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Irma Boom…the most original and best book designer in the world.

Of course , the title of this blog is my way of thinking about Irma Boom, who  first made a career with SDU publishers before she started her own office in 1991. But without a doubt she is one of the greatest living graphical designers of the world.

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One of the first who had complete faith in the abilities and quality of Irma Boom was Paul Fentener van Vlissingen who commissioned the SVH jubilee publication of over 2000 pages ….. a classic in book design, finished in 1996 and done  in the very special Irma Boom way with no limitations in the execution and with a complete rethinking of the classic book design.

A true DUTCH DESIGN classic which was the starting point of the Irma Boom designs as we know them. Other clients followed . Vitra , Chanel and Ferrari among them, but…..not only the larger companies and brand names wanted to use the design qualities of Irma Boom. There were smaller ones like dutch museums and the Siewe gallery , who presented a solo exhibition of her earlier this year with which they published a special Irma Boom limited edition.

http://www.slewe.nl/exhibitions/2016#irmaboomundercover.

and beside this special exhibition they commissioned some of their gallery publication to mrs Boom. My personal favorite Irma Boom publication is a small book on Tomas Rajlich which was published some 15 year ago and which has all the subtleties of a great book design. Now is the time to start collecting Irma Boom publications…wait another couple of years and none are there to be found. Irma Boom her designs and publications are collected by practically all of the large dutch museums and of course the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Irma Boom publications available

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Paya …Tin Toys in La Casa Modernista/Novelda

It was a long time ago that i first found a toy by Paya, the spanish TinToy factory whose tin toys are now collected all over the world. Unfortunately it was not a “first” edition but a reedition of one of their most famous toys “The General Omnibus”. It was the first i found and since  i have been searching for these wonderful toys. They are made of tin , but within these limitations, almost every subject was possible. Cars, planes, motorbikes, racing cars, busses, street sweepers…..and all made by Paya. Nostalgic feelings could not have been the origin of this fascination, because these were originally made well before the time i was born, but there is something different that appeals. The colors and the subjects and of course the fact that moving winding mechanisms are used within these tin toys make these similar to moving sculptures. like to ones made by Jean Tinguely. Pull away the tin plates from the toy and then there is a raw simple winding mechanism which can be wound and which is frequently used in modern art to move  the subjects  (for example in the moving sculptures from the sixties). Springs and winding mechanisms, the same as in the Paya toys, are used to, make parts and even complete sculptures, move. In any case PAYA is well worth collecting and if by any chance you are traveling the region of Alicante in Spain…visit la Casa Modernista in Novelda. On the top floor you will find a very large collection of TinToys of which many are made by Paya.

 

www.ftn-books.com

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Loustal….the crossover between comics and art.

From the early eighties on i a am an admirer of the french comic book artist…. Jacques de Loustal, better known as Loustal. He invented a comic book art form which is based on illustrations in which a complete scene/story is drawn within one drawing and with these illustrations he tells a complete story and challenges your imagination. Now his books are published all over the world. In the Netherlands they are mainly published by Oog & Blik, but in his early days his books and prints were almost all published in his native country France. One of the books that really stands out is WHAT HE EXPECTED OF HER. an adult view on marriage and relations. A highly recommended title of this fascinating artist. Available at www.ftn-books.com

 

wilfried

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the Rietveld Schröderhuis

address :

Prins Hendriklaan 50, 3583 EP Utrecht, the Netherlands

Yes, you still can see and visit this iconic architectural masterpiece which was designed by Gerrit Rietveld at the time he was a “de Stijl” member. Together with Piet Mondriaan and Theo van Doesburg he was was one of the founders of the DE STIJL mouvement in the Netherlands.

Soon Theo van Doesburg dropped out of this mouvement because he found himself restricted by the horizontal and vertical lines the mouvement prescribed. He wanted to use the Diagonal line too, but Rietveld believed in these horizontal and vertical lines and used them together with the primary colors he loved so much and draw with them one of the most beautiful small buildings from the last century. When you visit Utrecht, visit the Schroderhuis too. BTW. the house got its name from the first inhabitant of the house. She commissioned Rietveld to build it for her. Truus Schröder-Schräder lived in it for her entire life.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice books on the Rietveld husi and a kit from which you can rebuild the house yourself in a much smaller scale.

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Edward Kienholz and the Beanery

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At the time the Stedelijk Museum reopened again after its long time restoration, I noticed the return of one of my favorites within its collection…..the Beanery. The Beanery is a one on one replica of the local bar Kienholz visited frequently and stands out for me, because of its originality.  It is almost like a surrealist environment in which heads are replaced with clocks.

Kienholz makes environments which you can enter and experience and this Beanery from 1965 is one of his best. Because of the regular wear and tear over the years it had to be restored. There is a nice video on You Tube which gives information on the restauration and shows the importance of this Kienholz work. Lately Kienholz made another project in the Netherlands called HOERENGRACHT of which the catalogue is also available at www.ftn-books.com

 

This is the text the Stedelijk Museum published on the Beanery:

ABOUT THE BEANERY

Edward Kienholz (1927–1994) made The Beanery in 1965, basing it on his local bar, The Original Beanery on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles. It took Kienholz six months to consolidate and replicate the bar’s content in an artwork. Everything in the installation is life size: from the figures –  inspired by Kienholz’s friends and acquaintances – to the bar, bottles of beer and spirits, ash trays, cash register, telephone book, and jukebox. Even the photos on the wall duplicate those of The Original Beanery.

Remarkably, Kienholz gave each person in his bar a clock for a face, a reference to his fascination with time. Only the barman, modeled after Barney, the bar-owner at that time, has a face. Smelling and sounding like an actual bar, the installation is an evocative sensory experience that visitors are allowed to enter. The typical bar smell is characteristic for the way Kienholz work. The artist made a special recipe: the smell has to be assembled from beer, rancid fat, urine, mothballs and cigarette ash. The scent paste has been made multiple times by the restoration team of the Stedelijk Museum (the urine has been replaced by ammoniac). By coating the work with a synthetic resin the artist instills a sense of mortality and transience, which is amplified by the brown color of the interior, with its evocations of age and decay.

The Beanery is also something of a time capsule. The sign warning “faggots stay out” clearly conveys the intolerant attitudes of American society at the time, while the headlines of the 1964 newspaper in a newspaper dispenser at the door indicate that the United States is on the brink of war with Vietnam. Kienholz came up with the idea of creating his own version of the Beanery in 1958 but commenced work on August 28, 1964, upon reading the headline Children Kill Children in Vietnam Riots while visiting the real bar. The harsh contrast between the “real time” represented by the newspaper headline and the “surreal time” of the bar’s customers impelled Kienholz to start work on the tableau.

wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

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Eja Siepman van den Berg…a studio visit

 

A few month ago i contacted Eja Siepman van den Berg and inquired after a small statue she had made in an edition. The first contact resulted in an invitation to come and visit her in her studio in Beetsterzwaag, but because of circumstances it was impossible for us to make an appointment to visit.

Time passes and circumstances change so we finally had a chance to take some days off and decided to go to Friesland and yes …there is also the studio of Eja. We contacted each other again and found a time to visit on the 10th of august. I really looked forward to visit this fascinating artist because i never visited a real sculptors studio.

The morning of the 10th it was raining again and we run towards the entrance where we were met by Eja Siepman van den Berg. Turned to the left and walked right into the studio gallery where there was a special exhibition by a Chinese artist Xinjian Lu ( blog in a few days ), together with the statues by Eja. The abstraction of the large paintings by Xinjiang with the bronzes by Eja worked extremely well. Each showed its qualities together with the works by the other and nowhere a work dominated . I took some pictures which show just what i mean. This was a perfect setting for both artists.

After showing us the gallery and the works which were on show we soon chose our favorites and it appeared that the more abstraction was within the sculpture the more we admired it. Not that the full body sculptures were not appealing, but we thought that the sculptures with the focus on a specific body part were more abstract and had more strength

The next room, where we drank coffee, was the artist studio. Decorated with a magnificent photograph by Eja on the wall together with a work by JCJ van der Heijden.

I never knew she was a gifted photographer as well , but she explained that she made photographs during the time she had a shoulder injury and it was almost impossible for her to sculpt. The Large JCJ van der Heijden was the remainder of an exhibition which was one time held in the gallery. An extremely organized studio, with a special spot with mirrors to make the sculptures. The one that she was busy with was modelled after a photograph and in most cases Eja uses photographs to model after. Eja explained that the editions of the sculptures is protected by french law in which is stated that the maximum number of sculptures which is allowed to be made from one cast is eight. Above this number one speaks of an edition which of course can be limited too.

It takes an extremely lot of work before the final result can be shown in the gallery or museum and one can only admire the patience any sculptor must have before the final result can be shown. Sculptors must be a different kind of artist breed and one can only have the greatest respect for the path they have chosen to show their art to us…. their public.

 

wilfried

Books available on www.ftn-books.com

site for Eja Siepman van den Berg : http://www.ejasiepmanvandenberg.nl

http://www.hetdepot.nl

 

 

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Helmut Newton….only in Taschen publications?

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The story is known to every book collector. Some 10 years ago Benedikt Taschen had the idea to publish the largest and heaviest book on Helmut Newton ever published. Asked Philippe Starck to design a stand for the book , set the edition size……. and sold all books over some years. Now and then these books surface and draw lots of interest. Antiquarian booksellers are trying to sell these for USD. 10.000 or even more. Taschen produced 3 years ago a much smaller reedition of the book for euro 99.00 with the same photographs within this title, but because of the much better price they could sell it again and i predict that the same title will be presented in a few years within a bargain edition ( printed in China ;-)). What makes this so special…..i really do not know . I consider Taschen as one of the best art publishers in the world , but with such large editions they are hardly interesting for the serious collector. I love the photography of Helmut Newton, but would only use the Taschen books to get an excellent overview of his works. If you are a book collector it is better to focus on the gallery and museum publications from which the Repertinum/ Salzburg one is maybe the best from the last decade.

wilfried

 

www.ftn-books.com

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Cocteau and Man Ray = BARBETTE

In the mid twenties Jean Cocteau commissioned Man Ray to take the photographs of his famous Barbette performance. A performance in which he personated the beautiful and famous Barbette and this would become one of the first “public” personifications of a woman by a man. Cocteau is a highly original artist and when i searched on the internet for he Barbette book, which i have in the collection of www.ftn-books.com,  i encountered this excellent article

The Surreal Sex of Beauty: Jean Cocteau and Man Ray’s “Le Numéro Barbette”

by Chase Dimock

This explains the importance of the performance and gives an insight in both the persons of Cocteau and Man Ray.

 

de Woelrat published an excellent little book on this performance by Jean Cocteau available at:

 

wilfried