Art is a festival in which a narrative is told.
It makes its drama constantly; and speaks
In human flesh, the actor ever bold,
On canvas, wood or paper, an audience it seeks.
—Frank Walter, from the poem ‘What Art Is’
David Zwirner is pleased to present an exhibition of work by Antiguan artist, writer, and polymath Frank Walter (1926–2009) at the gallery’s London location. Organised in collaboration with the artist’s family, the exhibition will mark the first solo presentation of Walter’s work in London. Building upon his recent, celebrated retrospective at the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, the presentation will showcase the immense depth of Walter’s intellect and creativity and his prolific artistic output. It will include several works that have never been exhibited before.
Over the course of six decades, Walter, a descendant of enslaved persons and plantation owners, created a vast body of work that encompasses a variety of media, styles, and formats. His paintings range from highly individualistic, vividly coloured landscapes that evoke the Romantic spirit of William Blake and Caspar David Friedrich to formally inventive and probing portraits, many of which reflect the complexities of racial identity, to systematic, abstract compositions reminiscent of the paintings of Hilma af Klint, all rendered in the artist’s own absorbing palette and distinctive visual style.
Describing the breadth of Walter’s art and his innately creative spirit, Susanne Pfeffer, director of the Museum für Moderne Kunst, writes, ‘The complexity of Walter’s subject matter is matched by the great variety of his materials. He created works on wood, Masonite, cardboard, paper, linoleum, and the backs of photographs, and he painted and drew with oil paint, tempera, watercolour, crayon, pencil, shellac, and glitter. When he was not painting, he wrote; when he was not writing, he made sound recordings. Walter’s creativity had an unbelievable intensity, which one can see, feel, and sense in his work.’1
The gallery will be open to the public with a limited number of visitors allowed into the exhibition spaces at a time, in accordance with city guidelines.
To schedule your visit to Frank Walter, please click here.
To learn more about the enhanced safety measures currently in place at this location and others, please click here.
Image: Frank Walter, Untitled (Airplanes over boats in harbor), n.d. (detail)
1 Susanne Pfeffer, ‘Seeing Frank Walter’, in Frank Walter: A Retrospective. Exh. cat. (Frankfurt: Museum für Moderne Kunst, 2020), p. 359.