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Theo Eissens (1952-2015)

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I had never heard of Theo Eissens until i received the catalogue by Eissens SPRING BRUNNEN, which is now available at www.ftn-books.com. He photographs his surroundings and alters it by putting colored grids as an overlay on his photgraphs. It makes the works having a typical Eissens signature.

The catalogue which is for sale is the 2008 catalogue, but on 22 March 2015 the exhibition Theo Eissens – Berlin Calling opened at the Livingstone gallery with a series of new works: unique silkscreened images on canvas of abandoned and burdened places in and around Berlin.
Berlin played an important role in the life of Theo Eissens (Amsterdam 1952-2015). The title of this publication refers to the frequent trips he made from Amsterdam to Berlin and vice versa, and the recurrent long and short periods he lived and worked there, starting in 1992.
He worked at the Bethanien ( the same place as RONALD DE BLOEME worked at ) and exhibited with artists like A.R. Penck and Bruce McLean (1996, Galerie im Parlement, Druckwerkstatt Bethanien, Berlin) and was able to immerse himself in German (art)history.


In 2004 his focus shifted from prints on paper to works on canvas and wood panel. His ‘new’ concept involved photography combined with abstract and geometric shapes in acrylic paint. His extensive experience with printing techniques enabled him to use a silkscreen to literally transfer a photograph onto canvas and merge the image with parts painted in acrylic.
This development in his work led to the 2008 catalogue and exhibition Spring Brunnen. .

In 2015 Theo Eissens died unexpectedly, leavind us an important but small collection of impressive art works.

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Hermanus Berserik (1921-2002)

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I just thought about Berserik, because i lay my hands on one of the most intimate publications by an artist . It is the facsimile published BLADVULLING book by Hermanus Berserik full of sketches by this artist. He painted daily life scenes and was very fond of his sailing boat, which he depicted numerous times together with other nautic themes.

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You can still encounter his works at reasonable prices at auctions and his etchings can even be called CHEAP. If you do not know anything about the artist just visit:

Hermanus Berserik | De wereld onder een stolp

where a Berserik exhibition was held until the 18th of January. It gives some excellent in formation. The other way to get informed i to look for publications on the artist. www.ftn-books.com has several Berserik titles available.

BTW. I just learned at the MORE site that Berserik was an ex cellent photographer too.

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Bernard WILLEM Holtrop (1941)

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When i compare artist with each other  , the artist that comes to mind is  Pettibon. I think the best way to compare WILLEM is by comparing his drawings with the ones made by Raymond Pettibon.Prins Bernhard comic by Willempettibon brush a

Put them next too eachother and you see a resemblance in the directness and of course the use of black and white within them. But WILLEM is not only known for his Black / white drawings , but also for his political drawings and … some great illustrations. Among them… the illustrations he had done for FROM A -> Z by Rebecca Rass, published by Thomas Rapp in 1969 and available at www.ftn-books.com

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Here is a part of the biography on WILLEM published by the Lambiek gallery:

Born and bred in de Veluwe, one of the most conservative regions of Holland, Willem has become one of the world’s most unpredictable and sardonic cartoonists. While studying Fine Arts between 1962 and 1967, it all started with some early comix and cartoons for magazines like De Legerkoerier (The Army Courier), and with Willem’s contributions to the legendary student magazine Propria Cures. There, he got in touch with Roel van Duyn, the editor of the paper for the hippie movement Provo.

Since Provo at that time didn’t have an illustrator, Willem started working for them right away. In 1966 he caused quite a stir by portraying the Dutch queen Juliana as a prostitute in one of his cartoons for the Provo publication God, Nederland & Oranje. What followed was a persecution for lese majesty and a fine of 200 guilders. Following the demise of the Provo movement, his work appeared in De Nieuwe Linie in 1967. He moved to Paris, France in the following year, where his first cartooning work were contributions to L’Enragé during the May 1968 student strikes in Paris.

He subsequently became a regular contributor to Hara Kiri as well as its follow-up Charlie Hebdo. Willem’s beloved themes such as fat women, biological warfare, crabs, small children and police violence were all represented in the many political cartoons, illustrations, puzzles, comix and texts for the magazine. He also served as a promotor of Dutch comic abroad with his own publication Surprise. He was eventually editor-in-chief of Charlie Mensuel. He also appeared in Benoît Lamy’s documentary ‘Cartoon Circus’ (1972), a Belgian documentary about cartoons and comics,  in which he was interviewed alongside SinéPichaRoland ToporCabuJean-Marc Reiser, François Cavanna, Professeur Choron, GalGeorges Wolinski, Joke and Jules Feiffer.

Ever since the late seventies, Willem has been contributing controversial daily cartoons to the French left-wing daily Libération. All through these years his output has been prolific, resulting in a veritable mountain of book publications, which are almost without exception hard to find. Luckily, in 1998, the editor Jean-Pierre Faur published the anthology ‘Deadlines’, a beautiful overview of the works of one of the most internationally renowned Dutch graphic artists.

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Lewin Alcopley (1910 – 1992)

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Do not make the mistake i originally made. Lewin Alcopley and Al Copley (cply) are 2 completely different artist where CPLY is rooted in the Pop Art scene. Alcopley is the more abstract artist and rooted in abstract expressionism.   I now have added one of the rarest of his publication to the inventory of www.ftn-books.com. It is a book published in a roman numbered edition by galerie Parnass in 1961 and one of only 65 roman numbered copies which contains, beside 32 prints in black on white paper, a beautiful and impressive lithograph used as special cover. Book in slipcase and signed by the artist and author. Numbered in inkt. This book is numberXXXIX from LXV This book is very special and an absolute must have for the serious Alcopley collector.

copley voies s

 

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Swip Stolk (1944-2019)

 

Schermafbeelding 2019-03-12 om 11.13.44Swip Stolk is certainly one of the great names in dutch graphic design. He died last sunday at the age of 75 . There are some iconic designs by Stolk that are worldwide famous. Specially the peeing poster for the Serrano exhibition drew attention from all over the world. There was a typical Swip Stolk styke of design. He broke with the minimal designs of the sixties ( Crouwel and Wissing) and invented his own exuberant style of design which was soon to become the “house style” of the Groninger Museum for which museum he made for nearly two decades many important book and publication designs.

there are several important Swip Stolk designs availabel at www.ftn-books.com

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Peter Pontiac (1951-2015)….Infanticide

 

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This is the farewell exhibition of the Groninger Stripmuseum . It stops after this appealing exhibition in which comic artist show that beside their talents as comic artists they are in many cases also serious and very accomplished painters. Here is the painting that struck me most. It is INFANTICIDE by the late Peter Pontiac.

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I am an admirer of Peter Pontiac for a long time now and this painting shows in an excellent way that there is more to his art than his stand alone comics. www.ftn-books.com has some nice Peter Pontiac items and limited editions available.

 

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Saul Steinberg (1914-1999)

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….and now for the other Steinberg…SAUL STEINBERG.

First i must say that writing a blog on Steinberg, can not do justice to the excellent site , which the Steinberg foundation has constructed on the life, times and art of Saul Steinberg. You can visit the site at : http://saulsteinbergfoundation.org

But some personal notes on the artist. Saul Steinberg is a very well known artist in Europe. He had his exhibitions at the Maeght galleries in the Sixties and Seventies and both the Stedelijk Museum and the Boymans van Beuningen museum in the Netherlands organized exhibitions on the artist. In the beginning i always had considered Steinberg to be an illustrator and not the artist he later became to me. Later i realized to look at his art in a way that his drawings were meant to be seen. A citation from his site makes this clear :

Saul Steinberg defined drawing as “a way of reasoning on paper,” and he remained committed to the act of drawing. Throughout his long career, he used drawing to think about the semantics of art, reconfiguring stylistic signs into a new language suited to the fabricated temper of modern life. Sometimes with affection, sometimes with irony, but always with virtuoso mastery, Saul Steinberg peeled back the carefully wrought masks of 20th-century civilization.

This is an artist to be discovered by a far larger audience. At this moment i think he is the lesser of both Steinberg’s  i recently wrote a blog on, but perhaps time will prove me wrong and i will think of his art just the way around in a few years. www.ftn-books.com has some nice and rare Saul Steinberg publications available.

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Eduard Steinberg (1937-2012)

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Eduard Steinberg is the first Steinberg i write a blog about. He is far lesser known than his brother in art Saul Steinberg, but for me personally he is the better artist. Where Saul Steiberg leans towards art & illustration, Eduard Steinberg is the abstract artist who “invents” and impresses me much more.

A creator of geometrical abstract paintings, Eduard Steinberg was born into the family of poet, translator, and artist A.A. Steinberg.
Shortly after his birth, his father was arrested by the Stalin regime and thrown into prison. Upon his release, the family settled in Tarusa and Eduard helped his parents in their pursuits, though he had no professional artistic education. He lived in Tarusa from 1957 to 1961, teaching himself to paint by making copies of still lives, portraits and landscape paintings of Tarusa.
Moving to Moscow in 1962, he actively participated in the nonconformist movement.
In the 1970s Steinberg began creating his own version of geometrical abstraction (meta-geometry), where a plastic construction is seen as a consequence of a spiritual impulse.

I did not see the exhibition he had at the Josef Albers Museum and think it is a pity, because exhibitions on Eduard Steinberg are rare occasions. Still www.ftn-books.com has the signed exhibition poster of this important Steinberg exhibition.

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Jakob Gasteiger ( 1953 )

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It must have been in 1991 that i first encountered the publicatiions by Picaron editions. Among them was the Travel to Rome portfolio by Marc Mulders . On this specific item i wrote a blog some 2 years ago. Now it is time to devote a blog to another of their publications. The Jakob Gasteiger portfolio which was published in an edition of only 300 copies. It contains 8 special prints and certainly is one of the rarest of all Gasteiger publications and now finally for sale at www.ftn-books.com

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A rare and beautiful item and for those who do not know Gasteiger . here is an interview with him from 6 years ago to discover the man behind the artist:

 

JAKOB GASTEIGER By Karlyn De Jongh April 2013

The analytical painting of Jakob Gasteiger (1953, Salzburg, Austria) centralizes the process and act of painting itself. Gasteiger lives and works in Vienna, Austria. KDJ: For this year’s 55th Venice Biennale, you will make a room covered completely with carbon paper. Why did you choose to make this particular statement? What do you want to say with it? Why create a Black room? JG: For twenty years I have worked with paper as well, carbon and tissue paper. Before the introduction of computers and printers, carbon paper was used for copying. What you see are, strictly speaking, industrially produced monochrome charcoal drawings. Tissue paper is being sold in many colors as wrapping paper for presents. I stick these papers on canvas or, for an exhibition, directly on the walls of a museum or gallery. They are environments, graphic rooms which temporarily can be walked in, and at the same time murals. The color pigments of the papers come off when I stick them on the walls and you get, although I don’t use any paint here, the impression of a painting. The ‘treated’ walls are not black, however, depending on the brand the colors of the papers come off differently. KDJ: In an interview for Personal Structures: Works and Dialogues (2003) you stated that your basic concept is the question: Where is the boundary between graphics and painting and between painting and sculpture.” Now 10 years later, can you give an answer to this question? Has your answer changed over the years? Have you been able to extend these boundaries? Which boundaries would you still like to abolish? JG: In my works with tissue and carbonpaper I question the boundary between graphics and painting, my acrylics do the same with the boundary between painting and sculpture. But I am not especially interested in giving answers. Thirty years ago, when I started with this concept, I attached more significance to it. Since then my artistic activity has become independent, now I can draw on my wealth of experience. I do not want to eliminate boundaries either, I was interested in recognizing these boundaries in my work, but I did no tintend to abolish them. KDJ: When you are ‘researching’ the boundaries between painting and sculpture, the concept of space must be an important discussion point for you – if only as a consideration of the 2- or 3-dimensionality of your work. What does space mean to you? JG: The beauty of Japanese art lies in the “Ma”, the negative space or gap. It is considered to be a “filled emptiness”. This has inspired me as much as Japanese or Chinese tissue papers or lacquer painting. KDJ: Artists such as Hermann Nitsch, Toshikatsu Endo and Rene Rietmeyer have a strong urge to say something, wanting to be heard to create awareness and accomplish some change in humans and the way they think about the world around them. This is one of the reasons why Rietmeyer started PERSONAL STRUCTURES, for example. Maybe I am mistaken, but I have the feeling that you make your work for different reasons. It seems you are more introvert and create your works as a research for yourself. Am I right? Is there something you want to change in human thinking? JG: As an artist, I hardly have a missionary urge with my work. However, I would like to change human thinking a bit. Worldwide there are about twenty wars and more than a hundred violent conflicts. We are experiencing racism, discrimination, intolerance and violence all over the world. With my work as an artist there is nothing I can do about these problems, but as a politically conscious person I can express my disgust at this state of affairs. KDJ: In 1978 Marcia Hafif wrote the essay “Beginning Again”, in which she describes the situation of painting at that time as no longer being relevant. Her aim was – and seems to have been for the past 30 years – to go back to the question of what painting actually is. Although you seem concerned with the same subjects as she is, you are one generation younger than Hafif is, and were born in another part of the world. Was your situation different than hers? Why do you have this urge to question ‘painting’? JG: All questions of art reappear cyclically. How often has the end of painting been proclaimed… But every generation faces its new tasks which have to be analyzed in accordance with the time and for which new solutions have to be found. Abstract or non-representational painting is probably the greatest achievement in the art of the 20th century, and it is still relevant to me and my work. KDJ: In texts about “Radical Painters” and related artists, often there is a reference being made to the German word “Farbe”, which in English denotes to both paint and colour. Being Austrian, having German as your mother tongue, is there for you an existential difference between paint and colour? Or can we not see them separately? How does colour relate to material? JG: Paint is just material to produce my paintings. In this context, color does not carry meaning or content. A red painting is for me nothing more than a painting that was created from a material whose color is red. KDJ: When I visited your studio in Vienna, it had the impression of being a laboratory. It seems that developing new ideas, coincidences are sometimes important to get further in our development. When you work in such a clean space, is there still room for coincidences? What role do precision and exactness play in your work? To what extent is the act of making a new work an analytical practice? JG: I see myself as an architect who is planning and designing a building. It must comply with his ideas and it is not supposed to collapse. Nevertheless, there are many unexpected problems during the construction that require new decisions. KDJ: For making his brushstrokes, Lee Ufan grinds stone to make pigment out of it. You also sometimes use ‘unusual’ pigments to create your works, such as copper, glass, aluminium or iron. Why do you do that? JG: I already answered your question about paint and color stating that a red painting does not carry meaning or content. But a red image (or whatever color) nevertheless evokes in the viewer a mood, a feeling. I use different materials, grated to powder, that are atypical as pigments in painting. Copper, iron, glass, aluminum are commonly used for sculpture. Copper has something old-fashioned and reminds one of copper kettles or copper roof sheeting, while aluminum, as the metal of the 20th century, lets one think of airplanes or cars. One of my aluminum pictures is “faster” than one made from copper. KDJ: Joseph Kosuth once remarked about Rene Rietmeyer’s VENEZIA glass Boxes that they “suffer from aesthetics.” Opinions are always different, but to me, with regard to your choice of colour, your work does not seem to ‘aim’ for ‘beauty’. What role does beauty or aesthetics play in your work? JG: Especially with my graphics and my works with paper I try to keep to a dilettante approach. Whether the results are “beautiful”, I do not know. I believe that the terms “right” or “appropriate” are more suitable. Viewers have probably their own opinion about it. KDJ: The colours you choose for your work are – in my opinion – quite sombre. Having lived in Vienna for some time, for me these colors go very well with Vienna as a location. To what extent do you think your colour choices – or your work in general – is influenced by the location where you create your works? JG: I am not influenced by the location of my studio. My choice of colors is also not dependent on my whims and moods. Since I started to use iron, glass, copper, etc. as pigments some years ago, the colors do get a completely different meaning. There was one exception once: I made Yves Klein-blue images because I wanted to break the taboo of his ultramarine. But it was just a quote, I did not refer to Klein’s metaphysics. KDJ: Instead of a brush, you use a comb to apply paint to the canvas. What attracts you in this ‘tool’? Why not use your fingers directly, like Arnulf Rainer did? JG: When I started to occupy myself with analytical painting, I also questioned the tools to apply the paint with and I have tried various other tools instead of the commonly used brush. I wanted “impersonal” tools, so fingers were no option. I used timber, boards, nails or a saw-blade to work with the paint. Later I cut comb spatulas from cardboard, I still do that today. KDJ: In the PERSONAL STRUCTURES catalogue for the 55th Venice Biennale, Florian Steininger writes about your work that it is about “painting as process, aloof from the emotional and personal gesture.” What is meant by “painting as process”? Do you look at the process of this particular painting? Or is it also about the process of your œvre? JG: I believe both. The ever-repeated gesture of applying and structuring the paint material to create my images is a repetitive work process and to some extent the growth of my œvre in small changes is also a process over many years. KDJ: I have met you a few times in Vienna and Venice and you made a very “soft” impression on me. To me, you as a person seem quite receptive of emotions and it is hard for me to imagine that your works would miss this ‘emotional’ aspect. I think that always emotions have at least a small influence on the decisions we make, even when it is just from being hungry or wanting to have an orgasm. Is it your aim to exclude these emotions as much as possible – even though it can never really be accomplished? JG: Instead of “soft” I would rather say “well-disposed”. It applies to artists as well as to politicians or other people: those who shout, quickly lose their voice. I prefer tolerance and respect myself and other people as well. Making art is like an expedition. It is planned and prepared, and the expedition leader should keep a clear head. On the way you have to react to something unexpected or you must choose a detour. This is, more or less, my situation as an artist for over thirty years. But still it is not certain that the expedition reaches its destination. You could also reply with the famous quote that the journey is the reward. KDJ: In 2009, I interviewed Marcia Hafif in her New York studio. She told me about her work in relation to time and space. The concepts of time and space were understood by her in a very ‘concrete’ way: the actual location of the work, and the time necessary to produce a work. It seems that time has a broader meaning in your work. An important element in your work seems to be ‘change’, the change of yourself as well as from your work. Change is perceived over time. How do you understand time? What does change mean to you? JG: Of artists is expected that they always come up with something new. “New” receives much attention. I did not want to live up to these expectations, so I adopted an attitude of denial. I began to produce the same pictures again and again, to repeat myself. That worked out well, because soon people started to say that “Gasteiger makes always the same”. But because I am basically non-dogmatic, I have expanded the range of possibilities to express myself in the course of time. KDJ: In an interview for PERSONAL STRUCTURES: TIME SPACE EXISTENCE (2009), Joseph Marioni states that “the element of time, is that my paintings involve a visual transition.” In your paintings, is change only a visual transition? Or does it go beyond that and are they in fact different? JG: Works of art are rooted in the time of their creation. Good art is resistant to zeitgeist and fashions and keeps its importance beyond the time of its origin. KDJ: Being very interested in time and existence myself, for me it is quite difficult to imagine that a person like you or Marcia Hafif spend their life ‘researching’ materialistic elements of painting. After a certain number of years and having painted a certain number of paintings, I know that for me it would become boring. Why does this research matter to you? What keeps you from continuing? Or have you changed over the years and adapted your main concept accordingly? JG: Of course I have changed over the years, at least I hope so. In my art, however, changes are not an intentional decision. I let them happen.There are outstanding works – of myself and others –, they are a benchmark for my work. Working in the studio always means self-reflection and a commitment to high quality standards. Mistakes happen nevertheless, and over time there have been works that I would rather not have shown. KDJ: In 2003, you have stated that “art is man’s activity of creating something new, of researching, of discovering.” Are you still this same opinion? Why do you think it is necessary to create something ‘new’? JG: It is not necessary, it happens. KDJ: Seemingly having a similar concern in your art as Hafif and Marioni, what is so ‘new’ about your work? Is it not rather the fact that it is made by you, that makes the work particular? JG: Yes.

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Kunstenaar en Fabriek / Judd & LeWitt

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In 1970 only 2 years after the first exhibition with Minimal Art at the Haags Gemeentemuseum ( Curated by Enno Develing) , there was an initiative by 3 aspiring admirers who wanted to present their choice of Contemporary Art with a focus on Minimal Art. Organized by the Kunsthistorisch Instituut in 1970  a location was found with the Nebato Fabriek in Bergeijk. The Nebato metal construction company executed some of the works by LeWitt and Judd and in the meantime the artists stayed nearby with Martin and Mia Visser. The Visser’s collected during 3 decades one of the most famous of dutch  Modern Art collections and  focussed in those early years on Minimal Art . From the early beginning of 1966 they started collecting LeWitt and Judd. Building this way a world famous collection of Minimal Art. It all comes together in this exhibition at the Nebato factory in 1970. Participating artists were: van Amen, Balth, van benthumn, Graatsma, Gribling, Grosvenor, Judd, LeWit, Morris, van Munster, Naumann, Slothouber and Staakman. This catalogue is rare and one of the most important Minimal Art collectibles there is. publication is available at www.ftn-books.com

There is a nice article to be found on the internet in which the relation between Visser the collector and the (minimal )artists is explained.

Friday Food For Thought: Martin Visser – collector, designer, free spirit