“I want to reveal what is usually kept hidden – it is no game – I tried to open peoples eyes to new realities: it is as true of the doll photographs as it is of Petit Traite de la Morale. The anagram is the key to my work. This allies me to the Surrealists and I am glad to be considered part of that movement, although I have less concern than some Surrealists with the subconscious, because my works are carefully thought out and controlled. If my work is found to scandalise, that is because for me the world is scandalous.”
Dad came to visit this weekend and showed us this rare and until recently unseen footage of himself and the team practising at the long gone White City Stadium in (we think) spring 1977.
Grandad Greer is on there too.
“A short film depicting a dad’s influence on a young boy’s life. His judgmental character mixed with the boys fondness for his dad prove to be a toxic mix that tears away at a world of opportunity and experiences. A short animation made with oil pastels and newspaper clippings.”
“Bristol-based animator, Sophie Marsh created an ABC fact file filled with animals in her paper film for adults. Produced by Calling the Shots.”
“Starewicz had become a master animator by 1933, incorporating techniques never used before and rarely since (such as moving the puppets during the actual exposure to create blurring for fast movement). His use of rear-screen projection is also surprisingly effective.”
There was a recent rescreening of 1978 interview.
This on writing his first play
I wrote that play totally without calculation. In other words, I started at the top and at a certain point There was a knock at the door and someone came in, and I had absolutely no idea who he was, who he might be, what he might say, and I let it run. I let it happen, and found that he did have a voice, that he was the Landlord, in fact. That was the first chapter.
The two visitors arrived, and I didn’t know what they were on about really, or what they wanted. They were just part of the whole atmosphere.
This on starting:
It remains the essential joy of writing, I think. You’ve got a blank page, one moment, there’s nothing on it, and the next moment there’s something on it.
Now if you know what that something’s going to be, really, fully and comprehensively before you get to it, I don’t quite see where the spring of discovery can exist.
The discovery exists in the act of discovery.
“At the beginning of the twentieth century, Adolf Wölfli, a former farmhand and laborer, produced a monumental, 25,000-page illustrated narrative in Waldau, a mental asylum near Bern, Switzerland. Through a complex web of texts, drawings, collages and musical compositions, Wölfli constructed a new history of his childhood and a glorious future with its own personal mythology. The French Surrealist André Breton described his work as “one of the three or four most important oeuveres of the twentieth century”. Since 1975, our aim is to make Adolf Wölfli’s work known through one-man and group exhibitions as well as publications.”
“Wölfli’s first epic From the Cradle to the Grave runs over 2,970 pages of text and 752 illustrations bound by Wölfli into nine books. It takes the form of a travelogue whose principal hero is a boy called Doufi (a nickname for Adolf). Together with his family, Doufi travels all over the world which is, in the name of progress, duly explored and inventorised. In From the Cradle to the Grave, Wölfli transforms his miserable childhood into a glamorous story of wonderful adventures, discoveries and awesome hazards, all of which are famously overcome. The text, which mixes prose with poetry and extensive lists, is accompanied by colourful maps, portraits and illustrations of events such as combats, collapses and catastrophes. In these drawings one first encounters the form of the “Vögeli“ – a little bird which can be understood as the protector of the ubiquitous Wölfli’s alter ego and simultaneously as a sexual symbol filling in any potential empty space”
“Adolf Wölfli. From the Cradle to the Grave. Bedlam=Walking Wheel, Provisional Map of Both the Kingdom of Spain and Portugal, Dromedary Indian and Vosel Stubborn Donkey Mask, Lea Tantaria, Condor Eggs, Hall of Blacks, London South, Map of the Two Principalities Sonoricije and the West Bzimbzabazaru, Helvetic Cathedral in Northern Amazonian Hall, Atlantic Ocean Waves and Přístaf Cradle Lisbon (top to bottom). 1912.”
“Wölfli’s imaginary autobiography and one-person utopia starts with „From the Cradle to the Grave“ (1908-1912). In 3,000 pages, Wölfli turns his dramatic and miserable childhood into a magnificent travelog. He relates how as a child named Doufi, he traveled „more or less around the entire world,“ accompanied by the „Swiss Hunters and Nature Explorers Taveling Society.“ The narrative is lavishly illustrated with drawings of fictitious maps, portraits, palaces, cellars, churches, kings, queens, snakes, speaking plants, etc.”
“In the second part of the writings, the „Geographic and Algebraic Books“, Wölfli describes how to build the future „Saint Adolf-Giant-Creation“: a huge „capital fortune“ will allow to purchase, rename, urbanize, and appropriate the planet and finally the entire cosmos. In 1916 this narrative reaches a climax as Wölfli dubs himself St. Adolf II.”
“Jean Dubuffet, the French artist and founder of „Art Brut,“ called Wölfli „le grand Wölfli,“ the Surrealist André Breton considered his oeuvre „one of the three of four most important works of the twentieth century,“ and the Swiss curator Harald Szeemann showed a number of his pieces in 1972 at „documenta 5,“ the renown contemporary art exhibition in Kassel, Germany. Wölfli’s writings, which he considered his actual life’s work, only began to be systematically examined and transcribed in 1975 when the Adolf Wölfli Foundation was founded. Elka Spoerri (1924-2002) built up the Adolf Wölfli Foundation and was its curator from 1975 to 1996.”
“Every Monday morning Wölfli is given a new pencil and two large sheets of unprinted newsprint. The pencil is used up in two days; then he has to make do with the stubs he has saved or with whatever he can beg off someone else. He often writes with pieces only five to seven millimetres long and even with the broken-off points of lead, which he handles deftly, holding them between his fingernails. He carefully collects packing paper and any other paper he can get from the guards and patients in his area; otherwise he would run out of paper before the next Sunday night. At Christmas the house gives him a box of coloured pencils, which lasts him two or three weeks at the most.”
“Naturally enough, the question whether Wölfli’s music can be played is asked again and again. The answer is yes, with some difficulty. Parts of the musical manuscripts of 1913 were analyzed in 1976 by Kjell Keller and Peter Streif and were performed. These are dances – as Wölfli indicates – waltzes, mazurkas, and polkas similar in their melody to folk music. How Wölfli acquired his knowledge of music and its signs and terms is not clear. He heard singing in the village church. Perhaps he himself sang along. There he could see song books from the eighteenth century with six-line staffs (explaining, perhaps, his continuous use of six lines in his musical notations). At festivities he heard dance music, and on military occasions he heard the marches he loved so well. More important than the concrete evaluation of his music notations is Wölfli’s concept of viewing and designing his whole oeuvre as a big musical composition. The basic element underlying his compositions and his whole oeuvre is rhythm. Rhythm pervades not only his music but his poems and prose, and there is also a distinctive rhythmic flow in his handwriting.””
“After Wölfli died at Waldau in 1930 his works were taken to the Museum of the Waldau Clinic in Bern. Later the Adolf Wölfli Foundation was formed to preserve his art for future generations. Its collection is now on display at the Museum of Fine Arts in Bern.”