Walla, August, "Götter [gods]", 1986, acrylic on canvas, 260 x 532 cm, © photo credit Collection de l’Art Brut, Lausanne
Only in french
August Walla was born in Klosterneuburg, near Vienna, Austria. Following his father’s death the child was raised by his grandmother and mother. When, at the age of 16, he threatened to kill himself and set fire to his house, he was confined to a psychiatric establishment. When he was released, he lived with his mother, who looked after him carefully.
In 1970, he was admitted to the psychiatric hospital at Maria Gugging, Austria. Sixteen years later he became an inmate of the Haus der Künstler (House of Artists), a place of residence and creation connected to the hospital.
Drawing and writing are intimately interwoven in his compositions, which gather together gods, demons, saints, prophets and miracle-workers, as well as a number of imaginary deities. Walla was fascinated by the materiality of words and by their plastic, or three-dimensional quality as well as by symbols, and collected foreign-language dictionaries, from which he drew terms, and invented personal idioms by combining different words.
Walla also painted on the walls and furnishings of his room, on his belongings, and on the walls of both the hospital where he lived and the neighbouring houses. In addition, he did chalk drawings on the roadway. His works were talismans to him against dangers—particularly against spirits, humans and death.
Introduction to an œuvre: August Walla, by the Collection de l'Art Brut guide Colin Pahlisch.
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