Born on June 22, 1936 in Klosterneuberg in Lower Austria, August Walla remained an only son and had a very tight bond with his mother, who raised him as if her were a girl, hoping thus to spare him being enlisted in the army. He imagined for a long time that Hitler was his father, not having known his own, who died during his early childhood. Incapable of adapting to school, he was placed in a specialized institution. At the age of nine, after having lived through the traumatizing experience of losing sleep for three months, he wrote in his school notebooks: “Everything that is red is diabolical.” The punching bag of his classmates, he remained helpless, regretting he was not a girl. At age 16, after having threatened to commit suicide and to burn down his house, he was committed for four years to a psychiatric hospital where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia. Upon his departure, his mother dedicated herself entirely to him. But in 1970, August was again admitted to the psychiatric ward, in the Gugging hospital, near Vienna. Sixteen years later, he became one of the members of the House of Artists (Haus der Künstler), created a few years earlier by Doctor Navratil outside the hospital, and where he would remain until the end of his life.
Like Wölfli, Walla filled pages with writing and when the sheet of paper turned out to be too narrow, he covered the walls of his room with drawings and inscriptions. Sometimes, he even painted on trees or on roads, only to then photograph his messages with a camera he had painted green because he hated black. Walla constantly invented imaginary languages inspired by his readings of foreign language dictionaries. Writing and drawing are inseparable in his work, covered in obsessive symbols and which develops as a continuum, of which each part seems inseparable from the ensemble.
For almost 25 years, August Walla has been considered a “classic” of Art Brut and, as such, appears in the most important public and private collections.
Fotografie: Lejo & Walla, Gugging galerie, 29 september - 23 November, 2016.
Art Brut: a history of individual mythologies, curator: Christian Berst, Oliva Creative Factory, Sao Joao da Madeira, June 18, 2016 - February 26, 2017
On the Wire by Jean-Hubert Martin, christian berst art brut gallery & Jean Brolly galler, from April 09 to May 22, 2016
preTENse, gallery christian berst art brut, Paris, from September 12 to October 21, 2015
Art brut live, DOX Centre for contemporary art, Prague, March 27th - August 17th 2015.
art brut, collection abcd/Bruno Decharme. La Maison Rouge, Paris, October 17th 2014 -January 18th 2015.
Raw Vision, 25 years of Art Brut, La Halle Saint Pierre, Paris, September 18th 2013 - August 22nd 2014.
walla.! weltallende. Gugging Museum, Klosterneuburg, March 29th - October 28th 2012.
Accidental Genius, Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee, February 10 - May 6, 2012.
Gugging, Un foyer pour l'art brut, galerie christian berst, Paris, April 7th - May 27th 2006.
Inner Worlds Outside, travelling exhibition, Sala de Exposiciones de la Fundacíon "La Caixa," Madrid; WhiteChapel Gallery, Londres; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, 2006.
Ecriture en délire, Collection de l'Art Brut, Lausanne, 12 February - 26 September 2004.
Parallel Visions: Modern Artists and Outsider Art, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1992.
Fotografie: Lejo & Walla, exhibitioncatalog, Gugging galerie, 2016.
On the wire by Jean-Hubert Martin, exhibition catalogue (09/04/2016 - 22/05/2016. christian berst art brut & Jean Brolly) Paris, christian berst art brut 2016
preTENse, exhibition catalogue (09/12-10/10/2015, christian berst art brut), Paris, christian berst art brut, 2015
August Walla, ecce walla, catalogue d'exposition, christian berst art brut, Paris, 2015
Catalogue d'exposition "Art brut live", DOX, Prague, March 27th - August 17th 2015
Johann Feilacher, Navratrils Künstler-Gästebuch, Der Künstler und sein Bild der Welt, Residenz Verlag, Sankt Pölten, 2015.
Catalogue d'exposition, "Art brut collection ABCD / Bruno Decharme, Paris, La maison rouge, 17 octobre 2014 - 18 janvier 2015.
Martine Lusardy, John Maizels, Raw Vision 25 ans d’Art brut, Paris, Halle Saint Pierre, 2013.
Catalogue d'exposition, "walla.! weltallende", Klosterneuburg, Gugging Museum, march 29th - october 28th 2012.
Johann Feilacher, "Artist of the universe", in Raw Vision n°75, 2012.
Françoise Monnin, L'art brut, Nouvelles éditions SCALA, Paris, 2012.
Sous le vent de l’Art Brut, Collection Charlotte Zander, catalogue d’exposition de la Halle-Saint-Pierre, textes de Martine Lusardy, Jean-Louis Lanoux, Paris, La Halle Saint Pierre, 2010.
World Transformers, The Art of the Outsiders, catalogue d’exposition (Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt, 24 September 2010 – 9 January 2011), Ostfildern, Hatje Cantz, 2010.
Charles Russell, « art/brut.! gugging.! now.! » in Raw Vision n°70, 2010.
« L'Art Brut aujourd'hui », Artension, hors série n°4, septembre 2010.
David Maclagan, Outsider Art, From the Margins to the Marketplace, London, Reaktion books, 2009.
Thomas Röske, Bettina Brand-Claussen, Gerhard Dammann, Collecting Madness, Outsider Art from the Dammann Collection, Heidelberg, Wunderhorn, 2006.
"Inner Worlds Outside", exhibition catalogue, Fundacíon "La Caixa," WhiteChapel Gallery, Irish Museum of Modern Art & Ediciones El Viso, Madrid, 2006.
Leo Navratil, Gugging 1946-1986, Brandstätter, Vienne, 1997.
Tuchman, Maurice et Carol S. Eliel, eds., "Parallel Visions: Modern Artists and Outsider Art", exhibition catalogue, Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, 1992.
Leo Natravil, August Walla, Sein Leben & seine Kunst, ed. Delphi Verlegt bei Franz Greno, Nordlingen, 1988.
Thomas Breymann, "August Walla", in L'art brut "Gugging", fascicule de l'art brut n°12, Lausanne, 1983.
- collection de l'Art brut, Lausanne (Switzerland)
- LaM, musée d'art moderne, d'art contemporain et d'art brut de Lille Métropole, Villeneuve d'Ascq (France)
- The Musgrave Kinley Outsider Art Collection, Manchester (Saint Pierre and Miquelon)
- Milwaukee Art Museum, Milwaukee (United States)
- Anthony Petullo Collection, Milwaukee (United States)
- Arnulf Rainer collection, Vienne (Austria)
- abcd collection, montreuil (France)
- Dammann collection, Bâle (Switzerland)
- The Museum of Modern Art, New-york (United States)
- Hannah Rieger collection, Vienne (Austria)
- Gugging Museum, Österreich (Austria)
selective press review
- A arte não se deita na cama que lhe preparam authors Ágata Xavier in Sabado, June 20 2016.
- champagne and art at christian berst galerie in Paris authors Shari in What we adore, May 27, 2015.
- Galerie Christian Berst presents the work of Austrian outsider artist August Walla authors in artdaily.org, April 20, 2015.
- August Walla : ecce Walla authors la rédaction in le Vadrouilleur urbain, April 16, 2015.
- August Walla : ecce Walla authors Clarisse Treilles in Actu Photo, April 16, 2015.
- Annonce de l'exposition : Gugging, un foyer pour l'art brut authors in animula vagula, April 5 2006.