Walter Dahn, long-time professor of painting at the Braunschweig University of Fine Arts (HBK), is one of the most important protagonists of the artists' group "Mülheimer Freiheit". Their expressive, spontaneous painting, which originated in Cologne in the early 1980s, became known under the label "Neue Wilde". The then master student of Joseph Beuys achieved great fame through his participation in the documenta in 1982. Dahn's work, however, extends far beyond the phase of "Wilde Malerei". Since the mid-1980s, Dahn has increasingly devoted himself to other media, especially screen printing. His multi-layered work moves in the field of tension between art, music and pop culture. What increasingly comes to the fore in the works, however, is Walter's lifelong enthusiasm for music.
I have long been fascinated by Walter's work. For me, they have always been expressive, emotional and spontaneous. So I was particularly excited when he agreed to collaborate.
I had seen him many times in a café we both frequented, but I didn't know it was him. On the occasion of an exhibition of the artist, George Condo, in Frankfurt, I met Walter again.
He was standing with George Condo and they were talking like friends. That's how I found out who Walter Dahn was and was able to bring together the works that had always fascinated me with the artist. At our first meeting on the occasion of our collaboration, I was immediately drawn into spell of his stories.
Apart from his deep knowledge of art, music and film, the most fascinating thing for me was his storytelling style and, above all, the enthusiasm Walter can raise for the work of other artists. One would expect artists to prefer talking about themselves - I have not had this experience with my Editions artists, but Walter's enthusiasm for the work of others was so infectious that after our conversations I always researched everything he had talked about.
I can only highly recommend listening to the interview with Walter Dahn that he gave to Audioarchiv Kunst.
The coat from our edition bears fragments from three different works by the artist. The unmistakable slogan "Punk is the sound of my soul" is the element of a work that also features a photo of a follower of the Indian Naga cult. The removable banner reveals an embroidery with lettering from a well-known work by Walter Dahn: "I left you my Dreams on your answering machine". A work that shows this lettering on light blue fabric and appears as if it is falling like rain on the fabric. The branch print on the front of the coat is from the work Untitled (Soultree) from 2015.
The silk scarf is printed with the words Steal This in a blockbuster typeface. Inspired by the book Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffmann and redesigned by a typography artist. Written in 1970 and published in 1971, the book is an example of the sixties counterculture. In the style of the alternative culture, the book focused mainly on how to fight back against the government and corporations in any way possible.
The book is written in the form of a guide for the youth. Hoffmann, who was himself a political and social activist, drew inspiration for some of his advice in Steal This Book from his own activities. The lettering was intricately reworked by a typographer and reproduced on the silk scarf. The black and white print creates a cool look and can be combined in many ways.
The sweater bears the lettering as a light blue print on the front and thus picks up the colour of the textile of the original work. On the back of the sweater, part of the frame of the work has been elaborately embroidered with light blue wool yarn as a design element. The jumper combines a work by the artist with the front and back pieces.
In many of Walter Dahn's works, his lifelong work with music always comes to the foreground. The dark blue hoodie bears the words ONLY MUSIC CAN SAVE US in combination with a drawing by Heinrich Kley. On the front is an embroidered drawing of a ray. The rays give energy, and what is inside the rays acquires even more intensity, which is why it seemed right to us to place them on the heart side.
The canvas bag is printed with the words Steal This in a blockbuster typeface. Inspired by the book Steal This Book by Abbie Hoffmann. Written in 1970 and published in 1971, the book is an example of the sixties counterculture. In the style of the counterculture, the book focused mainly on how to fight back against the government and corporations in any way possible.
The book is written in the form of a guide for the youth. Hoffmann, who was himself a political and social activist, drew inspiration for some of his advice in Steal This Book from his own activities. The lettering was intricately reworked by a typographer. The black and white print creates a cool look and can be combined in many ways.