Walter Giers

Year of birth, place
1937, Mannweiler, Germany
Year of death, place
2016, Schwäbisch-Gmünd, Germany
Role at the ZKM
Artist of the Collection

Walter Giers was born in Mannweiler in 1939. Since 1955 he has been a jazz musician. In 1963 he completed his studies at the Werkkunstschule in Schwäbisch Gmünd, initially working as an industrial designer. He exhibited his first work as an artist in 1969. In 1992-93 he taught at the Staatliche Hochschule für Gestaltung, Karlsruhe. He lives in Schwäbisch Gmünd.

The artist, designer, and jazz musician Walter Giers (1937–2016) is one of the most important exponents of media art from Baden-Württemberg who produced electronic light-sound works in the tradition of kinetic art. In 1969 Giers embarked on making his first non-functional objects out of electronic components. These were objects that offered the spectator a playfully active role: by turning various switches, he or she was able to bring about a sequence of dynamic movements. In 1973 Giers abandoned the tactile principle of consciously spectator-generated movement in the objects he made and started to integrate random generators. As a result the works appeared to evolve a life of their own as impulses set off by the light, sounds or movements around them were translated into optically or acoustically perceptible alterations.The many light and sound sculptures to result from this approach, combining invariably clear outer structures with lyrical or meditative qualities, are intended to set off a range of associations in the mind and emotions in the spectator. Works using light fields serve to link large spaces together; and sound objects, with their acoustic effects, intrude almost aggressively into the display space.

​Individual exhibitions (selection)
1969 Galerie Reckermann, Cologne
1970 Galerie Edith Wahlandt, Schwäbisch Gmünd
1973 Lucy Milton Gallery, London; Galerie d'Art Moderne, Basle
1974 Kunsthalle Heilbronn; Städtische Kunstsammlung, Gelsenkirchen
1983 Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
1990 Museum Electrum der Elektrizitätswerke Hamburg
1995 »5 x eine Frage des Glaubens«, Werkbund Karlsruhe; Kloster Adelberg
1996 Städtische Galerie am Laien, Ditzingen
1997 Galerie Edith Wahlandt, Stuttgart
Group exhibitions (selection)
1968 Kunstverein, Schwäbisch Gmünd
1974 »Electric Art from Europe«, Musée d'Art Contemporain, Montreal, und The Electric Gallery Toronto
1985 »Vom Klang der Bilder«, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart
1991 »MultiMediale 2«, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe
1992 »Moving Image - Electronic Art«, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona
1993 »MultiMediale 3«, Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe
1994 »Züge, Züge«, Städtische Galerie Göppingen
1996 »Landeskunstwochen Baden-Württemberg«, Museum der Stadt Ettlingen
1997 »Electronic Art«, Kongresszentrum Davos; »Magie der Zahl«, Staatsgalerie Stuttgart

[Frauke Syamken, 1997]