Swiss artist Martin Disler (1949–1996) was a self-taught painter, draughtsman, and sculptor, as well as a poet. Over the course of his career, his work evolves from clearly recognisable motifs towards the utter disintegration of figures. Especially his later paintings owe their power, as well as their size, to his particular way of working: In a highly physical process, the artist would alternate between applying and removing paint, moulding matter with brushes and knives as well as with his hands and nails until his body merged with the work. The materialisation of Disler’s physical thinking, a ‘theatre of survival’, places him in a fascinating dialogue with Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and the great expressionist’s work.
This new monograph, published in conjunction with an exhibition at Kirchner Museum Davos, focuses on the last decade of Disler’s career and relates his output from the period to Kirchner’s art, thus revealing similarities between the two artists. The essays explore the importance of the human body and its role in the artist’s creative process as well as aspects such as movement and dance, gesture, expression, abstraction and figuration.