Walter Pichler (1936-2012)

I found Walter Pichler after his obituary showed up sometime at the end of July (he died on July 16th, 2012). It included an image of a man wearing a strange futuristic helmet that I was immediately fascinated and intrigued with. I did some internet research and found little information on him but eventually found a catalogue from the Generali Foundation in Austria that had a show of his prototypes (Prototypes: 1966-1969). His art exists somewhere at the intersection of architecture, industrial design and art that hints at a dark and dystopian future. The images are amazing to look at and the interview at the beginning of the catalogue is excellent.

Here is an excerpt:

You say you were “unpolitical”. You did not make any references to society, as was expected from art at the time…

I think that there were very simple, direct references. I have always been against using art to make direct references to everyday politics.

This period is considered both utopian and visionary…

That was not the ideal of politically minded artists. They wanted to change society through art. Indeed the following question arose time and again: How does your art relate to politics or to recent history? In this respect the “Prototypes” did not fit in so well with art developments at the time. There was perhaps already a sort of riff. This, however, had more of a bearing on architects. It was not so optimistic. Even the stories that sound so utopian. Mine were not optimistic. You could almost describe them as cynical. It was not utopia I really believed in.

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