Walk Ways brings together a selection of works by a diverse group of artists who explore the theme of walking as an action and/or as a metaphor. These works—made in a variety of studio and post-studio settings by younger as well as established artists—examine walking as a purposeful or meandering activity that unites physical and mental freedom. Walking in cities may be understood in sociopolitical terms, with references to tourism, commuting, surveillance, or the Situationist dérive (a mode of attentive city walking). In the rural environment, the focus shifts to explorations of leisure, pilgrimage, and interactions with nature.
Walk Ways presents video work, photography, drawing, sculpture, and notebooks, including Tom Marioni’s “performance drawing” made by taping a sheet of paper to a wall and attaching colored pencils to his body, and then repeatedly walking close enough to the wall to create a series of lines on the paper; Martin Kersels’s series of photographs of himself tripping on a Los Angeles sidewalk; a surveillance video made by Janine Antoni and Paul Ramirez-Jonas, documenting themselves following each other on the beach; Rudolf Stingel’s walked-on styrofoam paintings; and François Morelli’s Transatlantic Walk, which commemorates the fortieth anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima.
Informed by their own physical experience, as well as rich examples from literature (Henry David Thoreau, Walter Benjamin, Bruce Chatwin, et al.) and art history (such as Eadweard Muybridge’s photographic documents of human and animal locomotion), these diverse artists have focused on “the walk” as a means of commenting on human agency, politics, geography, and history.