Walter Oltmann / 2007

Walter Oltmann 08 October - 01 November 2008 Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg

The Goodman Gallery is pleased to host a new body of work by Walter Oltmann from 13 August – 3 November 2007. This exhibition of new sculpture and works on paper in various media opens at noon on Saturday 13th, on this day the gallery will have extended hours from 09h30 to 17h00 and closes on 3rd November at 16h00.

Using hand-craft techniques related to weaving, Walter Oltmann creates his often monumental wire sculptures for which he has become well known. Process is still very much at the centre of Oltmann’s wire sculptures as he continues to explore domestic craft techniques, together with material and imagery that seems incongruous or disparate to these activities. This opens up various associations and meanings, and creates allusions to Oltmann’s African roots.

Walter Oltmann has continued fabricating wire sculptures by hand to arrive at hybrid forms suggesting an interface between references to insects and human features. These wire sculptures are based on his previous “Larva Suits”, empty garments not unlike suits of armour. These suits allude to insect larvae/ caterpillars as well as features from early forms of dress associated with Europeans who first arrived on African soil. Oltmann’s sculptures (including a few wire net pieces) and drawings continue to articulate ideas relating to the monstrous and the vulnerable and the unsettling of boundaries between categories.

Oltmann’s new body of work comprises a series of ink drawings, prints, and wire sculptures in which he incorporates the use of anodizing to achieve strong metallic colour. The metallic sheen and articulated surfaces created with aluminium, copper, brass and bronze give the works devotional and iconic aura which elevates the ordinary and suggests the possibility of transformation.



Walter Oltmann

Born in 1960 in Rustenburg, Gauteng, South Africa, Walter Oltmann’s main area of focus is sculpture, and more particularly in fabricating woven wire forms, which sometimes reference local craft traditions. He has researched and written on the use of wire in African material culture in this region and is deeply interested in the influence of these traditions in contemporary South African art. He has had numerous solo exhibitions with the Goodman Gallery, and has created several large-scale commissions for venues such as the Zeitz Sculpture Garden in Segera, Kenya.