A COLLECTION of small sculptures by the self-taught Jewish artist Friedrich Nagler will go on display at Pallant House Gallery’s De’Longhi Print Room next month. The showcase aims to engage audiences with outsider art in order to bring more awareness to work by self-taught artists.
Inspired by the horrors of the Holocaust, the exhibition focuses on a series of small-scale sculptural heads which were carved, cast and assembled from materials such as bone, metal, ivory, plastic and non-traditional materials such as bread. It will be the first time that these works will be displayed in a public gallery. The arrangement will create the impression of a cabinet of curiosities (or Wunderkammer in German).
Born in Vienna in 1920, Nagler fled from Nazi-occupied Austria to come to the UK in 1939. He began to produce his unique work in his Hampshire home in 1945 where he used the by-products and off-cuts from various workplaces. By the early 1960s, Nagler began using clay, wrought-iron, ivory and even animal bones to create sculptures of animals, crucifixes and stylised faces. Towards the end of Nagler’s life, he created larger but simpler abstract constructions of masks and animals from polystyrene, plastic tubes and containers.
Nagler refused to sell his work or have it exhibited during his lifetime. However since his death in 2009, his work has been shown in small shows. The show at Pallant House Gallery is the biggest exhibition of his work to date.
by Rebecca Acres
Friedrich Nagler: Wunderkammer opens June 30 and runs until October 16, 2016 at Pallant House Gallery 9 North Pallant, Chichester West Sussex
Tel: 01243 774557