Austria, 1936 - 2001
After a troubled childhood and adolescence, August Walla was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was finally admitted – along with his mother – to the Gugging hospital, near Vienna, in 1970. Resident of the Haus der Künstler (House of Artists), he will remain there for the rest of his life. He expressed himself through photography, installation or the typing of manifestos. A key figure in art brut, collected by David Bowie, Walla is present in a number of collections around the world, including those of the MoMa (New York) or the Milwaukee Art Museum (Wisconsin). 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. 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.