Wols: Circus Wols, Hommage
Edited by Olaf Metzel. Text by Öyvind Fahlström, Olaf Metzel, Roberto Ohrt.
Alfred Otto Wolfgang Schulze, known as Wols (1913–1951), is one of abstract painting’s best-kept secrets, yet one of its most influential practitioners. Wols helped to pioneer the French style of abstraction known as Art Informel, or Tachism, alongside the likes of Jean Dubuffet, Jean Fautrier, Roberto Matta, Mathieu and Henri Michaux. This style of painting developed in tandem with Surrealism, extending the latter’s Symbolist inheritance into strange, nervous or dreamlike mark-making and calligraphic gestures, eventually producing a highly poetic European counterpart to Abstract Expressionism. Wols’ oil and watercolor abstractions are both the epitome and the forerunner of Art Informel, but the complexity of his output, which also encompassed portrait and fashion photography and writing, makes him a more elusive and fascinating figure. This volume compiles works by artists whom Wols has inspired or drawn upon, from Mark Tobey, Guy Debord and Raymond Hains to Marlene Dumas and Wolfgang Tillmans, alongside works by Wols himself.