FRANZ ERHARD WALTHER, ‘Sockel: Hand und Arm unten’, 1969
59,3 x 19 x 2 cm / 23 3/8 x 7 ½ x 0 6/8 inches
hand sewn fabric
signed, dated, numbered on technical drawing as work certificate (A4 size)
The pedestal or ‘Sockel’ to be actively used by the viewer is a central concept in Franz Erhard Walther’s work. During the 1960s Franz Erhard Walther produced a series of 58 sculptural objects that were collectively titled ‘1. Werksatz’ (trans. “First Set of Works”). The earliest of these, ‘Stirnstück’ (trans. “Forehead Piece”), 1963, involved using the front of the head to slide a strip of maroon velvet down a wall. The works in the 1. Werksatz series explicitly tackle the relationship body versus sculpture, also dragging in the problem of the pedestal. Here ‘Sockel, Arm und Hand unten’ (1969) is next to being a title basically an instruction for using the piece as a pedestal. Not only meant physically as Piero Manzoni anticipated his ideas with his ‘Magic Bases’ (1962), namely conceived as a means of turning anyone who climbed onto them into a statue, but also as “a condition that produce a mental image”. The pedestal is a metaphor for everything that supports the human individual and upon which our own images come into being.