Ana Santos & Wolfgang Stoerchle - February 19 * 7/10 pm -
Wolfgang Stoerchle is a somewhat concealed artistic figure of the early 70s who left a certain but little
advertised mark on a generation of Californian artists, especially through videotapes and performances
involving his body as raw material. Born in 1944 in Baden Baden (Germany), Wolfgang moved to Canada with his family in 1959. In 1962, he left Toronto with his brother on a horse, traveling in the saddle for 11 months across the breadth of the United States to finally arrive to Los Angeles. Wolfgang would eventually claim this journey as his first artwork.
Shortly after completing subsequent studies at the University of Oklahoma and at the University of California in Santa Barbara, Wolfgang became one of the inaugural teachers at CalArts (where his students included James Welling, Matt Mullican, David Salle, Paul McCarthy and Eric Fischl). This very productive time in
Wolfgang’s work saw him adopt the Portapak camera and turn to video.
Playing with rudimentary but fundamental actions to interrogate changing forms of state and status,
Wolfgang used often his own body as an expressive instrument. His performances, for camera or live
audiences, played with ingredients of movement and stasis, strength and fragility, provocation and humour. Clothes, dirt, physical exertion, food and his penis would all make frequent appearances in his work.
Wolfgang was a visible and significant presence within the LA art scene of the time, but after relocation to New York in 1973 he eventually grew disaffected with the art world. He spent two years on numerous journeys and retreats– studying his dreams, experimenting with psychedelics and living as an ascetic in the Mexican mountains – before eventually settling in Santa Fe, where he slowly returned to making art. In 1976, Wolfgang died in a car accident at the age of 32.
Two of his video works are on show at Ampersand alongside a sculpture by Portuguese artist Ana Santos (1982), as part of an ongoing re-evaluation of Wolfgang’s practice and its legacy today.
Shoe Piece, Wolfgang Stoerchle
videotape, black and white, sound
Shoe Piece is part of a series of videos Wolfgang recorded in his studio between 1970 and 1972 whilst a teacher at CalArts. Here a parade of shoes (alternatively feminine and masculine) stamp down on plastic cups that are constantly being replaced after having been dragged out of the scene with a scraping sound.
Sue Turning, Wolfgang Stoerchle
video tape, black and white, sound
Sue Turning is a video made during a workshop at the American Dance Festival (Summer, 1973), held at Connecticut College, and organized by Allegra Fuller Snyder (daughter of Buckminster Fuller). For this piece, Wolfgang used three fixed cameras to film the dancer Carolyn Pfaffl, also known as ‘Sue’, from her head to her toes as she stood on a rotating platform. We could refer to the video as a dance without movement. The video is notable for having more professional production values than normally seen in Wolfgang’s work and is the last known video he made.
Untitled, Ana Santos
stainless steel, polyester yarn
297 x 64 x 36 cm