n De Arte - Walter Battiss : Gentle Anarchist. A retrospective exhibition of the works of Walter Whall Battiss (1906-1982), Karin Skawran (ed) : book review




From the outset, this carefully produced catalogue offers a consistent tone of whimsy. This does not compromise its integrity; it is obviously an intentional element to the project and, up to a point, considering the catalogue's projected popular readership, it works. Walter Battiss was clearly a man who enjoyed the ardent love and admiration of his colleagues, and the text of this catalogue is interspersed with anecdote and fond recollection as well as factually based essays. Given the status accorded to him and invested in him in a retrospective of this scope undertaken by the Standard Bank Gallery, however, it does feel a little uncomfortable for the project's catalogue to be as anecdotal as this. With a foreword by Linda Givon and an introduction by Karin Skawran, the catalogue opens in a particularly eccentric manner: the spell is cast for an exploration of Battiss's sense of the idiosyncratic, the zany and the spontaneous.


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