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Nikolaus Gansterer & Klaus Speidel: Playing with Ludwig

Donnerstag, 1.6.2023, 19.00 Uhr

On the occasion of the publication of the book "Playing with Ludwig" by Nikolaus Gansterer and Klaus Speidel, two performative activations are planned:


1. Zerlesung und Tischgespräch / Dereading and table talk

Wednesday 31.5. 2023, 6 p.m.
at AIL (Angewandte Interdisciplinary Lab), Otto Wagner-Postsparkasse, Georg-Coch-Platz 2, 1010 Vienna.

Table Talk: Nikolaus Gansterer, Klaus Speidel, Ruth Anderwald, Gerhild Steinbuch and  Alexander Damianisch.

2. Umzeichnung und Tischperformance / Undrawing and table game 

Thursday 1. 6.2023,7 p.m.
at the Secession, Friedrichstraße 12, 1010 Vienna.

Performance: Gansterer and Speidel invite you to the first Viennese Language Game Lab at the Secession, where they will work with drawings and objects based on a remark by Ludwig Wittgenstein, so that in the end a temporary installation is created according to the method of 'Playing with Ludwig'.


How do colours relate to memory?

How does language relate to the world (and vice versa)?

Can the invisible, such as thoughts, atmospheres or pain, be grasped through art?


Artist Nikolaus Gansterer and philosopher Klaus Speidel discuss these and similar questions in the newly published book Playing with Ludwig, Figures of Thinking, published by Éditions Dilecta Paris. Taking Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations as their starting point, Gansterer and Speidel have developed various works and formats, talking, drawing, assembling or doing all at the same time. Rather than just presenting results, the book documents the joint working process in numerous transcripts, which also reflect the genesis of the book itself. The work thus opens with a conversation between the authors and the book’s designer Grégoire Romanet, where the first graphic ideas are discussed. It ends with the dialogue „How to close a book”, which prepares the final series of images. Exhibition photographs and works from the first exhibition documenting the research project Figures de pensée at the Centre d’art contemporain Les Tanneries have been annotated, continued or completed in drawings.


Different styles and methodologies, which unfold in the chapters of the book, correspond to different methods and themes in Wittgenstein’s work. Two additional precise essays by Eric Degoute, director of Les Tanneries, and Roger Malbert, curator and drawing expert, elaborate on the dynamic relationship between thinking and drawing and reading as a form of friendship. In the series “Philosophical Deviations”, Nikolaus Gansterer draws on various paragraphs of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, exploring various forms and procedures. Gansterer explains: “It’s important to say that none of these drawings are illustrations. I try to record how the text operates within me, how it influences my ways of thinking and feeling and then to take this movement as a springboard for drawing. It’s not so much about what is being said, but how it moves a reader.”

At the centre of the book stand the paragraphs of the Philosophical Investigations themselves, to which the various works and conversations in the book refer, annotated in writing and drawing by Klaus Speidel. Memories of Colour, Just imagine a Rod and Now as One Thing, Now as Another are based on collections of hues, rods, and boxes (respectively). As Speidel, who obtained a PhD in philosophy from Sorbonne University, explains: “In our joint work, I am also interested in exploring the limits of philosophical abstraction. If we fail in our attempt at artistic concretization, this failure can in itself convey new insights in the sense of what Wittgenstein called ‚going against the frontiers of language’. I believe that art production enables philosophical insights.” This interference between philosophy and art can be experienced concretely in the titular series Playing with Ludwig. In this performative experimental arrangement, two or more people sit opposite each other. Starting from a text, a new language game unfolds with drawings and objects.

Info about the book:
Playing with Ludwig: Figures of Thinking / Jouer avec Ludwig: Figures de pensée,
Nikolaus Gansterer & Klaus Speidel
Publisher: Éditions Dilecta, Paris
Year 2022
Authors: Nikolaus Gansterer, Klaus Speidel, Eric Degoute, Roger Malbert
Pages: 160
Size: 21 x 28 cm
Language: bilingual English / French
Graphic design: Gregoire Romanet
ISBN: 978-2-37372-165-2


For the book presentation please use the side entrance at the back of the building.


Vereinigung bildender Künstler*innen Wiener Secession
Friedrichstraße 12
1010 Vienna
Tel. +43-1-587 53 07