Le Crédac

Wolfgang Stoerchle

Curatorship: Alice Dusapin

Wolfgang Stoerchle is a rather confidential artistic figure of the 1970s. He left a discreet but definite mark on a whole generation of Californian artists, notably thanks to his videos and performances whose raw material was his own body.

Born in 1944 in Baden Baden, Germany, Wolfgang Stoerchle and his family moved to Canada in 1959. In 1962, at the age of 17, he set off on horseback with his brother on an 11-month journey across the United States to Los Angeles. Stoerchle later claimed this trip as his first artistic work.

After spending three years at the University of Oklahoma and two years at UCSB, he became one of the first teachers at CalArts (James Welling, Matt Mullican, David Salle and Eric Fischl were among his students). This was a very prolific period in his work where he shot video with a Portapak camera. He also made iconic performances such as his attempt to have an erection in front of an audience (made in Robert Irwin’s studio in 1972) or to have sex with a man (presented in John Baldessari’s studio in 1975).

Replaying basic but fundamental actions to interrogate changes in state and status, using his own body as a means of expression, Stoerchle has made a significant mark on the Los Angeles art scene. Often working with notions of discomfort and vulnerability, in a blurred space between humour and sincerity, his work didn’t always “work” - and therein lies its effectiveness. During a rehearsal of one of his pieces he described it as a ‘success through failure’. Something to think about.

He moved to New York in 1973 where he began to lose interest in the art world. For two years he travelled and made numerous retreats - studying his dreams and living in the Mexican mountains like an ascetic - before finally settling in Santa Fe, where he slowly returned to making art. His life and his work are hardly separable.

In 1976, Wolfgang died at the age of 32 in a car accident.

On the occasion of the publication of the first monograph by Alice Dusapin, Wolfgang Stoerchle, Success in Failure, Crédakino presents a selection of videos that Wolfgang Stoerchle made at CalArts between 1970 and 1972 using a Portapak camera as well as his last video, Sue Turning, filmed in the studio with three cameras during a workshop in Connecticut.


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Curator biography

  • Born in 1989 in Paris, Alice Dusapin is a freelance editor and researcher, co-founder and co-director of the journal octopus notes and of the publishing house Daisy.
    Since 2017, she has been researching the physicist, editor and poet Bern Porter (1911-2004) as well as the video and performance artist Wolfgang Stoerchle (1944-1976), whose first monograph she has just published (Wolfgang Stoerchle, Success in Failure).

Events & meetings


For the whole of her work Alice Dusapin has received support from the CNAP, the Jan Michalski Foundation for Writing and Literature, a research grant from the Getty Research Institute, the Terra Foundation for American Art, and is a resident at the Académie de France in Rome - Villa Médicis in 2020-2021.

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