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Francis Bacon and Berlinde de Bruyckere

 

In my blog from Sunday you noticed that we visited the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag to have a look at the Riley CURVES exhibition. During this visit we walked the first floor of the museum with part of their permanent collection. Since the Bacon exhibition from 2001 , several painting are “on loan ” from other museums and they have now completed this room with a sculpture on loan from the Hauser & Wirth collection…and placed this in the same room as the Bacon’s….result….one of the most exciting and stunning Museum rooms i have ever seen.

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Sometimes there are artists who look like brothers/sisters of each other, same approach to their subjects and this room is an example how closely both these artists are related in their art to each other. Here is the text the Gemeentemuseum published on their site www.gemeentemuseum.nl on Berlinde de Bruyckere.

Belgian artist Berlinde De Bruyckere (b. 1964) creates sculptures that reveal the human body and human life in all its frailty. Her installations of equine and human bodies evoke feelings of love and consolation, but also of terror and violence. The work is both emotionally immersive and provocative, regularly creating controversy. De Brucykere’s bitter-sweet images unite pain and suffering with a strong aesthetic appeal. Her Cripplewood presentation attracted great public attention at the 55th Venice Biennale. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag acquired her sculpture Into One – Another II, To P.P.P., 2010-2011 in 2011 and is now about to hold a major retrospective of her work, much of it never previously exhibited in the Netherlands.

The human body and its visible suffering is the key theme in De Bruyckere’s whole oeuvre. We are now almost immune to images of suffering; the constant stream of ghastly pictures fed to us by the mass media has seen to that. Berlinde De Bruyckere seeks to restore our sensitivity to the suffering that is a timeless and universal part of the human condition. She makes us stop and look at it but leaves us free to make of her work what we will. In doing so, she unerringly explores the limits of the visual representation of physical and emotional pain. 

De Bruyckere constructs her sculptures of wax, resin, rope and worn leather or textile and strings together separate wax casts to create single bodies. She is concerned solely with bodies; faces are concealed behind shocks of hair or cloths; heads are often completely missing. Using special pigments, she transforms wax into pallid skin with vague glimpses of blood, veins and contusions. Red patches and ‘wounds’ give the impression of a tortured body and suggest associations with the religious symbolism surrounding martyrs like St. Sebastian – a figure of great significance to Cripplewood. In addition to these religious elements, classical mythology also has a place in De Bruyckere’s work. Ovid’s Metamorphoses are a constant source of inspiration.

Horses are also an important symbol in her oeuvre, used primarily as a metaphor to express profound human emotions surrounding death and mortality.

In addition to her sculpture, the forthcoming exhibition will also feature drawings and early works in textile. De Bruyckere uses her drawings – often made in a combination of watercolour and gouache on recycled paper or cardboard – as exploratory studies relating to the themes of her sculptures. In this respect, she frequently seeks inspiration in the bodies of dancers. The development of ideas with dancers in the studio is a technique of great importance to her and has resulted in various wax sculptures, as well as a number of different series of drawings. These series are not preparatory studies, but function as works of art in their own right, underlining the themes that together form the leitmotif of her entire oeuvre. De Bruyckere’s sketches, drawings, watercolours and sculptures are all interlinked and together constitute a single ‘body of work’.

De Bruyckere trained at the LUCA School of Arts in Ghent. Her work was first exhibited in the Italian Pavilion at the 2003 Venice Biennale. This led to immediate international recognition and her work has since been acquired by major museums, foundations and private collectors around the world. She returned to Venice in 2013 to represent her own country in the Belgian Pavilion.

 

For books on both these artists visit www.ftn-books.com

wilfried

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There Will be Blood…Hermann Nitsch

 

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There will be blood….This is the title of one of the most exciting movies from the last decade with a brilliant Daniel Day-Lewis. Violent, colorful story of a family followed over 60 years in the oil business…definitely a must see.

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But this title also refers to the performances of the Austrian artist Hermann Nitsch . From the early 60’s on he made well over 100 performances within his cycle of the Orgien Mysterien Theater. Bloody performances, but meticulously executed and well thought over. Naked people, audience, blood and canvases , registered on Video or film and directed by Nitsch himself make these  true works of art. The performance is one part of the art work, the other part are the canvasses which were made with material from these performances and sold by galleries worldwide. When you visit Vienna visit the Tourist Office to see if there is a performance planned. When visiting Napoli ( Italy) realize that outside Austria In Naples is the largest Nitsch collection assembled in the http://www.museonitsch.org

Blood is not only used by Nitsch, but others use blood as well. Marc Quinn uses blood to freeze it into a sculpture of a human head and Eric Orr uses it as paint for his paintings. Do not be horrified by the use of blood in art, but see the beauty of the art which is made by the use of blood.

wilfried

NItsch titles available at www.ftn-books.com

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Anni Albers

 

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She chose her own way and always has made her art in the shadow of her husband…Josef Albers. When you first see her work, her works are far more complex than those of Josef Albers, but where Josef uses the square and rectangle as his main subjects, Anni choses more complex patterns. They look like patterns in fabric, woven and knitted but all with a regularity and balance. No wonder, because Anni Albers was one of the foremost textile artists from the 20th century. Whenever you visit the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop you can encounter some nice works , but for the larger part of her oeuvre you have to be in the USA where she found many loyal admirers. www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles on both, but will focus this time on Anni Albers, because she deserves it for being the original artist she was.

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Pablo Picasso and Guernica

 

schermafbeelding-2016-09-08-om-19-32-09Personally i am not a great fan of Picasso. I understand his importance for Modern Art, but somehow he never appealed to me very much. One exception . In 1937 Picasso painted GUERNICA. The first time i saw this extremely large painting was in 1977 when i visited New York with my father. It was breathtaking!

So much to see in this painting. I shows the city of Guernica while it was bombarded by the Condor legion of the Luftwaffe. Pure panic and chaos on every painted part of the painting. This is a painting you must see in reality, because the sheer size is breathtaking already. It was one memory i brought home with me.

About 12 years ago the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag had the studies for Guernica in a special show and even on these much smaller studies you can see the struggle of the painter and the power of the subject.

A few years ago we went to the Reina Sofia Museum in Madrid and saw this masterpiece again. The same experience…still breathtaking.

When you look at this painting you can see that it has influenced many painters. . For one, there is a dutch painter  ” Willy Boers” who borrowed the theme with the horse and made his own version of chaos and despair. The painting is called “La Quintessence” dated 1947/1948, 10 years after Guernicia was painted and is depicted in DOORBRAAK VAN DE MODERNE KUNST IN NEDERLAND. Can you spot the similarities too?

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wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

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Jungwook Kim……and Korean Art

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A few months ago i had the fortune to have the winning bid in auction for a large Jungwook Kim painting. ( see the above picture of my office)

Since,  i have been trying to find publications on this artist….so far none. This painting was originally sold at the Skape gallery in Seoul, who now know of its present whereabouts, but i am still looking for books, folders and information on this wonderful work of art.

http://www.skape.co.kr/wp/artists-gridview/

 

Who can help?……….

 

It is not the first time i notice that there is a strong and lively artists mouvement in Korea. Lately at another auction i noticed another great work by Kang-Ik-Joong. An artist i did not know of either. But what a wonderful works he makes. becoming rather expensive now, but many of these artists must be on the verge of their international breakthrough. Will Korea become to new “China”for art collectors?

 

wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

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Marthe Wery ( 1930-2005)

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A long time ago….in 1986….i met one of the friendliest artist I have ever encountered. Marthe Wery. She held her first exhibition in the Gemeentemuseum . Later , in 2011, there was a retrospective in the same museum, but with the 1986 one i first encountered a “minimal” artist, who i personally met and who’s work i really liked. It was not the easiest kind of work, but it was the first time i  was impressed by an installation of an artist who took an entire room in the museum and transformed it into a work of art. One was filled with standing blue panels and another one with red ones. We spoke each other about these works and she signed the catalogue i had bought . A deep green cover on one of the nicest catalogues i had sold during my time as a bookseller for the Gemeentemuseum. Fold out pages like the panels within the exhibition, excellent print quality.

Together with Walter Leblanc, Marthe Wery is one of my favorite Belgian artists. Belgium has produced so many great names in the last 5 decades. Cordier, Magritte, Delvaux, Bury, Verheyen, Peirre and personally i think you must add the name of Marthe Wery to that list. A highly original artist and a friendly lady who made very impressive art works.

 

catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com

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Bridget Riley…the Curve paintings

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An exhibition with these intriguing paintings by Bridget Riley is now held at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Large size canvasses with hypnotizing waves of color patterns. Riley is one of those artists you learn to appreciate when you see more of her works over a longer period of time. Started in the early sixties . Influenced by Vasarely she soon became one of the most important members of the op-art mouvement and had her first major overseas exhibition in the MOMA in New York in 1965. She was one of the artist of the RESPONSIVE EYE exhibition. Since, she developed her very recognizable style and moved more and more away from the typical op-art paintings and developed the Bridget Riley style as we know it now. The Gemeentemuseum Den Haag has a history with Riley. A few year ago they held a very nice exhibition for which they published a leperello which is still available at www.ftn-books.com

wilfried

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Massimo Rao

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Just a simple title for a blog on a painter who had a very short career, but build a strong following of admirers. It was 2008 that  i visited New York and entered the CFM gallery and spoke the owner Neil Zukerman about our art collections. I learned that he had bought the very first Rao i had owned and had traded it in for the much larger IL MARINAIO CHE AVEVA ALL ‘UOVO E OLIO.

The one i originally had in my collection, was still one of the favorite paintings of Mr. Zukerman, but the encounter of this passionate collector and the story on this small Massimo Rao painting  i once owned, made the world look so very small. If he still has it….i do not know….., but in the meantime the painting in our collection is depicted in 3 Massimo Rao books and was on show at the Panorama Museum in 2004.

Since it has been quiet around Rao, no special exhibitions….. but a growing following and a special site on the painter who unfortunately died much too young ( 1950-1996), but left us so many great works of art.    http://www.massimorao.it/massimo-rao/

The books i have on Rao are growing more popular each year and it looks like most are exported to the US. So my guess is the important collectors are in the US and not in Europe.

Maybe it is an idea to organize a large retrospective in the US?

wilfried

www.ftn-books.com

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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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Günter Tuzina …not a minimal artist, but minimalistic art.

 

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The second time i met Günter Tuzina was with his exhibition in 1992 in The Haags Gemeentemuseum and noticed that he still followed his own artistic path. Making variations on his windows with crossed lines in color schemes which were very recognizable and typical for the works by Tuzina. At the time Tuzina executed a walldrawing for one of the staircases in the Gemeentmuseum which is beside the LeWitt, Toroni and Forg staircase drawings still on show. I think Tuzina is one of those artists you can see work of and immediately know it is by Tuzina. A few years ago i was impressed by a work which was for sale at Christie’s but unfortunately it was out of my budget and sold for twice+ the estimation, but one can get lucky too, because a little before that i noticed these 2 beautiful drawings on the local book market, which were made in a series of 55 for the Bebert publishing house. Both are signed and numbered and all the drawing on each of them is done by hand and all have a different background color. These are from the same edition of 55 copies but the background colors vary and therefore these are unique and…..these beauties are now for sale at

www.ftn-books.com

It is hard to find good publications on this artist but ftn-books also has some nice titles available.

wilfried