in context of room, building and city

>36 woodcuts

monochrome black, 36 prints taken from different wooden picture frames, 36 prints in a grey box of 50 x 60 cm, 8 edition8/2 first issues, text by Thomas Wagner; Edited by Klaus Gallwitz, published by Künstlerhaus Schloß Balmoral

Fritz Balthaus: 36 woodcuts

Thirty-six Woodcuts


were created by Fritz Balthaus. Each one shows the positive representation of four standard frame profiles respectively. They were printed on pages with a 50 x 60 cm format so that they could be assembled to a frame window. The middle of these frames is empty. In this way the representation of the frame becomes a picture in itself. This is, on the one hand, an exact representation of the profiles. At the same time, it is an independent representation of the process of framing itself. Since the frames are made of wood, the choice of a woodcut as the medium proves to be a case of “meta-irony”. That which frames (and because it does so, cuts something out of the visible world) is intentionally left by Fritz Balthaus so that it represents itself in the print on paper. The frames only refer to themselves and, because they are represented self-reflexively, the world disappears from their grasp. What would paintings, would drawings, etchings or lithography be without picture frames? Alone, unprotected, unable to rely on a border to a profane and mundane wall… unable to make reference to a world within a frame… what value would all these media have? One suspects, and does so with a melancholy thoughtfulness: a lesser one. Can a page, simply attached to the wall, still radiate the same dignity that differentiates an artwork from standard welter? Even frameless presentation or the “frameless framing” behind glass lives from a tradition in which the work is clearly separated from the world around it. Framing thus means fleeing the world. Its profit is what we call art. Identified, composed, felt and densified… a part of the world returns back to the picture as an image.


Thomas Wagner