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.
photo | brut : collection bruno decharme et compagnie, les rencontres d’arles in collaboration with abcd and the american folk art museum (new york), mécanique générale, from july 1st to september 22nd, 2019.
souvenirs de voyage. la collection d'antoine de galbert, grenoble museum, from april 27th to july 28th, 2019.
do the write thing 2: read between the lines, christian berst art brut gallery, from april 26th to june 2nd, 2018.
heterotopias : architectural dwellings, curator : matali crasset, christian berst art brut gallery, from december 2nd, 2017 to january 20th, 2018.
the museum of everything, mona (museum of old and new art), berriedale, australia, from june 10th, 2017 to april 2sd, 2018.
gugging! the crazed in the hot zone, christian berst art brut gallery, paris, from september 2sd to october 14th, 2017.
fotografie: lejo & walla, gugging gallery, österreich, austria, from september 29th to november 23rd, 2016.
art brut : une histoire de mythologies individuelles, curator : christian berst, oliva creative factory, sao joao da madeira, potugal, from june 18t, 2016 to february 26th, 2017.
sur le fil, by jean-hubert martin, christian berst art brut gallery & jean brolly gallery, paris, from april 9th to may 22th, 2016.
soit 10 ans, états intérieurs, christian berst art brut gallery, paris, from september 12th to october 21th, 2015.
art brut live, dox centre for contemporary art, prague, czech republic, from march 27th to august 17th, 2015.
august walla, ecce walla, christian berst art brut gallery, paris, from april 18th to may 23rd, 2015.
art brut, abcd/bruno decharme collection, la maison rouge, paris, from october 17th, 2014 to january 18th, 2015.
raw vision, 25 years of art brut, halle saint pierre, paris, from september 18th, 2013 to august 22th, 2014.
walla! weltallende, gugging museum, klosterneuburg, austria, from march 29th to october 28th, 2012.
accidental genius, milwaukee art museum, milwaukee, united-states, from february 10th to may 6th, 2012.
gugging, un foyer pour l'art brut, christian berst gallery, paris, from april 07th, 2006 to may 27th, 2006.
inner worlds outside, travelling exhibition, exhibition room of "la caixa", madrid; whitechapel gallery, london; irish museum of modern art, dublin, 2006.
écriture en délire, collection de l'art brut, lausanne, switzerland, from february 12th to september 26th, 2004.
parallel visions: modern artists and outsider art, los angeles county museum of art, los angeles, united-states, 1992.
photo|brut, collection bruno decharme & compagnie, paris, flammarion ed., abcd and the american folk art museum, 2019.
l'art brut, martine lusardy, citadelles & mazenod, paris, 2018.
art brut : la pulsion creativa al desnudo, graciela garcia, sans soleil ed., vitoria-gasteiz, 2018.
"graphomanies brutes", claire margat, art press 2, n°49, august, september, october 2018, pp.52-56.
exhibition catalogue, do the write thing 2 : read between the lines, christian berst art brut ed., paris, 2018.
revue multitudes, n°69, winter, 2017.
exhibition catalogue, heterotopias : architectural dwellings, christian berst art brut ed., paris, 2017.
exhibition catalogue, gugging! the crazed in the hot zone, ed. christian berst art brut, paris, 2017.
exhibition catalogue, fotografie: lejo & walla, gugging gallery, 2016.
exhibition catalogue, sur le fil by jean-hubert martin, christian berst art brut ed., paris, 2016.
exhibition catalogue, soit 10 ans, états intérieurs, christian berst art brut ed., paris, 2015.
exhibition catalogue, august walla, ecce walla, christian berst art brut ed., paris, 2015.
exhibition catalogue, art brut live, dox center, prague, 2015.
der künstler und sein bild der welt, johann feilacher, residenz verlag, sankt pölten, 2015.
exhibition catalogue, art brut collection abcd / bruno decharme, la maison rouge, paris, 2015.
ver-rückt: art brut aus der sammlung dagmar und manfred chobot, Straihammer, Roswitha, Dagmar Chobot and Manfred Chobot, 2014.
raw vision 25 ans d’art brut, martine lusardy, john maizels, halle saint pierre, paris, 2013.
exhibition catalogue, walla.! weltallende, gugging museum, klosterneuburg, 2012.
"artist of the universe", johann feilacher, in raw vision n°75, 2012.
l'art brut, françoise monnin, scala, paris, 2012.
exhibition catalogue, sous le vent de l’art brut, charlotte zander collection, martine lusardy, jean-louis lanoux, halle-saint-pierre, paris, 2010.
exhibition catalogue, world transformers, the art of the outsiders, hatje cantz, ostfildern, 2010.
« art/brut.! gugging.! now.! », charles russell, in raw vision n°70, 2010.
« l'art brut aujourd'hui », in artension, hors série n°4, septembre 2010.
outsider art, from the margins to the marketplace, david maclagan, reaktion books, london, 2009.
collecting madness, outsider art from the dammann collection, thomas röske, bettina brand-claussen, gerhard dammann, wunderhorn, heidelberg, 2006.
exhibition catalogue, inner worlds outside,"la caixa" fondation, el viso ed., madrid, 2006
gugging 1946-1986, leo navratil, brandstätter, vienna, 1997.
exhibition catalogue, parallel visions: modern artists and outsider art, tuchman / maurice et carol s. eliel eds., los angeles, 1992.
august walla, sein leben & seine kunst, leo navratil, delphi ed., nordlingen, 1988.
"august walla", thomas breymann, 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)
- Antoine de Galbert collection, Paris (France)
- Treger Saint Silvestre collection, Porto (Portugal)
- Dammann collection, Bâle (Switzerland)
- The Museum of Modern Art, New-york (United States)
- Hannah Rieger collection, Vienne (Austria)
- Gugging Museum, Österreich (Austria)
- Hervé Lancelin collection, Luxembourg (Luxembourg)
selective press review
- graphomanies brutes authors claire margat in art press, third quarter 2018.
- l’envolée de l’art brut authors éric tariant in le temps, november 13, 2017.
- gugging ! authors aurélie romanacce in l'oeil, october 2017.
- 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.