The Tenderness of Wolves
Artist book
Published by Krispin Hee, Samuel Bänziger, Thomas Galler and Georg Rutishauser
48 pages, 40 illustrations in color, 35 x 25,4 cm, hardcover
Designed by Krispin Hee and Samuel Bänziger
edition fink, Zürich, ISBN 978-3-03746-221-8

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The Tenderness of Wolves presents an excerpt of forty drawings from the group of works Prison Drawings, which was created between 2006 and 2017.
Prison Drawings includes conceptual illustrative work as well as a digital collection of several thousand drawings which the artist appropriated from the Internet over the last ten years. All drawings from the collections were produced courtesy of inmates over the course of their imprisonment or custody. Many hail from American prisons and represent drawings from the middle of the last century to the present day. A cult for items from the perpetrators’ own hands has given rise to a market for murder memorabilia — also known as murderabilia — which has become established with the emergence of the Internet; alongside drawings it offers letters, hair, clothing, and miscellaneous items and in doing so has made this collection possible in the first place.
The collection of Prison Drawings serves Thomas Galler as a stock fund from which he determines a selection of templates and picture typologies based on various criteria and transposes them into his own drawings. Presently the illustrative oeuvre of Prison Drawings comprises around two hundred pieces and can be regarded as a work in progress. Appropriation is a common thread that runs through the collection and drawings, also in a parallelism that, on the one hand, references Galler’s strategy and, on the other, is reflected in the templates’ motifs. Film, comics, fantasy, literature, pornography, and also classical genres of art such as landscape, still life, nudes, and portraits have here an essential influence on picture production; with both contemporary and historical exhibits from the 1960s and 1970s, they also represent a discourse with artefacts from pop culture. By contrast other positions are located in an Art Brut context or an Outsider Art tradition and have developed a raw poetic language from the very fact of their isolation.
With The Tenderness of Wolves, Thomas Galler poses a series of questions that engage with the originality and existence of an artistic work in and of itself. Within the collection and the works resulting from it, one could also speak of the double or parallel existence of a drawing, one which materialises again in a different context thus bringing the reproducibility, the relationship of original and copy, and the associated value into a confrontational alliance.