HEIDELBERG – BERN – ZÜRICH
Labzone : Le Territoire du Crayon.
« Aus dem Bleistiftgebiet » is the title of a collection of 6 volumes published by Suhrkamp. These 6 volumes « translate » the texts written by Robert Walser with a pencil on discarded papers and with an almost microscopic handwriting, from 1924 to 1933.
These texts were once considered undecipherable and product of the mental illness of Robert Walser, with no other value than being a symptom of his disease. However, they were « secret, not code », as Bernard Echte, the « translator » of them into readable German, asserts. They contained some of the most important texts of modern literature.
This « writing on the margins » has been very accurately called « a territory »- it is a safe zone, free from censorship and pressure. We find some similarities with the Finnegans Wake Buffalo Notebooks, or the « lignes d’erre » made by the « reseau » Deligny. It is a language out of language, a language with a cartography, as if it were a place.
Indeed it shows some similarities as well with productions that are closer to the pathological; and here we could as well name the series of drawings « that person’s work » by Matt Mullican, made under hypnosis, Antonin Artaud’s drawings, or the Adolf Wölfli writings.
The paper treated as a space and not as a surface for text, the horror vacui, and the synchronicity of the events appearing on the surface. Some would say that we are witnessing the most faithful representation of how the brain works, including its underground sections.
The labzone will consist of the research and discussion around these artists and some specific works, going full circle back to the discussion around « outsider art »: Is there such a thing?
Or, as Theodor Spoerri claimed in the catalogue of documenta 5 , there is no distance between what has been classified as outsider art and all other forms of contemporary art.
Tuesday 13, Heidelberg, Prinzhorn Collection;
Wednesday 14, Bern, Robert Walser Zentrum + Kunstmuseum Bern Wölfli collection;
Thursday 15, Zurich, James Joyce Zentrum.