Martin Walde

1957 (Innsbruck/Tyrol), lives and works in Vienna and New York

Martin Walde studied in Vienna at the Academy of Fine Arts under Arnulf Rainer, Max Weiler and Wolfgang Hollegha. He was visiting professor at the École National Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. The artist works with media art, photography, graphic design, and installation. A recurrent theme in Walde’s art is the focus on movement, with regard to the variability of both material and form.

He does not create “final” works; instead he is interested in subjects that he approaches from different angles in terms of media, recording them in literature, then exploring them in drawings and illustrated stories, and proposing them in a number of possible objects. Rather than being an inventor suggesting solutions, he works on a visual level by announcing an action, for example, but then not actually carrying it out. Imagination-inspiring slogans, drawings and prototypes that promise more than they deliver are sufficient as announcements. Often he uses soap, studying this product in great depth. But other materials also feature recurrently, their changes of state being the focus of his interest, for example wax, foam, silicone, cotton-wool, plastic or various creams. In this way Walde seeks to begin to think, to draw and realise the impossible, and the fantastic occurs. Texts, short conceptual statements make us aware of ideas, drawings suggest fantasies of realisation, objects become protagonists of further transformations. The reconstruction of the “Hallucigenia”, an archaic creature only known to us in the form of its fossilised skeleton, is one subject, along with the ecological solution of meltable wax bottles or the construction of non-collapsing foam.

Martin Walde has featured and features at numerous international exhibitions, including the Venice Biennale in 1986 and 2001 (“days hope”), and his works were also on show at documenta X in Kassel in 1997. In 1991 he received the Monsignore Otto Mauer Prize, in 1998 he was awarded the Fine Arts Prize of the City of Vienna, and in 2005 he won the Art Prize of Tyrol Province. In 2007 his works were on show at Neue Galerie in Graz. By means of his innovative use of various material technologies, Martin Walde influenced the concept of sculpture in contemporary art with lasting effect. The link between material and sculpture and the mutual influence of sculpture and space have a key function in his works. The aim of his dynamic installations and unique sculptures is to induce the viewer to explore their sense organs, consciously perceive their senses, and critically to examine their relationship.