August Walla was an only child. After the death of his father the relationship with his mother became symbiotic. Weak and defenseless, unable to adapt at school, he was admitted to a specialized institute. At the age of nine he could not sleep, a terrifying experience that lasted three months. At sixteen, he threatened to hang himself and set fire to the attic of his house. He was committed from 1952 to 1957 and diagnosed as schizophrenic. In the seventies, he was admitted to the psychiatric hospital in Gugging. Here he seems to have found peace and enjoyed great freedom. The walls and the ceiling of his room were completely covered with mythical figures and enigmatic symbols that populated his world. Walla collected objects he found in the garbage or on the roads ; he brought them back to life by covering them with inscriptions. He also collected dictionaries of foreign languages, invented new words which he combined according to his imagination, or changed the form of a letter to assign it a personal sense. He workes without a break until the entire sheet was filled.
SEE ALSO :
Navratil, Leo. August Walla. Sein Leben & seine Kunst. Nördlingen : Greno, 1988.
Navratil, Leo. Gugging 1946-1986. Vienna : Brandstätter, 1997.
Publications de la Collection de l’Art Brut, fascicule 12, Gugging. Lausanne, 1983.