Kathryn Walter

Fool’s Gold
Installation, performance

Entartic Shelf Festival: 23 June – 3 July, 1995


A performance installation by Kathryn Walter

"This project looked to both the past and the present context of this historic site by referencing the medieval tradition of alchemy as well as the contemporary changing economy in Eastern Europe at the time of its making.

Projections of water flowing and fire burning were seamless film loops that set the stage for this tableau in which the artist as alchemist transformed stones collected from the surrounding landscape into a “pile of gold”. The stones were washed, painted gold, then piled on a plinth in a gesture repeated over the course of the festival. The pile of gold stones accumulated and viewers were invited to take one, its value open to interpretation.

_The idea of Fool’s Gold was meant to question how value is determined. Who is the fool? the maker or the taker? Are we all implicated in a capitalist economy that thrives on its own contradictions? Here, the artist could be seen as a jester playing a role in a cautionary tale".

K.W. (2017)

Two 16mm film projections (each 100 x 150cm), work table, chair, task light, stones, steel bucket and gold paint

Kathryn Walter (b. 1963, Canada) has maintained a studio practice since 1990, working at the intersection of visual art, design and material culture. She has created site-specific installations in galleries and public places across Canada, and participated in visual art residencies in Finland, New York, Quebec and Banff Centre for the Arts. In 2000 she founded her company FELT as a studio and a label to explore modern industrial felt through exhibitions, a product line and feature wall installations, collaborating with architects across Canada and United States. Walter has found a balance between a viable and critical art practice with some projects exploring form and texture, and others using irony and humour to raise questions about the world we live in.