Walter Pichler (1936 – 2012). Architecture – Sculpture. Haus neben der Schmiede, Eggental / Val d’Ega

Walter Pichler, Haus in einer Schlucht, 1991. Schizzo ad acquerello e matita su carta / Aquarell- und Bleistiftskizze auf Papier, 70 x 50 cm. Collezione Fondazione MUSEION. Museo d’arte moderna e contemporanea Bolzano. Foto: Antonio Maniscalco

Walter Pichler (1936 – 2012)
Architecture – Sculpture
Haus neben der Schmiede, Eggental / Val d’Ega

curated by Andreas Hapkemeyer

Exhibition 17 June 2022 – 4 September 2022
Press preview 17 June 2022 at 11am


To mark the tenth anniversary of the death of the Austrian artist and architect, Walter Pichler (1936-2012), from 17 June to 4 September 2022 Museion is dedicating its Passage spaces on the ground floor of the museum and Cubo Garutti to the exhibition Walter Pichler (1936 – 2012). Architecture – Sculpture, curated by Andreas Hapkemeyer. Born in the South Tyrol, Pichler is regarded as one of the great lone anti-conformists of 1960s international art.

The exhibition will include the 1991 Haus in der Schlucht (House in the Gorge) cycle, a body of 11 drawings belonging to the Museion Collection, in which the artist develops the idea of building a tower in the Eggenbach Gorge, which would only have been lit from above as the gorge is so narrow. These drawings are a kind of preparation for the Haus neben der Schmiede (House next to the Smithy) in Birchabruck, completed in 2002. This low building also lit from above, was designed to be a refuge for the artist and a place for his family to meet. Two of the drawings on display that belong to the family’s collection, also narrate this project. The smithy that stands next to the house, had belonged to the Pichler family for generations and was used also by the artist’s grandfather and then by his uncle. The house, the smithy and a Plattform über dem Bach (platform overlooking the river), originally designed along with them, but only completed in 2015, create a unique whole.
Haus neben der Schmiede (House next to the Smithy) is an example of a highly complex fusion of traditional, almost archaic construction methods using river stones and advanced, modern technology with its glass roof and laser-welded steel sections. The entire interior was designed by the artist himself and constructed, in part, using cutting-edge technology. The advanced technological aspect of the build, with which Walter Pichler enters into dialogue here for the first time, was made possible by his cousins, who run an internationally active steel company in Bolzano.

Walter Pichler’s oeuvre is characterized by a vast production of drawings, sculptures and architectural constructions, in which the boundaries between the various arts remain completely fluid.

His first works come from the field of utopian architecture that emerged in Vienna and then spread across the international scene in the 1960s. Exhibitions at the MoMA in New York and important museums and galleries in Europe, including the Venice Biennial are clear indications of the international acclaim the artist received for his work.

Pichler’s most important sculptures, which are displayed in architectural shells made partially of wood, are located in St. Martin in Burgenland, where the artist lived until the end of his life.

With Walter Pichler (1936 – 2012). Architecture – Sculpture, Museion pursues its goal of drawing attention to these extraordinary and little-known sculptural architectures of the artist. The Museion presentation acts as a bridge between the works preserved in the museum and the Ega Valley ensemble.

Walter Pichler

The Austrian sculptor, architect and designer, Walter Pichler was born in 1936 in Deutschnofen in the Ega Valley, Alto Adige, the same year in which his family moved, due to the political situation in Alto Adige at the time, to Austria. In 1955 he graduated at the Hochschule für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna. In 1963, together with Hans Hollein, he created the Architektur exhibition at the Galerie nächst St. Stefan in Vienna, a project in which they sought to liberate architecture from the constraints of building, and sculpture from the constraints of arid abstraction. In 1967 he created the Visionary Architecture exhibition at MoMA in New York with Hans Hollein and Raimund Abraham. In 1968 he took part in Documenta 6, in Kassel.

In 1972 Pichler bought a piece of land in St. Martin (Burgenland – Austria) in which he exhibited his sculptures inside custom-built architectural constructions. In 1975 he exhibited again at MoMA with Projects, and in 1982 he took part in the Venice Biennial. In 1998 he exhibited at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. In 2002 he built his Haus neben der Schmiede (House next to the Smithy) in the Ega Valley.

He died in 2012. In 2015, his design for the Plattform über dem Bach (Platform above the Stream) that completes his house project in the Ega Valley, was constructed posthumously.


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