. Her travels took her to New York’s Peter Freeman gallery, the Tate Modern in London and to private collectors in Hamburg, Paris and Barcelona.

Exhibition planning

What is placed where? Once the loans are fixed, the preparation in the exhibition room begins. In many conversations, sometimes lasting until late at night, the curator and artist sat together planning the exhibition. Franz Erhard Walther creates a layout drawing of the final exhibition space for each of his exhibitions, such as the Venice Biennale 2017, where he won the Golden Lion. For the exhibition at Haus der Kunst, which will include more than 250 works, he will create a drawing for each of the large rooms in the East Wing.

Looking at fabric samples for the edition

Franz Erhard Walther will create his own edition for the exhibition at Haus der Kunst. For the time being, we will only reveal this: It will be a textile work. Some fabric samples are being reviewed here.

Almost there!

Curators Jana Baumann and Franz Erhard Walther are in good spirits here as they celebrate the artist’s 80th birthday in Fulda. They are now looking forward to the upcoming opening in early March.

Jana Baumann and Franz Erhard Walther at the party for his 80th birthday in 2019
Jana Baumann and Franz Erhard Walther at the party for his 80th birthday in 2019

Lilli Christoph-Homberg works in the communications department at Haus der Kunst