"Athosland" is an imaginary country that Michael Golz (born in 1957) has invented totally from scratch. The work is a lifetime project on which this German creator, together with his brother Wulf, has been applying himself without a break since his childhood years (1960s). The resulting imaginary world is full of mountains, hills and lush green valleys through which rivers flow; these real-life elements coexist with the strange and marvelous. Wide-spreading highway and railroad grids criss-cross a country whose towns and villages possess an infrastructure that amply fulfills the needs of everyday life: stores, cafés, movie houses abound, as do post offices and banks. At the same time, the land's inhabitants suffer no constraints: they are wholeheartedly at liberty! Those who not wish to work, for instance, can take as much time off as they want; they can enjoy the swimming pools transformed into discos, since robots are there to replace them. Moreover, this alternative world accepts payments in the form of jacket buttons, grass blades or tree leaves... Indeed, pushing a simple button even enables the short-term return of deceased relatives or friends. Still and all, as idyllic as Athosland comes across, danger and evil are likewise present. Thus one can come across beasts such as the "Teufels-Ö-Ifiche" (devil creatures), who are in league with the malevolent natives, or the "Glätschviecher" (glacier beasts) with their ice-caked maws. Moreover, pollution threatens this fantasy land's lush landscapes, due to the presence of the "Bübsfabriken" imposing chimney-capped factories expelling clouds of black and foul-smelling smoke.
Michael Golz's universe, which continues to develop and expand day by day, consists of both pictorial creations and a language enriched by a wealth of neologisms. The whole is embodied by a most impressive topographic map. Once all the different parts are assembledwhich comes to no less than 150 cardboard sheetsthat map measures 14 by 17 meters. Accompanying the map are drawings in colored pencil and felt-tip pen; these offer a precise depiction of the land's picturesque cities and villages. All the inhabitants of this land have long hair. Completing this monumental work is a series of thick, numbered binders: these are meant as travel guides of a kind. Binding together hundreds of sheets of paper sheathed in transparent adhesive film, they offer illustrated stories about the "Ifichen mem" that is, the inhabitants of his utopian world.
The exhibition is organized jointly with the Thurgau Art Museum (Kartause Ittingen, Warth)
A bilingual (French and German) exhibition catalogue has been published for the occasion: Markus Landert, Christiane Jeckelmann (Director), Michael Gölz, Athosland/le pays d'Athos, Thurgau Art Museum, 2017, 63pp
Exhibition Curator: Sarah Lombardi, Director of the Collection de lArt Brut