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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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Robert Filliou (1926-1987)

For me Fluxus is Robert Filliou and Robert Filliou is Fluxus. There are so many examples how Filliou approached art in his very personal way. Born in France, but at one time he worked in Los Angeles for Coca Cola. This is where he must have learned to speak and write english, but when you listen to him he learned to speak the language, but not without the french accent.

Still i like his works and there is always something to discover within his projects of which one  was a project he did at the StedelijK Museum Amsterdam in 1971 after which project a catalogue was published. The catalogue RESEARCH AT THE STEDELIJK Nov.5-Dec.5 1971 is available at www.ftn-books.com , is one of the rarest from the Seventies Stedelijk catalogues and is an excellent introduction into the fascinating world of Robert Filliou.

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Vassilakis Takis (1925)

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Day 4 of my “forgotten artists” blogs is devoted to Vassilakis Takis. Now 92 years of age, but forgotten by most. It used to be different because in the 60’s his name was quite known among art lovers , specially the one interested in Kinetic art. His Grec origins never showed in his works , no classical sculptures for him, but investigating the relations between art and science, resulting in Kinetic works which were original. Still he never became the household name as others from his generation have become. No Soto, Staudt or Agam stature for Takis, but he had his moments in art, which resulted in some nice and very hard to find catalogues. 2 of them available at www.ftnbooks.com. Since the early 1950s, he has been exploring these new aesthetic territories, creating three-dimensional works of art that incorporate invisible energies as a fourth, active element. Takis, who describes himself as an “instinctive scientist,” employs powerful, elemental forces to generate the forms, movements, and musical sounds of both his static and kinetic works but never became famous for his kinetic art and that is a pity, because his approach is original, which resulted in somne nice works of which some of them are in some pubic collections ( mainly in France).

 

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Raul Cordero (1971)

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Raul Cordero was born in Cuba in 1971 and influenced by the Americam Conceptual artist like Nauman and Baldessari. There are not many Cuban artist that rose to fame in the Western world but Cordero together with Wifredo Lam ( Blog next month) is definitely one of them and of course there is a relation between the Netherlands and Cordero too, because he studied at the Rijksakademie.

The publications are rare and very hard to find , but i was fortunate to find probably the most important book on his works until this date . The book was published on the occasion of the Cordero exhibition held in Salamanca (Spain) on his works from 1996-2002. The book is rare and those booksellers that have a copy ask high prices for it. Check for my price at www.ftn-books.com, where this title is now available too.

His art education started in Havana (Academia San Alejandro and Instituto Superior de Diseño) and as said his influences mix an interest in conceptual American artists such as John Baldessari, Bruce Nauman or Chris Burden -who later informed his conceptual training- together with elements of the 12th century’s Flemish painting tradition, acquired during his postgraduate formation in the Netherlands (Graphic Media Development Centre and Rijksakademie Van Beeldende Kunsten). Cordero has held visiting professorships at the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana, Cuba; The San Francisco Art Institute, California and The Art Academy of Cincinnati, in Ohio, U.S.A.

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Michelangelo Pistoletto (1933)

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I know his work and recognize it by his reflecting surfaces and mirror like qualities , but Pistoletto is much more than an artist who uses a “Gimmick”. Now , 85 years of age he has proven to be one of the most influential Italian artists from the last century and his works have spread all over the world . (I even have illy collection cups by Pistoletto in my collection ;-).

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Why is he, i think, so important?…. Probably this is because he stayed true to his art and has developed it into a very personal and recognizable form which is now appreciated by many. Pistoletto had had his exhibitions in the Netherlands in the van Abbemuseum and Stedelijk Museum and has built steadily an appreciative audience because of these exhibitions in the Netherlands since his earliest one at the van Abbemuseum in 1986. Arte Povera is Pistoletto ….and within his works he brings together Fluxus and conceptual art. The admiration of Bacon started his art career, but since he has walked his own path of “REFLECTION”.

Here are some of the books www.ftn-books.com has on Pistoletto in collection

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Pieter Laurens Mol / Cervo Pendulum

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Sometimes you know a book exists, never seen it, but from stories heard and publications read there is only one conclusion…it must be out there…somewhere.

Cervo Pendulum by Pieter Laurens Mol is such a publication. I learned the book was printed by Rosbeek. At the times i visited this printer in the late Nineties i had never seen a copy. All the times i visited book fairs, markets etc….no copy found. But now finally after over 24 years  i have a copy at www.ftn-books.com available.

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This book is rare, that is for certain, but it is also important. It is one of those little artists books which is worth collecting. Printed by Rosbeek and published on the occasion of the opening of the new medical faculty building of the University of Utrecht. Edition is said to be 250 copies only and of these few will have survived. Text is in dutch and in english, which makes this important book accessible to english collectors too.  An absolute “must have” for the Pieter Laurens Mol collector and it is not very likely that it will show up again in the coming years.

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Kurt Ryslavy (1961)

For the 3rd blog on (almost) forgotten artists, here is a blog on Kurt Ryslavy. Born in Graz Austria, Ryslavy has made some great works, but realized that art could not support him financially by itself. So he had to rethink his installations and make a more practical and financially more sound approach to his art. He wanted to make a living from his art and combined this into importing Austrian wines and combining them with critical texts and making installations out of them in museums and galleries.

This resulted in some highly peculiar works of art, but as an importer of Austrian Wines in Belgium he now is financially independent and can make his art the way he likes. The MAK in Vienna devoted some years ago an exhibition to him.

KURT RYSLAVY, COLLECTOR, WINE MERCHANT, SUNDAY PAINTER.

A Conceptual-Sculptural Intervention

WED, 06.04.2011–SUN, 01.05.2011
 

In this project, selected objects from the MAK collection are to be arranged by Kurt Ryslavy. He will do so as collector, as a wine dealer and as an artist, thus giving rise to a complex sort of intentionality and, what’s more, making space for a wine bar which once served as an installation in an exhibition by Harald Szeemann. Since art itself has become nothing more than a market, it will also suffer the market’s fate. By exorcizing and/or banalizing mystifi cation, Ryslavy prevents the capitalist control of societal creativity—a control which purpose is, of course, to mystify. The value of Ryslavy’s art lies not in its aesthetic standards of quality, but rather in its complex refl ection on the division of labor, subjectivity and immaterial work. (Peter Weibel) It is conceivable that the artist, who refers to himself as a “Sunday painter,” will mount a performance with the participation of winemakers.

www.ftn-books.com has 2 titles on Ryslavy available.

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Sixties magazines TIQ versus PLEXUS

The sixties were the years of my teens. And with these years belong some dutch fan music magazines . There was Muziek Express and Tuney Tunes for the young fans, For the somewhat older teens there was HITWEEK( Which later became Aloha)

and then there was finally TIQ…. a a magazine focussing on art, music, fashion, photography and ….”sex”  making this a true Dutch Pop Art magazine .It was a groundbreaking magazine , years ahead of its time. Published as a glossy magazine , but with a contents that was solely focussing on the teens and twens from the sixties.

Unfortunately it was not popular and only 14 of these magazines were published in 1966 and 1967. It disappeared much to soon from the market ,leaving the youth only Hitweek, but in France it was totally different. Of course there were BD’s ( Bandes Dessinees/ Comics) with Pilote as the leading magazine. But is focusses on the very youthful , this was recognized by L.D. publisher who wanted something different and then there suddenly was PLEXUS. No glamour photography but artful photographs by renowned photographers. Paintings by Labisse and Leonor Fini . Painters and artists who did not look away from nudity. Nudity, erotic art, erotic cartoons and short stories were the main ingredienst. Focussing with this contents on a youthful audience. In France this was the equivalent for the TIQ magazine in the Netherlands. A pop Art magazine with only 40 volumes in its publication years. Both nostalgic collectables of which there are now 3 volumes available at www.ftn-books.com

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Ben Vautier / Fluxus and Basel

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People who follow this blog , know of my love for Ben Vautier. Not only because he is one of the most original and consistent artists from the last 100 years, but also because there is always some humor just around the corner. Unfortunately  I have missed the most important Vautier exhibition from the last 10 years. It was held at the Tinguely Museum in Basel :

Ben Vautier. Is everything art?

21.10.2015 – 22.01.2016

Ben Vautier has been on the scene since the late 1950s as an artist, performer, organizer, linguistic inventor, and re-thinker of art. He is one of the pioneers of the Fluxus movement in Europe and, as a comrade-in-arms of the École de Nice, a close friend of artists such as Arman, Yves Klein, Martial Raysse, and others. He is known for his text images, which, using brief, pithy phrases, equally question and challenge life and art. Ben Vautier has the first comprehensive retrospective in Switzerland dedicated to him at the Museum Tinguely. Alongside an overview of the first 20 years of his creativity, Ben sets up in Basel more than 30 rooms as he comments on various social, artistic, and political topics and takes a stance. In total, the show exhibits far in excess of 400 works by the artist, who is still very active to this day.

Still what remains is one of the best and certainly one of the most beautiful books on Vautier’s art. It has a simple brown cover, but is filled with iconic Ben “paintings” from hs first 20 years as an artist and published as only the Suisse can publish art /museum catalogues. The print is exceptionally good, the lay out superb and the contents…..well all BEN, making this one of the most collectable books i recently offered on www.ftn-books.com

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