Playing with Ludwig: Zerlesung und Tischgespräch / Dereading and table talk

Book Presentation


  • 31 May 2023– 18:00– Universität für angewandte Kunst in Wien, Wien, Österreich (AIL - Angewandte Interdisciplinary Lab)



Press Release

PLAYING WITH LUDWIG: BOOK LAUNCH / VIENNA On the occasion of the release of the book "Playing with Ludwig" by Nikolaus Gansterer and Klaus Speidel they invite for the performative activation: 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 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.

Activity List



  • Universität für angewandte Kunst in Wien, Wien, Österreich
  • Oskar-Kokoschka-Platz 2
  • 1010 Wien
  • Österreich
Published By: Nikolaus Gansterer | Universität für Angewandte Kunst Wien | Publication Date: 14 February 2024, 19:10 | Edit Date: 14 February 2024, 19:10