Euan Macdonald

“Robert Walser: Der Spaziergang” (group show) @ Zink Galerie, November 23rd, 2012

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Robert Walser‘s novel “Der Spaziergang (The Walk)” has inspired Galerie Zink for the homonymous exhibition “Robert Walser – Der Spaziergang”, in which the next artists Euan Macdonald, Marcel van Eeden, Jana Gunstheimer and Natalie Czech  participate to approximate to the person of Robert Walser and his work.

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Euan Macdonald presents a bundle of 85 pencil drawings, which have been developed over a period of three years at different locations. The drawings are complemented with 22 antiquarian postcards. In his drawings, Macdonald uses the various manifestations of landscape and questions the familiarity of this phenomenon. Connecting the drawings to the postcards -from the period 1911 to 1913, period referenced in Walser’s writings and starting point of his retirement in Switzerland (1913)-, serve as historical reference. The interplay between familiarity and unfamiliarity an indeterminacy of the visual world can perfectly illustrate Robert Walser’s novel.

Marcel van Eeden used in his great drawing “Celia” (2006) long passages from Robert Walser’s “Der Spaziergang”. In Zink’s exhibition he shows the series “Herisau – Wil, 23.April 1939”, 2012. The work is inspired in a walk of 28 kilometers taken from Herisau to Wil by Robert Walser’s admirer and later guardian, Carl Seelig on 23rd April, 1939 materialized in his writing “Walking with Robert Walser”. Van Eeden uses text fragments from Carl Seelig’s report in the installation presented here. As it is usual in his work, the artists refers to events before his own birth in 1965.

Jana Gunstheimer approaches the person of Robert Walser in a sort of indirect portrait. For many visual artists, the writer, who lived between euphoria and despair, has became a fascinating person. He withdrawn himself in the protection of asylum in Waldau near Bern in 1929. In the last years of his life, Robert Walser lived fully retracted and no longer wrote. This state of isolation is what Jana Gunstheimer transfers to drawings with an atmospherically charged interior similar to a burnt house.

The work “Adieu ihr schönen Worte”, 2010, by Natalie Czech refers to a quote by Ingeborg Bachmann, but it has special validity in terms of the biography of Robert Walser: „Adieu, ihr schönen Worte, mit Euren Verheißungen. Warum habt Ihr mich verlassen, war Euch nicht wohl?“

Very free translation from me, original text in German. Text source: