Über das Schreiben

Franz von Saalfeld, Bert Rebhandl and others
Goldstein Galerie, Frankfurt am Main

Über das Schreiben
About Writing

For many visual artists, writing is more than just jotting down thoughts about one’s work or an author’s text about the artistic work. Rather, writing takes place within the visual work and becomes, as in the case of Cy Twombly, for example, a part of the picture narrative as a trace or, as in the conceptual works of Jenny Holzer, Lawrence Weiner, or On Kawara, for example, the actual picture: text fragments or statements as sculptures, a piece of information as a painting. Here, quite naturally, the text as literary material becomes part of the repertoire of visual art and sometimes dissolves into it. Other contemporaries, in turn, touch much more clearly on literature in their works, including the Atelier Goldstein artist Franz von Saalfeld. In his strongly autobiographical work, writing in the sense of a pictorial description or theatrical narrative is of central importance. In the thematic series “On Writing,” Goldstein Gallery addresses these particular aspects of writing and language as material in visual art.

About Writing is one of twelve themes Goldstein Gallery has used since mid-2020 to address the practices, issues, and aspects of making art.



The film writer Jean-Luc Godard
Bert Rebhandl

November 16, 7:30 p.m.

Jean-Luc Godard is the writer among filmmakers. Literature constantly appears in his films – as a quotation, as a point of reference but often also as a sign, as a book. Writing itself plays an important role. “Inserts comment on the action, the title and end credits are not merely informative, but visual poetry.” Volker Pantenberg says that one could “interpret his entire work as a compensatory gesture by a failed writer.”

In his superb biography “Jean-Luc Godard. The Permanent Revolutionary,” film scholar and FAZ critic Bert Rebhandl also explores these questions. In lecture and conversation and with the help of examples, he presents Godard as a film writer.

Moderation: Jakob Hoffmann



Speaking in Absence

Open workshop: November 17-27
Opening Hours: Wednesday-Saturday 12-6 p.m.

The title of this workshop refers to writing as leaving verbatim speech. Reading written texts aloud to one’s self has long been a common and also largely the only practice for decoding them. An era of ever-changing reading habits.
The blending of speech, image and text forms in everyday digital communication is creating a new form of reading.

This workshop is also about leaving literal speech. Visitors can hold conversations with quotes from their own chats and messages, respond to narratives left behind, respond to them, contradict them. In this way, abstract dialogues are to emerge around themes that only form within the situation.

Visitors or passers-by can participate spontaneously and register directly in the gallery.



Event and exhibition
»Er strahlt und lächelt ein bisschen und schaut von oben auf alle runter«

Staged reading with Franz von Saalfeld and Atelier Goldstein
November 30, 7 pm

Dec. 1-18, Wednesday-Saturday 12 p.m.-6 p.m.

Atelier Goldstein artist Franz von Saalfeld was born in 1961 in Ingelheim am Rhein, Germany. Growing up in a family of artists, von Saalfeld has created an extensive body of artistic work since his early youth, portraying his biography, as well as everyday life in a small German town, in a poetic and enigmatic manner. In his descriptions of these biographical and surreal scenes, writing is naturally always part of the picture, whether as a subtitle, a caption, in a speech bubble, or as a full-page narrative on the back of a watercolor. It expands, dislocates, or orders the stories of his works on paper, sometimes resulting in series with a fixed sequence.

This proximity to literature culminates in Franz von Saalfeld’s stage play “Hans Ulrich,” which comprises over 215 double-sided handwritten pages. To date, nearly 100 meticulously crafted stage models have been created for this play. On the occasion of his 60th birthday, the Goldstein Gallery will host a staged reading on November 30, in which selected scenes will be performed. This reading will be framed with a befitting atmosphere, stage models and Franz von Saalfeld on the trombone.

In the exhibition that follows, von Saalfeld shows watercolors, texts and stage models. In many of his works there is a strong reference to literature. Thus, he uses writing in his works for dialogues and thoughts of his characters as well as for the lettering of stores, street and place names or as titling of a scenery. The way he spells and phrases creates word-painting constructs and often gives the impression of literal speech. This creates a strong immersion in the pictorial world, the artist’s thoughts become readable like an abstract commentary.