In his conceptual pieces Martin Walde (*1957 in Innsbruck) works with all kinds of media. His drawings, videos, sculptures and installations reveil an analytical and ironical view on the definitions and limits of the notion of art. These are works in which the viewer becomes directly involved – installations that are subject to permanent changes during their exhibition.
At the latest with his participation at documenta X (1997) Walde became known to a wider public. With his extensive solo show at the Stadtgalerie Saarbrücken his work is once again presented on a large scale in Germany.
Theoretisch erwartet – Praktisch gefunden (Anticipated in theory—found in practice) is the title of an installation in the first exhibition space. We see a yellow balloon hanging from the ceiling, expanding below a broken bottleneck. This work is almost symptomatic of the artist Martin Walde, who began his career in the 1980s by studying painting with Arnulf Rainer and is dedicated today to a form of conceptual art that is as enigmatic as it is scientific, as intellectual as sensuous, and is presented in a way that is at once humorous and highly aesthetic. The yellow balloon shows our theoretical expectation in absurd form. This can take various sizes and even forms: a bright yellow theoretical expectation that can be perceived by the senses.”
Elsewhere a pair of scissors becomes an artist’s tool and a sculpture that could only be created with the audience’s interventions: as an assemblage of strings and shoelaces, which were cut apart by visitors and then reattached with their own string. It is about nothing less than the definitions and limits of the concept of art and the extension of traditional ideas of the artist as the sole producer of his or her works.
Walde is trying to rob things of their functionality in order to explore their entire spectrum of possibilities of expression and perception: Just as bent tape measure or a dented silicone cube can become a sculpture, in other works Walde gets to the bottom of the nature of the objects and materials in order to explore and give impetus to new possibilities for dealing with the things around us. In his work, art and applied science meet.
One such “scientific” work can be found in our exhibition. It is the Hallucigenia series, three of which are seen in the last room on the second floor. Mysterious creatures shine on us from the darkness: very thin glass forms that produce a mysterious interplay of colors. Their form recalls worm-like sea creatures. For Walde, it provided the perfect form for his experiments with noble gases. In the end, Walde’s art is scarcely imaginable without science and without specialized knowledge of physics and research.