Austrian sculptor, illustrator and architect Walter Pichler passed away Monday evening in his home at the age of 76. Known for his elaborate drawings of sculptures housed within sanctuary-like structures, Pichler used his work to marry elements of architecture and design.
Born in Deutschnofen, Italy, in 1936, Pichler began his career as an architect in Vienna in the 1950s, designing models for utopian cities alongside fellow Austrian architect Hans Hollein. Through this collaboration he developed an interest in sculpture and its relationship with architecture that would come to define his work throughout the rest of his career.
For his 1967 “Prototypes” series, Pichler created pieces employing a unique hybrid of sculpture, furniture and architecture. When worn, the works, such as TV Helmet/Portable Living Room (1967) became both an extension of the human body and an unsettling isolation cell. In 1971, Pichler bought a hillside farm in Burgenland, Austria. There, over the past 40 years, he was able to construct full-sized versions of many of his drawings and plans.
Pichler had solo exhibitions at Whitechapel Gallery, London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam; and Stadelschen Kunstinstitut, Frankfurt. He represented Austria in the 1982 Venice Biennale and participated in Documenta 4 and the fifth Paris Bienniale, both in 1968.