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A very special catalogue on Figuration Libre

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The year 1982, the exhibition …l’Air du Temps….location Galerie d’Art Contemporain Nice….the artists… Alberola, Blanchard, Blais, Boisrond, Castellas, Combas, Denis, di-Rosa, En avant comme avant, Favier, Gainon, Giard, Laget, Lanneau and Rousse.

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All artists were member of the FIGURATION LIBRE group and have gained world fame in the decades after this exhibition. What makes this catalogue special is that it is the only copy currently available on the market and from an art historical point of view. It presents these artists for the first time together in one of the major museums for modern art. Beside that a text is written by Ben Vautier ( Fluxus) who was and is an admirer of the Figuration Libre. This i the only copy i have available and it is very special , since the condition is excellent and it is dedicated to Riekje Swart who was the first to present these Figuration Libre artists in the Netherlands.

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Marc Bijl (1970)

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The most informative text on Marc Bijl i encountered on Wikipedia, but on a personal note, i agree with every element of this text. Marc Bijl stands for art on the borders of society in which gothic and punk are combined with Pop Culture…. I love it.

From 1992 until 1997 Marc Bijl studied at the Royal Academy of Art & Design in ‘sHertogenbosch. In 1996 he studied for a year at Glasgow School of Art. In his early work, Marc Bijl reacted to global themes and to popular fascination with symbols of political power, globalization of the economy, religion and nationalism. This resulted in interventions in public space, videos, sculptures and installations that underscored or undermined world views. Bijl endeavours to expose superficialities and myths via his work. Bijl switches in his work between political activity and street culture as he does between the media of image, text and music. He exposes the superficialities, icons and myths of popular culture in his work to stimulate the spectator to contemplate about moral and ethical issues. The symbol, the logo and the label are his potential targets and his artistic tools. He likes to upset, relocate and re-connote their superficial image and their mythmaking – always aiming at a critical analysis of the social conditions of the society. Bijl employs visual elements borrowed from punk and Gothic subcultures and from anarchism. His early works are representational, cartoon-like and often textual. His recent work is more abstract and minimalistic, exemplifying a shift in approach, by which he pares down different perspectives and methodologies to a new essence. The crux is no longer the ‘symbolism’ but what that symbolism represents and signifies. In these most recent works, Bijl makes clear references to modernist art-historical icons such as Mark Rothko, Mondriaan, De Stijl (Rietveld chair) and more subtle references to Jannis Kounellis and Joseph Beuys. Bijl adapts these classical works to his own corporate style. He seeks a more abstract formal language that is in many respects more ambiguous than his earlier vocabulary.

Bijl undermines systems but at the same time he is depended on these systems. Bijl’s work is often rebellious and tends to the illegality. His work is clearly rooted in street culture and possesses elements of graffiti, performance and installation art.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Marc Bijl publications available.

marc bijl nai

 

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Wilhelm Busch (1832-1908)

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Heinrich Christian Wilhelm Busch (15 April 1832 – 9 January 1908) was a German humorist, poet, illustrator, and painter. He published wildly innovative illustrated tales that remain influential to this day and i think that is the only importnat aspect from his career. I am not a great fan of his prints, drawings and paintings, but all over the world Busch is recognized as being one of the founding fathers of the comic art. A story told in pictures that describe and show the situation,

Busch drew on the tropes of folk humour as well as a profound knowledge of German literature and art to satirize contemporary life, any kind of piety, Catholicism, Philistinism, religious morality, bigotry, and moral uplift.

His mastery of drawing and verse became deeply influential for future generations of comic artists and vernacular poets. Among many notable influences, The Katzenjammer Kids was inspired by Busch’s Max and Moritz. Today, the Wilhelm Busch Prize and the Wilhelm Busch Museum help maintain his legacy. The 175th anniversary of his birth in 2007 was celebrated throughout Germany. Busch remains one of the most influential poets and artists in Western Europe. The book below is available at www.ftn-books.com

wilhelm busch

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Harry Buckinx (1944-1995)

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Harry Buckinx is one of the leading comic book artist from the late Sixties /early Seventies. Together with Joost Swarte he is responsisible for developing Comic art into a mature form of contemposrary art. here is what the Lambiek site tells about the artist.

Harry Buckinx was a Dutch underground artist, best known for his contributions to Hitweek and Tante Leny Presenteert. Born in Geleen, Buckinx attended the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht and at the Royal Institute of Fine Arts in Antwerp, Belgium. His career took off when his drawings were published in the Dutch magazine Hitweek in 1968, and in Aloha in 1971-72.

Titula by Harry Buckinx

He was present in Evert Geradts‘ underground magazine Tante Leny Presenteert from the start in 1970. Together with Marc Smeets, he formed the Limburg delegation of the magazine. Buckinx created surreal stories about the world he knew, that of art dealing, nightlife and difficult relations with lovers. His main characters were ‘Titul’ and ‘Titula’. ‘Titula’ was also present in Aloha from 1972.

comic art by Harry Buckinx

Between 1972 and 1974 Buckinx drew the comic ‘De Familie Aepebroeck’ for the VPRO magazine Vrije Geluiden. The comic deals with the chaotic and intimate escapades of the Bertus and Truus Aepebroeck and gives a good portrait of Holland in the 1960s and 1970s. Harry Buckinx was one of the artists involved in the ‘Toon en Toos Brodeloos’ strip, which a team of seven artists produced in 1976 for VPRO-Gids, the magazine of broadcasting company VPRO. Each episode was a satirical story about one of the Dutch broadcasting companies, drawn by a different artist. Buckinx did the one about VPRO, while the other artists were Joost Swarte (AVRO), Evert Geradts (KRO), Joost Troost (EO), Rob Gorter (NCRV), Aart Clerkx (VARA) and Fred Julsing (TROS). The stories were collected in a book by Har van Fulpen’s Drukwerk in 1976.

www.ftn-books.com has one Buckinx title available.

titula

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Alva (Solomon Siegfried Allweiss) (1901–1973)

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Here is an artist i recently discovered. HIs work has the abstract qualities of the best artists from the Fifties and here and there you will find Comic like characters in his drawings and paintings.

Presumably because of the different environments in which Alva lived—Galicia, Berlin, Paris, the Middle East, and eventually London—he was familiar with a wide range of artistic influences and moved easily between different styles. His works include an illustrated and decorated version of the first chapter of Genesis, a series of studies of the Prophets in lithograph, and oil paintings on several subjects from Jewish life in Eastern Europe. Some of his paintings, like the one displayed here, are Symbolist. Characteristic of his style is the use of distinctive brush strokes and an aerial perspective.
Solomon Siegfried Allweiss was born in Berlin in 1901 but grew up until age 10 in Galicia, where he received a strict Jewish education. He studied music in Berlin before switching to art and adopting the pseudonym Alva in 1925. He traveled extensively in the Middle East and spent five years studying art and painting in Paris before he emigrated in 1938 to England, where he spent the remainder of his life. Alva was an occasional contributor of illustrations to Yiddish books published in London, most notably the cover for Y.A. Liski’s volume of proletarian stories, Produktivizatsie (Productivisation), published by Naroditski in 1937.

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Joost Swarte and HUMO (continued)

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Joost Swarte has been drawinh and designing covers for well repected magazines for over four decades now. Drawing covers for Vrij Nederland, The New Yorker, Raw magazine and many more, but one contribution which has been continuing for over 30 years now,stands out and is for the Flemish magazine HUMO.

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He made dozens and dozens of covers over the years and many of these were published in small portfolio’s. A collection well worth starting now. http://www.ftn-books.com has the portfolio “TWEE POLEN” now available. A beautiful start or addition for your Joost Swarte collection.

swarte polen a

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Raymond Pettibon and THE BLASTING CONCEPT.

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This album cover was done by Raymond Pettibon and the album contains punk and post punk. A true sampler which shows the best artist from the SST label. None is importnt for me personally, but what i do like is that the over art is done by Raymond Pettibon. For those interested in the contents of the album read this.

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When punk had its second boom in the early `80s, the emerging art form of the compilation album was given birth and has remained with the genre to today. The east coast beat its chest with the faster-than-light Flex Your Head comp released by Dischord, while the west coast celebrated its fierceness with the mostly Californian Let Them Eat Jellybeans! out on Alternative Tentacles. Boston responded with the soundtrack to circle pits, This Is Boston, Not L.A.. Unfortunately, with these three pillars casting their influence on almost the entire punk and indie scene, some label-specific comps tend to get overlooked. This is a shame as SST’s The Blasting Concept (Vol. 1), released in 1983, features a great selection of early-to-mid-SST jams which feature the label at its most lean and angriest.

The album opens with a selection of early Minutemen tunes. This handful of tracks shows that while many labels were heading in a generic three-chord, minute-thirty direction, SST was signing artists that were unique and completely inimitable. In usual Minutemen style, the trio rips through tunes which are more sketches than full-fledged opuses, jumping and skittering around chords and across song structures with more ideas in two minutes than many bands have in an entire album. In contrast to the Minutemen, Black Flag dominates the flip side with a song headed by each of the three pre-Rollins singers. While the Watt/Boon/Hurley combination delighted in its delicate intricacies, the Greg Ginn-headed Black Flag explodes with skillful rage, wasting not a millisecond of time.

Complimenting Black Flag are Saccharine Trust and Stains, two other bands on the early LA punk scene. While time hasn’t been as kind to these two groups as Black Flag, the two singles included in the comp show that while Black Flag, the Germs and a few others might have been the most dangerous, the west coast had plenty of other groups who could not only hold their weight, but also were capable of adding a little bit of east coast flavor to the west coast sound.

While SST started out as a punk label, it would later incorporate other non-commercial music including heavy metal and even free-form jazz. Chuck Dukowski’s Wurm, featured in its second incarnation on this comp, shows SST recording, Sabbath-influenced metal that allowed The Duke to show off his bass mastery/savagery. While Wurm wore its influences in the open, Overkill would be one of the first groups to head in the newly emerging thrash direction. While later on the group became much more well-known in metalhead circles, on The Blasting Concept the band carefully balances the challenging weights of punk and metal, making one hell of a fist pounder.

Although post-punk began to develop almost as soon as punk itself developed, most of these late `80s heros began as straight-up punk outfits. Luckily for us, the comp features early versions of Hüsker Dü and the Meat Puppets. Both bands are caught amidst their transitions, when unusual song structure and thick riffs dominated their sound.

Creative arguments and financial difficulties would plague SST in its later years. These troubles make this document all that much more valuable. There once was a time when SST was a dysfunctional yet happy family united not by a common sound but by a common aesthetic. The 14 cuts on this platter feature SST at its prime when it made a bold statement wrapped in a provocative cover by the awesome Raymond Pettibon. Of course, it’s a waste of time to live in the past, but every once in a while it’s nice to remember a time when all our heroes were pals (even though they kinda hated each other then, too). text by John gentile, 2007

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Chris Ware (1967)

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Last week i have withdrawn all my Chris Ware items ( except for a Beau Hunks cd) from http://www.ftn-books.com.

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Not because of any controversial text or offending drawing , but because i had  so many beautiful publications collected over the years that it was time to start my own Chris Ware collection(again). My first encounter with Ware his drawings was at the galerie Lambiek in Amsterdam . At that occasion Ware was presented together with Henk Kuijpers. Of course no funds to buy, but from that moment i admired and started collecting Ware his publications. Some 15 years ago i decided to sell all, but now i have changed my mind and will start collecting again. Chris Ware is truly one of the greatest of them all.

 

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Keith Haring, Bulletin contribution, 1990

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1986….Keith Haring had his retropective at the Stedelijk Museum and made the VELUM for the entrance at that time. Since, there has been a friendship between Wim Beeren and Keith Haring. The 1990 Bulletin published by the STEDELIJK MUSEUM, had a small contribution on the memorial held at the MAZZO discotheque in Amsterdam. With the article a note written by Keith Haring addressed to Wim (beeren) was published for the first time. Here is the letter.

haring brief

The Bulletin frm 1990 is now availabe at www.ftn-books.com

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Joost Swarte and THE ROUSERS, 1980

 

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There has always been a warm relationship between Joost Swarte and music in general. The result album covers, cd covers and cd specials which were published over the last 40 years . One of the earliest albums  Swarte designed was the THE ROUSERS album from 1980. The band is forgotten, but the album has one of the strongest covers i remember from the Eighties. Both sides of the cover look the same but there are differences between them. The perspective and timeframe are different making this a look into a scene …just seconds apart. Everything was designed by Swarte. Cover, Lettering and album labels all Swarte design making this one of the scarcest and certainly most collectable Swarte items i remember. The album is available at www.ftn-books.com

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