We rarely encounter letters or colors outside of their communicative or decorative functions. Yet detached from the flat surfaces they normally adorn, they become sculptural objects that collapse the divide between language and bodies.
Works 1965–Today stems from a retrospective held at the Grazer Kunstverein showcasing Josef Bauer's experiments with language, color, and their spatial contexts nearly forty years after his last exhibition in Graz. His practice combines sculpture, installation, painting, and performance to disturb our perception of words and colors as mere “carriers” of meaning. By removing their two-dimensional context, letters become objects that communicate directly with our bodies in an unfiltered and urgent language called “tactile poetry.”
In addition to over one hundred career-spanning works by Bauer, this volume brings together critical commentary from a variety of experts. In his introduction, Krist Gruijthuijsen illuminates Bauer's “tactile poetry” as a radical embodiment of '60s Concrete poetry. In an essay from 1974, Austrian philosopher Thomas Zaunschirm explores Bauer's formal bid to transcend the representational relation of language to images. Situating Bauer's practice in a historical context, Bettina Steinbrügge throws light on the reception and development of his works. The book also includes a unique visual rejoinder by artist Hans-Peter Feldmann. Works 1965–Today is a vital introduction to this—until now—underrepresented master of letters and their contours.
Copublished with Grazer Kunstverein
Hans-Peter Feldmann, Krist Gruijthuijsen, Bettina Steinbrügge, and Thomas Zaunschirm