In the weave
I’m intrigued by Walter Oltmann's wire sculptures. I wrote about his solo exhibition last year and used the word ‘wow’ a lot in that write-up. So, it was a wow (just had to do it again!) experience to have a closer look at some of the works that he’s produced over the past three decades.
In the Weave, the title of the exhibition at the Standard Bank Gallery in Jozi town, is running until 29 March 2014. It includes some of his drawings and prints, but the wire sculptures are arguably the most impressive – in their sheer 3D size and intricacy. There are also the stories and commentary woven into every piece, of course.
And to think, it all started with him noticing gabions (rectangular wire structures filled with rocks, which prevent erosion on river banks and at mine dumps) and exploring these ‘sculptural forms’. It eventually led to wire becoming his medium and his unique way of working, which relates to weaving, making baskets and textile manufacturing.
The gallery has produced a great pamphlet in which his common imagery (think skulls, skeletons, insects, among others) and his inspirations are described. Be sure to grab one when you go have a look. I’ve included some photos as always, but I don’t think they do Walter’s work justice.