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Marcel Mariën (1920–1993)

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Marcel Mariën was a Belgian artist, he was born in 1920 in Antwerp and died in 1993 in Brussels. During his childhood, Marcel Mariën faced big difficulties at school since he attended a school where the classes were imparted in Flemish. When he turned 15, he joined, as an apprentice, the atelier of a photographer who taught him all the foundations of photography. He joined in parallel the Superior Popular School for the workers, which led him to discover Rene Magritte’s work. A year later, he became interested in Surrealist paintings and started to write poetry. In 1937, Marcel Mariën went to Brussels to met Rene Magritte, Paul Colinet, Louis Scutenaire, Irene Hamoir and Paul Nouge. He participated for the first time in a Surrealist group exhibition, where he exposed his first object “l’Introuvable” that he created from his own broken glasses. On his return from his military service, he worked in the collective invention of Magritte and Ubac. During the war, Marcel Mariën helped healing the wounded, and then left to Dunkirk and Berck where he was taken prisoner. He was then sent to the concentration camp of Gorlitz until 1941. On his return to Brussels, he met Christian Dotremont and his wife Elisabeth. He founded the Editions “l’Aiguille Aimantee” and published several books. He participated with Scrutenaire and Nouge in the creation of the titles of Magritte’s books. In the beginning of the 40s,he made several trips to Paris, illegally transporting paintings by famous painters such as Picasso, Leger, Chirico and Renoir. Marcel published several books including the first biography of Magritte and participated in conferences about surrealism. In 1948, He settled in Brussels and lived from the profit of his books and from typing works, later on he started working on the “Silver Ocean” cargo sailing from Normandy to the French West Indies. Marcel Mariën met his wife Jane Graverol during Magritte’s first exhibition and with her he founded a communist newspaper they called ” Les Levres Nues”. Despite various deceptions, he managed to create several films including the movie “L’Imitation du Cinema” with Tom Gutt. In 1963, Marcel Mariën left to the United States.Where he worked multiple jobs.The following year, he left to Japan and then Hong Kong. He worked several months in Beijing as a proofreader of the propaganda Newspaper “China under construction” before leaving again to Europe in 1965. He came back to Belgium and published several text of Paul Nouge and Magritte. In 1967, Marcel Mariën exhibited his first collages and some objects. In 1973, he had to go in front of the justice for his past collaboration with the Nazis having participated in the creation of Leon Degrelle’s journal, but he was found innocent. In 1979, Marcel Mariën published a reference book about the history of surrealism in France. He published as well the correspondence of Scutenaire.

(the text above comes from Artsper)

www.ftn-books.com has some Marien titles available

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Andras Gal (1968)

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This is the kind of painting that appeals to me. Monochrome, well not completely MONOCHROME, since there is a fine kind of structure in the upper layer. It is a bit like the miniimal paintings of Tomas Rajlich , who uses the surface of the paint to form a pattern on the canvas, making the painting not flat but finely structured. Combining his Monochrome canvasses in a way that makes them a composition on their own and there you have it , beautiful paintings by this young Hungarian artist.

Max Imdahl said about Gal.

„The painting finds its way behind every order, whether innate or trained, defined conceptually, mathematically, geometrically or by a (formal) aesthetic: it finds the ground of (absolute emotion )as a kind of elementary capacity.” (Max Imdahl)

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The above publication is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Aaron van Erp (1978)

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No better text on the works by Aaron van Erp than the one which was published on the occasion of his Gemeentemusem/ GEM exhibition from 2008. It looks a really long time ago, but nowadays his works are more or less the same. Their subjects hardly any different and the way they are painted has not changed at all. van Erp is an important “young” painter and i will be following his career from a short distance because his paintings fascinate me.

“Horrible things frequently also have a funny side.” This is how Aaron van Erp (b. 1978) explains how his paintings, despite their often brutal subjects, can raise a laugh thanks to their bizarre titles. Since graduating from the St Joost school of art and design in ’s-Hertogenbosch in 2001, Aaron van Erp has become a rising star of the art world. His weird paintings have been acquired for numerous collections in the Netherlands and abroad, including the trendsetting Saatchi collection. Aaron van Erp opens his first ever one-man museum exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag: an overview of paintings and drawings produced since leaving art school, with the emphasis on his most recent work.

Jars of peanut butter

Van Erp’s paintings often include familiar objects from the world around us: shopping trolleys, meatballs, jars of peanut butter, supermarket bags and washing machines. These are located in bare, desert-like landscapes or huge empty interiors. His colourful pictures sometimes refer to well-known paintings of the past (The Meatball Eaters, 2000) or appear to allude to social issues like terrorism, problems in the health care system or child abuse. His painting The Child Tamer (2006), for example, featuring a shadowy figure keeping order with a whip, immediately suggests child abuse. But, despite its sadistic undertone, the work is painted in a humorous way. The green boots of the ‘tamer’, the title, the use of colour and the absurd setting all undermine the sense of violence.

Theme

Another important theme in Van Erp’s paintings is that of victims versus attackers. Medical Personnel at the Meatball Plantation (2005/06) is a good illustration: at first glance, the painting appears to show Red Cross staff attending to a victim. Look closer and you find that they are actually tearing the victim apart and turning his flesh into meatballs to hang in the leafless trees. Dividing lines between good and evil are blurred; saviours can also be attackers and vice versa.

Influence

As well as inspiration from everyday life, the paintings betray the influence of artists such as James Ensor and Francis Bacon. This is apparent in the amorphous figures, the artist’s palette, a certain surreal atmosphere, and the fragmentary way in which Van Erp paints his figures. His social and political commitment is akin to that of Francisco Goya, who also produced works denouncing violence, constraints on freedom of thought, and human suffering.

www.ftn-books.com has some important van erp titless available

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Josua Reichert…5 additions

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It took me a while, but finally i purchased the small and interesting collection of Josua Reichert prints/posters i had my eye on. It contains 2 of his best and signed lino cut prints and 3 Museum publications from the Sixties. The one i want to point out is the one Reichert specially made for the Werkman exhibition in Baden-Baden. Two print masters united in one print makes this very special to me and shows the genius and complexity Reichert could realize with prints. all prints are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jan Commandeur (1954)

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Another painter from my generation is Jan Commandeur. Abstract lyrical work which is rooted in nature. Shadows and spots of light play with each other on his canvasses. Bright and dark places are depicted, but combined in an abstract way making the paintings related to nature, but purely abstract in its composition. A fascinating way of painting and because of their size very impressive.

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FTN books has a very nice designed catalogue on Commandeur available at www.ftn-books.com

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Edward Burra (1905-1976)

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One of the nice side effects of being artbook dealer is that you still “discover” artists which were not known to you before you started with the inventory at www.ftn-books.

One of these artist is Britisch born Edward Burra. A painte who at first glance reminded me of Beckmann and Hopper, but studying the Lefevere catalogue which is available at www.ftn-books.com revealed a totally original artist.

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Burra was a British painter and printmaker best known for his large-scale watercolor paintings, as well as for his landscapes and still lifes. The artist depicted scenes of the seedy urban underbelly and African-American culture during the 1930s in Harlem, NY. Born on March 29, 1905 in London, United Kingdom, Burra studied at the Chelsea School of Art and the Royal College of Art under Randolph Schwabe and Raymond Coxon. He frequently collaborated with artist Paul Nash and was part of Nash’s Unit One, a British group of Modernist artists that included John Armstrong, Frances Mary Hodgkins, and Henry Moore. Burra was an avid traveler, but following the outbreak of World War II found himself unable to leave the country. During this period, the artist found success designing scenery and costumes for opera, ballet, and theater. The artist died on October 22, 1976 in Hastings, United Kingdom.Today, his works are included in the collections of the Tate Gallery in London, the National Galleries of Scotland in Edinburgh, and the Art Institute of Chicago, among others and that is probably the reason why i never heard of him before, since his work is not to be discovered outside the UK.

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William Wegman (1943)

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Because we also have dogs ( and certaily not the easiest ones ) i remembered there is one artist photographer who devoted his entire career and oeuvre to his Weimeraner dogs. His work always reminds me of the early works by Cindy Sherman, biut instead of Sherman being the subject in her staged photographs it is the dogs of Wegman who enact the scene which is photographed. One of the earliest books i found with his dogs was the fairy tale of “little red riding hood” staged and photographed by the dogs. On the site of Wegman there is a lot of information to be found on his photography, but the most interesting piece of information i found on Youtube:

Wegman originally intended to pursue a career as a painter. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 1965 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 1967.

By the early 70s, Wegman’s work was being exhibited in museums and galleries internationally. In addition to solo shows with Sonnabend Gallery in Paris and New York, Situation Gallery in London and Konrad Fisher Gallery in Düsseldorf, his work was included in such seminal exhibitions as “When Attitudes Become Form,” and “Documenta 5” and regularly featured in Interfunktionen, Artforum and Avalanche.

While he was in Long Beach, Wegman got his dog, Man Ray, with whom he began a long and fruitful collaboration. Man Ray, known in the art world and beyond for his endearing deadpan presence, became a central figure in Wegman’s photographs and videotapes. In 1982, Man Ray died, and was named “Man of the Year” by the Village Voice. It was not until 1986 that Wegman got a new dog, Fay Ray, and another collaboration began marked by Wegman’s extensive use of the Polaroid 20 x 24 camera. With the birth of Fay’s litter in 1989, Wegman’s cast of grew to include Fay’s offspring — Battina, Crooky and Chundo — and later, their offspring: Battina’s son Chip in 1995, Chip’s son Bobbin in 1999 and Candy and Bobbin’s daughter Penny in 2004.

Although primarily known as a photographer, Wegman returned to painting in the mid 1980s[2] Among his oeuvre of paintings are a number of canvases filled with smoke and fire that depict natural and manmade disasters. Volcano, in the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art demonstrates this aspect of the artist’s work.

He appeared on The Colbert Report in 2010. Wegman is the author of numerous books for children, including the New York Times bestseller Puppies. His latest children’s book, Flo & Wendell, is published with Dial Books for Young Readers.

Wegman originally intended to pursue a career as a painter. He received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 1965 and a Master of Fine Arts degree in painting from the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign in 1967.

By the early 70s, Wegman’s work was being exhibited in museums and galleries internationally. In addition to solo shows with Sonnabend Gallery in Paris and New York, Situation Gallery in London and Konrad Fisher Gallery in Düsseldorf, his work was included in such seminal exhibitions as “When Attitudes Become Form,” and “Documenta 5” and regularly featured in Interfunktionen, Artforum and Avalanche.

While he was in Long Beach, Wegman got his dog, Man Ray, with whom he began a long and fruitful collaboration. Man Ray, known in the art world and beyond for his endearing deadpan presence, became a central figure in Wegman’s photographs and videotapes. In 1982, Man Ray died, and was named “Man of the Year” by the Village Voice. It was not until 1986 that Wegman got a new dog, Fay Ray, and another collaboration began marked by Wegman’s extensive use of the Polaroid 20 x 24 camera. With the birth of Fay’s litter in 1989, Wegman’s cast of grew to include Fay’s offspring — Battina, Crooky and Chundo — and later, their offspring: Battina’s son Chip in 1995, Chip’s son Bobbin in 1999 and Candy and Bobbin’s daughter Penny in 2004.

Although primarily known as a photographer, Wegman returned to painting in the mid 1980s.Among his oeuvre of paintings are a number of canvases filled with smoke and fire that depict natural and manmade disasters. Volcano, in the collection of the Honolulu Museum of Art demonstrates this aspect of the artist’s work.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Wegman titles available

 

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Erich Heckel (1883-1970)

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Germany has a great history of Woodblock printing. Dürer was one of the arliest of great artists who used the technique but the 20th century had his own group of great aretists who used the technique. Tere were of course the rtaist of the BLAUE REITER, but there was also the group of the BRÜCker to which Heckel belonged. Heckel is arguably one of the most abstract Brücke artists, but his technique is as good as all the other together, Personally i like Heckel very much and this has resulted in a nice selection of publications available at www.ftn-books.com

Heckel and other members of Die Brücke greatly admired the work of Edvard Munch, and aimed to make a “bridge” between traditional neo-romantic German painting and modern expressionist painting. The four founding members made much use of the print as a cheap and quick medium with which to produce affordable art.

Primitive art was also an inspiration to the members of the Die Brücke. It was Heckel’s brother who introduced the group to African sculpture, and it is noted that their acceptance of primitive art, which was to fortify decisively the expressive yearnings of European artists- Was unequivocal. It is through this style that they found a source of strength in the barbaric figures.

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Bouke Ylstra (1933)

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In some ways Bouke Ylstrat reminds me of Jan Roëde. An artists who uses bright colors in combination with child like scenes, but Ylstra works differ enough to stand on their own. Where Roede populates many of his paintings with children, Ylstra depicts adults in their world and creates a world of their own. Combining human elements with abstract surfaces, filling them with symbolism and creating in this way a world of its own. Ylstra is not that know. Even in the Netherlands his work is rare to find, but when you look at his biography you will find that his works has been included in practically all of the large museums in the Netherlands.

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1933 Geboren in Den Haag. Groeit op in Rotterdam.
1950 -1954 Academie voor Beeldende kunsten in Rotterdam.
1955 Ontmoet Marie José Nicolaí met wie hij trouwt. Ze gaan in Dordrecht wonen en krijgen drie kinderen.
1959 Maakt zijn eerste monumentale werk, een zeventig meter lang mozaïek in Leeuwarden.
1960 -1964 Docent “Vrij schilderen”aan de Academie voor Industriële Vormgeving in Eindhoven.
1964 -1967 Docent “Grafische technieken”aan de Academie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Rotterdam.
1967 -1972 Afdelingsdocent “Gebonden kunsten” aan de Academie van BK in Rotterdam.
1979 -1981 Adviseur “Beeldende kunst”van de Rijksbouwmeester Ministerie VROM.
1983 -1990 
Docent “Vrij schilderen”aan de afdeling “Monumentaal” van de Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam.

1993.  Eerste expositie Galerie Duo Duo / Rotterdam
Galerie Sapet / Mirmande Frankrijk
1994. Galerie Witt /Dordrecht
Zomerexpositie Duo Duo / Rotterdam
1995. Galerie Duo Duo / Rotterdam
Opdracht: ontwerp vloerintarsia school Rotterdam
1996. Galerie Witt / Dordrecht – Institut Néerlandais / Parijs Groepstentoonstelling
1997. Galerie Duo Duo / Rotterdam
1998. Galerie Witt /Dordrecht. Zomerexpo Duo Duo
Houten beeld bij experimentele bouw Almere
1999. Duo Duo / Rotterdam
2000. Galerie Witt / Dordrecht
2001. Galerie Duo Duo / Rotterdam – Opdracht ontwerp i.s.m Cor Kraat beelden voor het Raadhuis te Veenendaal
2002. Galerie Dom Arte / Rucphen Galerie Witt / Dordrecht
Opdracht beeld Rijkspolitie te Dordrecht
2003.  Galerie Witt / Dordrecht
Opdracht Beeldengroep Westelijk Handelsterrein Rotterdam
2004.  Galerie Duo Duo / Rotterdam
2005.  Galerie Sapet / Mirmande frankrijk
Galerie Les Sagnes / st.Michel de Chabrianoux Frankrijk
Galerie Witt / Dordrecht
2006.  Galerie Duo Duo / Dordrecht
Opdracht 4 beeldengroepen voor scholengemeenschap
ROC te Leeuwarden
2009. Bouke Ylstra is op 17 Augustus 2009 in zijn woonplaats Dordrecht overleden.
    

www.ftn-books.com has a nice Ylstra publication including an original drawing for sale.

 

 

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Mariken Wessels (1963)..Taking Off / Henry my Neighbor

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By chance i stumbled upon this beautiful and highly collectable publication by Mariken Wessels. I always have admired her publications, but because of their price i never had purchased one, until recently i found one at the local book market, reasonably priced and i had to had it. The book has so many layers. It has a beautiful design and contains the 5000+ photographs  of “model” Martha. Reading and leaf throught the book is like travelling in time and experiencing art in the meantime . It is an artist book of a rare quality and i am lucky that i can offer an extra copy at www.ftn-books.com, because …the bookseller had three copies available from a bookshop that went out of business. One for myself, one for my son and one copy is for sale.

Justine Kurland on Mariken Wessels Taking Off. Henry My Neighbor

If there is one part of a woman’s body available to anyone as a site of erotic fantasy, it is the breast. We all either did or did not satisfy our needs for nutrients from its voluptuous, pendulous amplitude. Drunk from milk, my son used to push his Hot Wheels car over the then-mountainous terrain of my chest. Or he might hold fast to the left nipple while sucking the right, as if trying to reconcile the doppelgängers with his little fist—the good mommy that nursed him, and the bad mommy that took it away. There are a hundred different scenarios that lead to the same fetish. The titular artist of Mariken Wessels’s Taking Off. Henry My Neighbor, Henry, was a boob man. More specifically, he loved his wife Martha’s breasts.

Of the three-hundred-plus pages, edited and arranged by Wessels from Henry’s archive, over a hundred pages show repetitive grids of middle-aged Martha posing in quasi-erotic positions, in states of undress at their home in New Jersey, from 1981 to 1983. She stiffly offers herself to her husband’s camera, exhibiting more of a clinical awareness of her body than any real pleasure in it. Her gaze never meets the lens, but seems to follow directions to look stage right or stage left. There is nothing extraordinary about these pictures, aside from their immense number. Anyone with an iPhone might have many similar images. By 1984 Martha had left Henry, maybe tired of the constant attention of his mammogram-like camera, or maybe simply tired of Henry. A photograph shows her now-familiar arms, stretching out from an upstairs window and throwing streams of photographs down to the street below. We see the objects of Henry’s fantasy unhinged from the person of Martha, literally blowing away.

Mariken Wessels, Taking Off. Henry My Neighbor, Art Paper Editions. Ghent, Belgium, 2015. Designed by Mariken Wessels and Jurgen Maelfeyt.

What happened after Martha left marked Henry as an artist. He recycled his archive of photographs and collaged together fantastic mutations, recombining body parts into sprawling new forms. These images enact Martha’s symbolic death, engendering a battalion of phantasmagoric monsters in her place. She becomes a mostly headless totem of bulbous flesh, an orgy of breasts, a psychosexual grotesquerie. Henry then used these composites as studies for clay figures, which are also documented here. These sculptures complete the process of abstraction. Martha remains only as a disembodied breast-phallus with a striking resemblance to modernist sculpture.

What is clear is this: Henry’s long obsessive relationship with his wife allowed him to develop a voice that gave rise to a powerful and complex body of work.It is less clear what Wessels’s relationship with Henry yielded. We are told only that Henry left his work in his house under a neighbor’s care, and the neighbor later gave the work to Wessels. Henry is not given a last name, and the neighbor remains anonymous. How did Henry, an artist from New Jersey, end up having his life’s work published by a Dutch artist? What distinguishes her work from that of an editor or curator?

Mariken Wessels, Taking Off. Henry My Neighbor, Art Paper Editions. Ghent, Belgium, 2015. Designed by Mariken Wessels and Jurgen Maelfeyt.

After Henry abandoned his work he built a cabin in the woods to live out his last days. This follows a fantasy dear to my heart, one of isolation and self-reliance—a trope as familiar for visionaries and outsiders as the proverbial ride into the sunset is for cowboys. The final sequence in the book, presumably made after Henry had retreated to his cabin, shows traps laid in the forest and the animals caught in them. These pictures can be read as a final objectification of Martha, or as a reflection of Henry’s own emotional state. In either case he seemed to repudiate carnal pleasure, finally reducing the body to the raw condition of meat.

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