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Constant..NEW BABYLON by Wigley

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If there is one title which has become one of the most sought after ones i have in my inventory it is Constant’s New Babylon/ The Hyperarchitecture of desire.

The book originally published in 1998 for the Witte de With exhibition , was sold at the occasion of the restoration of the New Babylon models by Constant. It took almost 5 years, but after that restoration period, these very important and visionary models could be presented again in all their glory. With the exhibition the Gemeentemuseum sold the book by Mark Wigley and because of its price almost guilders 50,– we did not sell many copies and eventually the book was part of a sale in which the book was sold for less than euro 12,–

But after that “low”, the stature of the book changed. It was described as one of the best architecture books on the market and i received orders from all over the world because in architecture lessons and classes it was described as one of the key publications in the field of visionary architecture. At one time i even bought a box of these books and sold them within a few months. But things have changed. No longer you can find copies and whenever one is offered it is at auction where it fetches a high price ( plus costs ). Still one copy remains in my inventory at ww.ftn-books.com

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Ewerdt Hilgemann (1938)

 

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For me Hilgemann was one of the first Zero artists i learned to appreciate, but there is so  much more to Hilgemann as an artist. Here is an excellent article i found on Hilgemann  at the Borzo site / www.borzo.com

Borzo still sells his works and perhaps now is right the time  for Hilgemann.

A child of about six in the war, Ewerdt Hilgemann searches through the rubble of the bombed ruins of his hometown Dortmund for shrapnel. He finds them interesting, exciting too, these sharp-edged metal splinters.

Forty years later, and now an artist, Hilgemann works in the marble quarries of Carrara (1975-1985). A truck transports a perfectly sawn one and a half metre cube of marble that he has carefully polished, to the top and then with a thunderous crash sends it toppling off the steep mountainside. And a marble sphere of a similar size, polished to a perfect sheen, has explosives inserted and is then blown up.

Both conceptual ‘performances’ are recorded on film. The artist creates perfect forms, which are then deformed using forces of nature: a sort of reverse creative process.

Thirty years later, in the summer of 2014, Hilgemann exhibits his Magnum Opus. In response to an invitation from the City of New York he places a series of implosion sculptures on Park Avenue. ‘Dancers’, ‘Triples, ’Flowers’ and ‘Cubes’, six metres high, gleaming in the sun, the deformed surfaces of these Titans of steel distort and reflect the overwhelming architecture of the buildings on each side of Park Avenue.

From his earliest days in a devastated Dortmund to the Park Avenue manifestation in New York, Hilgemann has been consistent in his fascination and his art. In his own words: “To deform a perfect shape without me hammering on it”.

From the start the cube and the square are his best-loved shapes. Hilgemann studies and comes to understand these solid forms. He learns it at the Saarbrucken Art Academy under his tutor Oskar Holweck. (In 1958 Holweck had joined the Zero movement, founded that year by Mack and Piene). Here the young art student Hilgemann learns to respect material and form in their most elementary states. Plasticity is achieved through the effect of light on the surface and the – mathematic – interventions performed thereon by the artist.

In 1970 Hilgemann and his wife Antoinette settle in Gorinchem and here a close friendship develops with Ad Dekkers, Marinus Boezem and herman de vries. In these days Gorinchem is apparently a hotbed for avant-garde art. Irritated – provoked even – by a conservative artistic climate in this small town on the River Merwede, these artists discover common ground for their minimalistic and conceptual ideas.

Their haven at the time is Riekje Swart’s legendary Amsterdam gallery. Hilgemann exhibits his white objects oriented according to mathematical studies here from 1966.

In 1973 the four artist friends – and their partners! – take the initiative for a much discussed and now legendary symposium, whereby the town wants to be a centre for “examining the position of the visual arts in our society”. Fifteen European artists stay together in Gorinchem for six weeks. These include now famous artists such as Kenneth Martin, Morellet, Panamarenko, Pohl, Prantl and Winiarski. Exceptional works of art, lectures and performances fill the town. For Hilgemann ‘Gorinchem’ is an extraordinarily significant period in which his art reaches full maturity and he also establishes his international orientation.

Hilgemann produces his first sculpture created through implosion in 1984 for the exhibition “Beelden aan de Linge” by collector Piet Cleveringa from the neighbouring town of Acquoy. He moves to Amsterdam the same year and from that moment on this visual language of imploded constructions will always typify the art of the ‘air-smith’ Ewerdt Hilgemann.

m has some Hilgemann publications available.

 

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Anthon Beeke (1940-2018)

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This morning i learned that one of the greatest of all dutch graphic designers, Anton Beeke, died in an Amsterdam hospital, yesterday on the 25th of September. Born in 1940 he soon became part of Fluxus and Provo and was one of the famous names in the AMSTERDAM art world in the sixties. He even became later a contributing partner of Total Design, the agency which was founded by Wim Crouwel ao. I mention this because where Total design was one of the first agencies to apply the computer in designing, Beeke stayed true to his own method, the typical way of composing an image with “camera, scissors and glue”.

His images are strong and stood out and drew immediate attention to the subject. One of his best known designs was the alphabet composed with nude woman.

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It was a meant and searched for reaction on the New Alphabet by Crouwel. There are several Beeke publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Alice Aycock (1946)

1983, Just 3 years after i started my career at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag, the museum made an exhibition with Alice Aycock. Within the Schamhart buidling the complete floor was covered with large kinetic sculptures by Aycock and at that time i could not appreciate them at all. Now 35 year later i wished i had the same knowledge at that time that i have know, because recently i leafed through the catalogue and it struck met that these works were not only great in dimensions, but even after 35 years fascinating. Where Tinguely made his kinetic sculptures in the Sixties. Aycock made them in much more modern and industrialized/high tech versions in the Eighties and after. Alice Aycock has received international fame with her sculptures.

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What remains to me is a wonderful catalogue ( available at www.ftn-books.com) and the memory of meeting a great artist and beautiful woman back in 1983.

To give an impression of her more recent works here is a video on her 2010 presentation:

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Giacomo Manzu (1908-1991)

My first impression was that Manzu is the illegitimate brother of Monsieur Hulot ( Jacques Tati). On the left there is Manzu and on the right Monsieur Hulot… there is certainly a resemblance.

But nothing of this, Giacomo Manzu  ( Giacomo Manzoni) is a typical Fifties Italian sculptor. A sculptor who had his conflicts with the fascist government but spent the Forties and early Fifties at teaching positions all over Italy . His latest being one in Brera and Torino ,after which he moved to Salzburg where he married his wife who was modeling for him.

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His works are in the most prestigious museum and private collections. Although he was an atheist,] he was a personal friend of Pope John XXIII and had important liturgical commissions for the Vatican. In the United States, architect Minoru Yamasaki commissioned him the Passo di Danza (dance step) sculpture at the One Woodward Avenue building in Detroit. He also carved the Nymph and Faun at Wayne State University’s McGreagor Memorial Sculpture Garden. www.ftn-books.com has some rare Manzu publications available.

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Gijs Bakker … a dutch design genius

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https://www.nowness.com/series/on-design/on-design-gijs-bakker

Most of us have some a little knowledge of the designs by Gijs Bakker, because Bakker designed many “objects to use ” for the HEMA company. An excellent example is his dishmop in bright and happy colors.

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This is just a small example of the many products Bakker designed and made with his designs a beautiful design product available to many at a reasonable price. Furniture, jewelry, books, posters and kitchenware all items that at one time were designed by Gijs bakker. 010 publishers published an excellent monography on Bakker. Title : OBJECTS TO USE ..This book is still available at www.ftn-books.com.

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Heringa / van Kalsbeek at DE FUNDATIE

The first time i saw these sculptures by Heringa / van Kalsbeek was at the time i was still working at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag.

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It was 1999 and i was impressed. These resin sculptures looked almost accidental. But they are far from it. These sculptures are created by guidance and when finished they have shape, form, volume and color thought out by the artists. Since 1999 they have had their installations shown in many venues. One of them was the DE FUNDATIE in 2006 which catalogue is now available at www.ftn-books.com.

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Heringa /van Kalsbeek are important contemporary artists and are included in the dutch series of portraits on dutch modern art ” HOLLANDSE MEESTERS”

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Frank Lloyd Wright and Benno Wissing ( 1952)

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One of the first projects and designs Benno Wissing did for the Boymans van Beuningen Museum must have been this Frank Lloyd Wright catalogue “fllw”. The year is 1952 and the chosen size is different from the normal sized catalogues the Boymans had published until that date. But the size and lay out suits the subject of architecture. This is one of the hardest to find catalogues on Frank lloyd Wright and i was lucky to find a copy. The condition is not the best possible and i would rate it 6 out of 10 points , but still it is there and now available at www,ftn-books.com. This is the best from both worlds. Great graphic design meets top class architecture.

 

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the galerie Arnaud and Ado ( the artist)

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One of the most intriguing books in my collection of www.ftn-books.com is this precious book Dai DAi Submarine by Ado. I found it years ago and it is for some inexplicable reason still for sale. The design is striking. the contents is typical Pop Art and the design /lay out are one of a kind . A book that should find a nice spot in a Sixties design collection. I have only one available and the condition is excellent. Book published by Galerie Arnaud in 1969 and believed to have an edition of less than 500.

 

 

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Michael Parkes published by Gallery Steltman in 1988

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There was a time that the original art by Michael Parkes was still affordable. The mid Eighties changed that and Parkes became a highly commercial artist and for his show in 1988 at Steltman galleries, it was decided that together with the showing of the new paintings, a series of signed lithographs was to be published. But that was not the end , because beside the lithographs an excellent specially printed poster was published. On it the painting TUESDAY’s CHILD from 1988. This print has become one of the ost iconic ones published by Steltman, because it contained all the elements Parkes has become famous for. there is a Monkey, a juggler, a ballerina on a flaming rope and even the dramatic doves are included. Beside these elements, the composition of the painting is excellent. Making this one of my favorite Parkes prints of all time.

The print is available at www.ftn-books.com

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