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b. 1954, Germany

Walter Dahn Biography

The notion that art is nothing less than a model for freedom, is again apparent in Walter Dahn’s screen prints from 2014, for which he uses silk and emulsion paint. The found imagery, textual fragments and slogans which these works are based on, often appear vaguely familiar to the viewer. A photograph of an early ethnological expedition to Australian Aborigines is combined with an album cover for the Scottish indie band Primal Scream, the unequivocal slogan “Punk is the sound of my soul” with a photo of a follower of the Indian Naga cult proudly riding naked on a horse, and Oscar Wilde’s well-known bon mot “We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” with a photograph of one of the first woman surfers in America. Dahn’s life-long interest in music, which was already an important point of reference in his early works, becomes increasingly foregrounded in the most recent output. The name of the band Lonesome Savages is combined with a “shoe tossing” image, an allusion to street art and hip hop culture. The work Three records melds iconic elements from three famous album covers by The Smiths, the Sex Pistols and The National.

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In the three decades between the two groups of work Dahn not only experimented with such artistic media as film and photography, but also ultimately abandoned painting, which he had challenged for such a long time. Even if it never came to a rupture in his artistic project, a break with the medium appeared inevitable. The turning away from painting occurred gradually. For a long time Dahn’s screen prints looked like painting, the screen painted with quasi-painterly gestures. Later imagery, painted with the assistance of an overhead projector, imitated almost exactly the look of screen-printing. For Dahn the current screen prints are also nothing less than the logical continuation of his painting, a perpetuation, which has nonetheless been achieved by non-painterly means. These new works too are largely unique pieces. The prints are sustained by their colouring, their lineal melody, the balance of their painterly surfaces, their subtle humour and dense content. They are emanations of a life lived. Pictorial emanations, calmly informed by observations of the beauty that we chance upon in the course of our lives, which will subsequently haunt our minds like an echo.

Text courtesy Sprüth Magers.

Walter Dahn Featured Artworks

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Untitled (Heaven adores you) by Walter Dahn contemporary artwork mixed media
Walter DahnUntitled (Heaven adores you), 2016Gouache and silkscreen on nettle cloth and cotton
90 x 65 cm
Sprüth Magers Enquire
Self Portrait by Walter Dahn contemporary artwork mixed media
Walter DahnSelf Portrait, 2005Tempera, stamp and silk screen on cardboard
57 x 56 cm
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Les Enfants Sauvage by Walter Dahn contemporary artwork mixed media
Walter DahnLes Enfants Sauvage, 2014Gouache and silk screen on linen
121 x 86.2 cm
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Im Herbst (harvest) #1 by Walter Dahn contemporary artwork mixed media
Walter DahnIm Herbst (harvest) #1, 2014Silk screen and Gouache on nettle cloth
90 x 75 cm
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Rituals in Time (2014 Version) by Walter Dahn contemporary artwork print
Walter DahnRituals in Time (2014 Version), 2014Gouache and silkscreen on nettle cloth
52 x 56 cm
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Shut Down #1 by Walter Dahn contemporary artwork print
Walter DahnShut Down #1, 2014Gouache and silkscreen on linen
66 x 101 cm
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What It Is, What It Is by Walter Dahn contemporary artwork print
Walter DahnWhat It Is, What It Is, 2014Silkscreen and gouache on silk
90 x 60 cm
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He Had a Hat by Walter Dahn contemporary artwork print
Walter DahnHe Had a Hat, 2014Gouache and silkscreen on canvas
91 x 51 cm
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Walter Dahn Recent Exhibitions

Walter Dahn Represented By

Sprüth Magers contemporary art gallery in Berlin, Germany Sprüth Magers Berlin, London, Los Angeles
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