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quotation on adolf wölfli

„Time stands still, the world holds its breath. In overproduction a lonely figure reveals the myth of impotence in the period of civilization, the inability, charged with lust and fear, to let himself go. It is not by chance that for Wölfli the supreme number is Rage [Zorn]. But, like everything supreme, open to scorn, ridicule, and resignation.

No catastrophe without Idyll,
no idyll without catastrophe.“


Harald Szeemann, Swiss curator

“The triumphator [Wölfli], at one with the victim, here in all his greatness; never before has the front of the coin been in such great contrast with its rear: one side ithyphallically chasing unfortunate little girls, the other side cheerful even though locked up forever, sleeves rolled up, chewing tobacco in his cheek, standing in front of one of his sculptural works, whose full ensemble represents one of the three or four most important oeuvres of the century. ‘And what is not shall be. Amen, amen: Amen. And it shall be.’"

André Breton, French surrealist


"The works such as Wölfli’s break the bounds of art history and art-historical discourse, or at least profoundly question them, and that it is our task to adapt our interpretive systems to fit these works, not the other way around. Herein lay and continues to lie the explosive force of Wölfli’s oeuvre: it is a foreign element that challenges our minds and fundamentally changes the way we see the world."

Daniel Baumann, curator of the Adolf Wölfli Foundation
 

"Apparently that kind of ordering which is the most irrepressible among the artistic powers, is awakened most urgently by two different inner states: by the consciousness of overabundance and by the full collapse in a person: which gives rise to yet another overabundance."

Rainer Maria Rilke in a letter to Lou Andreas-Salomé after reading Morgenthaler’s monograph on Adolf Wölfli

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