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Michael Craig-Martin (1941)

Michael Craig-Martin

A principal figure of British conceptual art, Michael Craig-Martin probes the relationship between objects and images, harnessing the human capacity to imagine absent forms through symbols and pictures. The perceptual tension between object, representation, and language has been his central concern over the past four decades. In his early work Craig-Martin often incorporated readymades into sculpture and made knowing reference to American Minimalism. His elegant restraint and conceptual clarity is exemplified by An Oak Tree (1973), comprising a glass of water on a shelf and a text written by him asserting that the glass of water is, in fact, an oak tree. This interest in semantics, the play between rhetoric and object, continues to be a core theme in his work. In the 1990s Craig-Martin made a decisive shift to painting and developed his hallmark style of precise, bold outlines demarcating flat planes of intensely vibrant colors. Through exacting draftsmanship, he uses composition to explore spatial relationships by juxtaposing and layering color.

Craig-Martin was born in 1941 in Dublin. He attended Fordham University, New York, from 1959 to 1961, then Yale University, where he received a BA in 1963 and an MFA in 1966. In the mid-1960s he returned to Europe, becoming one of the key figures in the first generation of British conceptual artists. Craig-Martin taught at Goldsmiths College School of Art, London, from 1974 to 1988 and from 1994 to 2000. During this time he became a powerful influence on a generation of his students who would become known as the Young British Artists, including Gary Hume, Sarah Lucas, and Damien Hirst, among others. Craig-Martin’s work has been featured in solo museum exhibitions worldwide.

www.ftn-books.com has currently Craig Martin publications available.

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Cas Oorthuys ( continued)

Cas Oorthuys

Last week Linda and I went to Rotterdam and visited the Nederlands Fotomuseum. The museum made a selection of 99 of the most iconic dutch photographs from the last 160 years. Among them well known examples by famous dutch photogra[phers, nut some that i never had noticed before. The one photo that fascinated me most was the one Cas Oorthuys took in the Rotterdam harbour. The photo has everything. action, drama, mouvement and it gives a perfect impression of the Rotterdam harbour in the late Fifties.

Harbour of Rotterdam

Later this month i will select some more photographs from this visit, but this. is for now my personal favourite.

More Oorthuys and dutch photography books are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Sophie Calle ( 1953)

Sophie Calle

Sophie Calle is a French artist who has exhibited extensively throughout the world since the late 1970s. Variously described as a conceptual artist, a photographer, a movie director, and even a detective, she has developed a practice that is instantly recognizable for its distinct narrative elements and frequent combination of images with text. Each of her projects can be seen as a chapter in a vast overall volume of references and echoes, in which Calle often blurs the boundaries between the intimate and the public, reality and fiction, art and life. Her work methodically orchestrates an unveiling of reality—her own and that of others—while allocating a controlled part of this reality to chance.

In the Netherlands we were fortunate that the Boymans van Beuningen organised an exhibition with her. This catalogue is now available at http://www.ftn-books.com together with some other important publications.

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Thierry De Cordier (1954)

Thierry De Cordier

One of the most fascinating artists to emerge from the Belgium art scene in last century certainly is Thierry De Cordier

Thierry De Cordier is a philosopher, author and visual artist. He describes himself as romantic and melancholic. His work emanates from his personal quest: he strives to understand his own being and being human. ‘Back to nature’ is (also) De Cordier’s motto. There he is able to distance himself from our consumer society and there he tries to escape it. For a long time his garden represented the ultimate place where he found peace to reflect and work, in harmony with nature. He later went to live by the sea. Escaping the world and loneliness are recurring elements in De Cordier’s dark sculptures, drawings and paintings. Below is the project DE PONT developed with the artists. It shows the qualities of this hard to admire but fascinationg artist.

http://www.ftn-books.com has one publication on De Cordier now available.

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Leo Copers (1947)

Leo Copers

LEO COPERS (° 1947, Ghent) is mostly known for his sculptures, installations and performances, and has since the beginning of his artistic practice obtained a unique place in the Belgian art scene.

Going against the tide, Copers started to reintroduce metaphors and symbols into a visually conceptual practice. By using antagonistic objects, in surreal and alienating combinations, he aims at creating tensions, both figuratively and literally. His objects and installations are on – and often over – the edge of being alarmingly dangerous and destructive and thus challenge our built-in expectations in a very visceral way. Water, fire and electricity for example are often connected in a way that makes us cringe with fear while being moved by its poetic beauty. On the verge of danger, on the edge of life.

For Copers the material results and their effect on the audience are superior to the mere thought process from which the work originated. He leaves behind the sterile, uninvolved conceptual art of his peers.

His work can be seen as a link between the minimalist visual language of his generation, fluxus and the Belgian legacy of anti-establishment irony and poetic surrealism.

Lauren Wiggers

In 2018 the leading Belgian art institutes S.M.A.K. Ghent, M HKA Antwerp, Middelheimmuseum Antwerp and BOZAR Brussels, celebrated Leo Coper’s 50th anniversary as an artist with unique solo exhibitions and the publication of a new book ‘Leo Copers, Dreams are made of this’, the most detailed overview of his work so far.

www.ftn-books.com has one Copers title currently available.

Leo Copers available at www.ftn-books.com

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Luis Tomasello (1915-2014)

Luis Tomasello

Luis Tomasello was an Argentine painter of Italian descent. He was born in La Plata (province of Buenos Aires, Argentina) on 29 November 1915 and died in Paris on 17 January 2014.

Luis Tomasello worked with his father as a bricklayer, joiner and painter. He attended evening classes in drawing from 1929 to 1931. He went to the Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes Prilidiano Pueyrredón in Buenos Aires from 1932 to 1938 and continued his studies at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes Ernesto de la Cárcova from 1940 to 1944. Before traveling to Europe for the first time in 1951, he met painters Emilio Pettoruti and Carmelo Arden Quin. (He co-founded the Salón Arte-Nuevo with Arden Quin in Buenos Aires in 1954). He spent six months in Paris in 1951 before settling there permanently in 1957. He joined the Galerie Denise René in 1958.

“Luis Tomasello embarked on abstract art in 1952. His interest in kineticism was born in 1957. He started using relief in 1958 and dealt with light by means of structure and color. He took part in all major international events to do with lumino-kinetic art in the second half of the 20th century. But his art is also an intrinsic part of concrete art and possesses all the characteristics of that movement by virtue of its abstraction, the use it makes of systems and modules, repetition and series, the control exerted over all the elements, both before and during the work’s execution, and the neutral technique and mechanical manufacture.

Thus Luis Tomasello’s art is resolutely abstract: its chief characteristic is the way he works on and with light, creating play on light by means of reliefs arranged in regular order and painted a uniform white with colors placed within them. The latter are usually applied to the back or reverse side of the shapes or on their sides so that they are reflected onto the surface of the work, which itself is usually square. His relief works are entitled “Atmosphère chromoplastique.”

Their forms are made up of planes, squares, cubes, cylinders and sometimes rhombohedrons. In any given work, all these elements are identical. They jut out only a short distance and are placed in orthogonal patterns. The colors are red, yellow, blue and green and are sometimes fluorescent. Certain works belonging to certain periods do not conform to these overall rules: the planes are cut in a different way, occasionally overlap, and are composed in patterns. Many works comprise a single plane with slots cut into it to create a feeling of depth and permit the color to act. Black matt paint is applied to a few works, which are entitled “Lumière noire.”

By using relief in his paintings, Luis Tomasello was able to avoid flat surfaces, project shapes and make them jut out into space, play with light and cause color to reverberate outwards. On the basis of these results, he immediately sought to integrate his ideas into architecture.

Another of his aims was to represent movement. His paintings are built on protruding or receding structures and changes of direction which give rise to optical vibration and create the impression of movement. Though the elements are static, their appearance varies owing to the shifting light.

Thanks to his visible structures and his reflected colors, Luis Tomasello has become a master of relief and a magician of light.” (text by Serge Lemoine)

www.ftn-books.com has the important 1976 publication available.

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Edwin Janssen (1961)

Edwin Janssen

One of the nicest artist books i acquired recently was the book Edwin Janssen made for his van Abbemuseum exhibition in 1988. Book contains fold outs, original tipped in photographs . extra pages, see through pages. Book is published by one of the leading publishers from that era ” Bébert” and i can ot recommend it enough for all serious collectors of artists books.

Edwin Janssen studied at the Academy of Arts, Rotterdam and Ateliers ’63, Haarlem. His first exhibition, in 1985, was at the WP Gallery, Rotterdam. He has recently made installations for the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, the Stadsgalerij, Heerlen and the Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst in Ghent. The work combines images and objects from commercial and personal sources to comment on the transient qualities and clichés of his youth and family life.

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Frank Gerritz (1964)

Frank Gerritz

A compass is a navigation device whose needle moves constantly and yet always points in the same direction. Frank Gerritz (* 1964 in Hamburg) is also in permanent motion and at the same time goes his way very directly and purposefully. This is how on the site of galerie MIchael Haas, Gerritz is introduced…..

An important parameter of his works are human body dimensions, which run through his entire work in various proportions. At the same time, these are also found in references between the different groups of works. This shows in how many directions Gerritz is thinking at the same time to find out the possibilities of design.

The process of creation of his works is decisive in this respect. His wall and floor sculptures are created in intensive and elaborate processes. Exemplary are his works in which he draws for months, with very soft pencils on MDF boards and thereby compresses the surfaces to such an extent that they begin to reflect and become projection surfaces – of light, color and space. Under comparatively extreme working conditions, he creates iron sculptures, which he produces with a team of assistants in an iron foundry in Kaiserslautern. Gerritz attaches great importance to the precise craftsmanship and execution of his works. This is particularly visible in his aluminum works. With black paintstick (oil wax crayon) he draws in many layers – line after line on anodized aluminum plates.

Not only the mental, but also the physical involvement of Frank Gerritz is extremely intense and cannot be seen at first glance. Only when exploring his thought system and his way of working do these wonderful works of art reveal themselves. His works captivate with a clarity that draws the viewer under their spell.

Frank Gerritz has gained international attention in his decades of determined practice, and his works can be seen not only in German museums, such as the Falckenberg Collection in the Deichtorhallen in Hamburg or, more recently, in the Museum Wiesbaden. Works by him are also represented, for example, in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, in the Menil Collection in Houston or the Collezione Panza di Biumo in Italy.

www.ftn-books.com has one Gerritz publication available.

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George Condo (1957)

George Condo

George Condo is an American artist who was born in Concord, New Hampshire in 1957. He studied Art History and Music Theory at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell. He settled in New York city in the late 1970’s, where he became a recognized figure within the East Village art scene, even spending a brief time working in Andy Warhol’s Factory. He moved to Paris, France in 1985 and lived there for a decade. George Condo currently lives and works in New York city.

George Condo has occupied a central position in the landscape of American painting for nearly forty years. His unique and imaginative visual language pays tribute to a vast array of art-historical traditions and genres, drawing together elements of Old Master portraiture with allusions to contemporary American culture. He is best known for his distinctive, deformed and sometimes demonic paintings that combine figuration and abstraction, madness and beauty. Condo coined the term ‘Artificial Realism’, to describe his approach or, in other words, ‘the realistic representation of that which is artificial’. His work is populated largely by dramatically stylized, almost cartoonish, characters with exaggerated, often grotesque features such as protruding over or under bites, ghoulish expressions, or is fractured nearly beyond recognition. 

www. ftn-books.com has some publications on Condo available

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Charles Brittin (1928-2011)

Charles Brittin

The Beat generation and the civil rights movement documented in incomparable photographs

Throughout the fifties, Los Angeles-based Charles Brittin (*1928) was the unofficial house photographer for the beatniks who coalesced around the artist Wallace Berman. Brittin had settled in Venice Beach in 1951, and his tiny shack on the beach became a hangout for the creative circle around Berman, which included actor Dean Stockwell, artist John Altoon, curator Walter Hopps, and poet David Meltzer, among many others. Brittin’s photographs of this time and place evoke a period of tremendous upheaval and creativity in America, when avant-garde culture was largely underground and its protagonists were almost completely shut out of mainstream culture. In the early sixties, the focus of Brittin’s life shifted dramatically when he became involved in the antiwar movement, and by the end of the decade he was devoting most of his time to the Black Panther Party. These two very different social revolutions are at the heart of Charles Brittin: West & South. The book is now available at www.ftn-books.com