02 02 2014
#3557

Karl Waldmann collages


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From Musée Karl Waldmann (an oeuvre of 1209 pieces displayed on their website)
 
Some will speak about an ENIGMA in connection with Karl Waldmann. We will speak rather about a NOVEL structured like an essay on the madness of the 20th century.
 
Probably born in the penultimate decade of the 19th century in Dresden, Karl Waldmann apparently disappeared around 1958. He is one of constructivism's last discoveries and most certainly a very important one.

It was only after the fall of the Berlin Wall that he was rediscovered through 1,200 works, mostly consisting of collages and photomontages. Formally, Waldmann’s art is very heterogeneous : it never associated itself with one single movement. In addition to a body of abstract works which we think are mostly from the early period, there is a body of work that can be related to the constructivist, surrealist and dadaist movements.

One can thus compare Karl Waldmann with artists such as Schwitters, Heartfield, Haussmann, Hannah Hoch as well as Rodchenko, Maïakovski, Moholy-Nagy, Marianne Brandt, Klusis and Lissitzky.

Very little is known at the moment about his life or personality. His family – met in Dresden in 1989 and since deceased – described him as “crazy”. 

It is possible that he may have refused to exhibit his work for existential or political reasons, but also for his own safety during the years of Nazi governance and later under Stalinist censorship.
Also, he might not have been a “pure” artist wanting to exhibit or belong to any particular school, and he may have produced his work in the secrecy of his studio, like many other artists from the East. 

His work addresses topics such as the cinema, politics, literature, theatre etc. Many personalities from the art world (curators, scientists, historians etc.) have discovered a passion for this enigma and the work’s self-evident originality.

 

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