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A recently discovered Mondrian

A few weeks ago i read an article by the  “de Speld”  ( it is an almost daily article on the backpages of the VOLKSKRANT paper), that a recently discovered Mondrian was presented to the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag to further complete its large Mondrian collection .

mondriaan smurf

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Cor van Dijk (1952)

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It took me along time to fianally appreciate the sculptures by van Dijk. At first i thought them to be too much copies of Judd sculptures, but i discovered them to be completely different. Why….surface , composition and construction differ from the one by Donald Judd. Still i consider his sculptures to be Minimal art and not constructivist.

 

He was  born in 1952 in Pernis, is a Dutch artist. The steel sculptures of Cor van Dijk are characterised by clear lines and geometric shapes. From first stages of their design, the material used for these works – steel – and their realisation are inextricably linked. To create his work, the artist uses separate sheets of solid steel, which he joins together with extreme precision. Van Dijk bases the dimensions of his sculptures on the standard gauge of the sheet metal. As a result, the mill scale found on the rolled steel is left intact in the finished works.

Viewing Van Dijk’s sculptures, one’s eyes constantly move across their surface and one’s attention keeps shifting from areas of open space to sections that take up space. The seams between the different segments play a key role in the works, since they lend a sense of scale to the mass of steel and define its different volumes. The artist strives to show interior space – its layout, possible compartments, the spaces between the segments and the massive quality of the steel itself. The different dimensions all interact with one another. Ultimately, this is also what gives the sculptures their specific presence: the precise handling of volumes and the perfect connection of individual sections in space. Each newly-realised concept is intended to bring even greater clarity to the context of the preceding work – while also pointing ahead, suggesting new concepts that are still waiting to be developed.

Van Dijk’s most recent sculptures comprise a single segment. The location of the open space and its dimensions determine the scale of the work as a whole. The result is an object in which mass (matter) and open space interact more intensively than ever before. In technical terms, the steel used for the sculptures shows no traces of machining or processing. Thanks to their mass, the open space and the interaction of these two elements, these tranquil objects seem to speak directly to the viewer.

www.ftn-books.com has the monograph on van Dijk now for sale

cor van dijk

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Tiong Ang (1961)

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The work of TIONG ANG spans a wide array of media, from collective performance, experimental film, through video and installation to painting, photography, and the display of objects. His practice across these forms centers around the social, emotional and existential consequences and negotiation of dislocation, disparate identities, and dispersion of imagery. _ Recurring themes are the impact of mass and digital media on individual perspective and collective memory, and the anxieties evoked by mobility and globalization. In these hybrid contexts, Ang addresses multiple modes of human presence and representation, using social intervention and juxtaposition, chance and communality, mockery and disguise. He explores subjective positions in divided, ambivalent, and collective conditions, be it on ethical, ethnic, or sociopolitical grounds. _Initially an object/painting based studio artist, from the mid-1990s Ang has expanded his production including experimental film, performative and relational enactments, interdisciplinary collaborations and curated projects. In a divergent practice, he examines authority and sustainability of images and narratives. The common thread in the work is the conflict between detached objectivity and engaged subjectivity; it demonstrates how universal media not only affect our perceptions of places and events but also denote our concept of reality. Elements of selfhood, cultural meaning, and social absorption have emerged in a diversity of mediated images. Thus, human perception and behaviour converge in complexities of disparate truths. The persona of the artist, distorted by media based projections, is the ultimate body to explore the human experience.

The above text comes from the Tiong Ang site.

www.ftn-books.com has recently added 2 important Tiong Ang publications to its inventory.

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Mario Negri (1916-1987)

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Almost forgotten this sculptor from Italy, but because of a recent addition to my inventory i rediscovered the sculptures by Negri.

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Mario Negri had a dutch exhibition in 1970 in the van Abbemuseum, curated by Hammacher who made a publication possible which is quite scarce. The 8 page fold out is designed by Jan van Toorn and depicts several works by Negri and a photograph of his studio.

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negri b

A bright green is chosen as a cover to draw attention and it oozes Seventies design. I love this great fold out and it even comes with a handwritte price list in Lire for those who want to complete their archives on the sculptor this is an absolute musey. A great sculptor and a great publication are brought together in this typical early Seventie van Toorn design. The Negri publication is now available at www.ftn-boooks.com

 

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Ru van Rossem (1924-2007)

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I started to take in interest in the art of Ru van Rossem the time i acquired a large collection of small signed and dated etchings by the artist. Among them, small etchings, lithographs, art libris and new years wishes. They had some elements in common. The human figure was important as well as horses and religion.

These three elements define the works by van Rossem. Perhaps it is not your kind of art, but study these prints and you will discover that van Rossem was an etcher “pur sang”. and that the art of etching held no secrets for him.

www.ftn-books.com

has recently acquired the most important monograph on van Rossen which is now available

 

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David Bade (1970)

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It must have been round 2002 that i first saw a sculpture by David Bade. It was the Yellow one/ BIG FISH DAY  that was placed at the entrance of the GEM, the contemporary museum next door to the Kunstmuseum Den Haag.  A bright yellow sculpture with a stork ( weapon of THE HAGUE) in top .

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My personal thought is that this is a monstrosity and over the nearly 20 years now that it is at this spot i never learned to appreciate it. Last week i walked by it , looked at the sculpture and noticed it was worn at some places and a thin layer of green algae is covering the sculpture, so perhaps in short time the sculpture will be removed from its spot and placed elsewhere. So far the negative on David Bade, because one always must have an open mind and when i leafed through the 2010 David Bade catalogue i was impressed….powerful sculptures, great paintings and drawings which reminded me of the great Expressionist painters . So there is a shift towards the positive. It does not mean that i now admire the sculpture outside GEM, but i definitely makes me look different to David Bade his art. The 2010 book is now available at www.ftn-books.com

david bade

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Paul Schwer (1951)

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A large text this time by Ludwig Seyfarth ,which can also be found on the Paul Schwer site. Why?…because FTN art has acquired 2 works by Paul Schwer and which will be for sale shortly.

„One would be tempted to believe that this structure used to have some convenient form, and now it was only broken. This does not seem to be the case; at least there is no indication; nowhere are approaches or fractures to be seen that would point to such a thing; The whole thing seems pointless, but completed in its kind. Incidentally, nothing more can be said about it, since Odradek is extremely flexible and can not be caught. „- From: Franz Kafka, The Care of the House Father

Extremely agile and unstoppable – that‘s also what Paul Schwer and his art say. The objects (an auxiliary term for quite different things) that Schwer produces do not move themselves, but almost systematically dispense with the usual names and categories with which works of art are classed in terms of genre, media or style.

How consistently Paul Schwer places his work between the chairs of conventional art forms, the various attempts make it clear that they capture it in an orderly manner. In the Wikipedia article he is called installation artist. On the website of the Goch Museum, he is considered one of the most famous German sculptors. And the radio contribution by Thomas Frank, which was broadcast to the exhibitions in Ratingen and Goch, sees the aspect of extended painting as central, thus ultimately following the artist himself. Somewhat surprisingly, he then places Paul Schwer in the art-historical tradition of stained glass. The fact that each interpreter sees a different artist, depending on the perspective, could be due to a very divergent design vocabulary within the work. Even well-known artistic oeuvres do not offer a uniform picture. Suppose someone is not familiar with Pablo Picasso‘s work and enters a solo exhibition of this painter who has become the cliché of the modern artist. If he then sees works from the blue and pink period, then the cubist, the classicist and the later phases, he is likely to expect to attend a group exhibition.

That would hardly be suspected in an exhibition by Paul Schwer despite the diversity of media and materials. Plexiglass and polyethylene terephthalate (PET9, wood or fluorescent tubes are repeatedly used materials that, in addition to a clear color, a game with transparency and semi-transparency and a play of surface shapes and complex volumes,a clear, consistent „handwriting“.

At the same time, however, seemingly contradictory things are always connected with each other. Both the individual object as well as an overall arrangement in an exhibition or in an outdoor space (often Paul Schwers works outdoors) often suggest a lability and fragility, a situation that would immediately get out of hand with a small change in the heavyweight.

Not just a house is upside down, on the edge of the roof (which we will come to). The relationship between two- and three-dimensionality always stands in the balance. The „painterly“ application of color does not take place on a flat surface. The most common image carrier is a transparent, heated PET fluid (or Plexiglas) that has been thrown in a fluid state and re-hardened. Thus, the „image ground“ becomes a plastic, free-standing object or lying on the ground object. The latter is reminiscent of the irregular outline of a crumpled paper, as if a picture or a drawing were discarded and thrown away, which also applies to the various red forms in the exhibition in Goch.

Thus, each image is simultaneously a sculpture, with sculptural elements, so to speak on the other side, also tending to be architectural elements in space. The prototype for this are the natural-brown or green lattices, which are made of roof battens and based on the outline of two pillars in the room, which reach below the ceiling in Goch and divide one of the two exhibition rooms, divided into different directions, into compartments. However, these rooms in the room are not completed; The grids are not fixed walls, but largely open to the view. The different sawed out sections correspond exactly to the dimensions of the door and window openings of the room. Other elements that also have an optical outline function are colored rectangular discs made of corrugated polyester, which hang pictures on the construction like single panels – not all at the usual eye level, but their size and position is also derived from the architectural conditions of the room.

The reference to the conditions of space based on strictly geometrical forms and dimensions could almost be read as a continuation of the tradition of Minimal Art. But one may also be reminded of the Cabinet of Abstracts, which El Lissitzky set up between 1926 and 1928 in the Sprengel Museum Hannover and which since 2017 has been accessible there as a reconstruction. Lissitzky designed a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk for the presentation of works by other artists as well, based on a clear constructivist vocabulary of forms. However, Paul Schwer also incorporates in his „Gesamtkunstwerk“ other elements that would be unthinkable to Lissitzky or strict minimalists. Thus, several red PET objects form a radical contrast to the geometric reduction. Complex wrinkled and folded forms can not be grasped at a glance, suggesting a baroque overabundance, an impression of the random and the chaotic. A staging of the exhibition space based on such strong formal counterparts may seem like an attempt to bring things right back to their original level after an explosion or other destruction.

The corrugated iron hut, which stands diagonally upside down in the other showroom, could also have been torn away by a flood. It does not seem habitable anymore, even when light is on. Inside, there is an accumulation of fluorescent tubes, the cables of which hang down at the bottom, reminiscent of a torrent of water.

„Model“ for this architectural sculpture is a corrugated iron hut that Paul Schwer has seen far away from human settlements in Iceland. Travel memories often form associative starting points for his spatial stagings. The second room was inspired by the facade of a vegetable shop in Istanbul, where the artist had a scholarship in 2015.

However, such references and narrative references never become clear; mental impressions, like physical materials, enter into the composition of an „installation“. After all, is Paul Schwer ultimately an „installation artist“ who combines various individual elements into a spatial entity? Or does he create three-dimensional images that extend concepts of painting into space? Even though Paul Schwer himself, as already mentioned, tends towards the latter „categorization“, in the end it is up to us how we classify our mode of experience conceptually. The emotional impact can also vary depending on the observer. Thus, the strong color and the physical force of the sculptural forms combined with the often surprising light effects of the fluorescent tubes can trigger a feeling of expressive affection. If you look more closely at the constructive components, you will discover in Paul Schwer‘s work a seemingly contradictory, almost hermetic feature, in which the elements, as on different levels of presentation, almost seem to interlock with one another like a Russian doll.

Furthermore, one could ask how Paul Schwer‘s art of spatial presentation could be classified in the context of contemporary installation art. If we follow Claire Bishop‘s 2005 installmentage „Criitical History“ in the Tate Modern Press, different forms of installation are distinguished not by their spatial presentation, but by the way they are viewed („viewer“) that are, are mentally and physically involved. Dream scene, heightened perception, Mimetic engulfment and Activated Spectatorship are the guidelines here, which are also based on different subject theories. The recipient subject is involved, but also decentred: psychoanalytically, phenomenologically, libidinally or in the sense of a post-structuralist political subject.

The receiving subject is called upon to actively explore the spatial staging. But this is no self­assured subject with a sovereign command of a unitary space as in Renaissance perspective but one that is decentred in the sense of post­structuralist theories. There is no sovereign viewer’s standpoint from where the entire spatial installation can be grasped in one sweep. This is a central characteristic of Paul Schwer’s spatial stagings, aligning them with the procedures of many well­known installation artists like Allan Kapow, Lucas Samaras, Paul Thek, Ilya Kabakov, and Gregor Schneider.

However, the combination of different, seemingly incongruent things in stage­like spatial ensembles also calls to mind the psychoanalytically inspired combinatorics of the Surrealists. And perhaps the individual elements brought together by Paul Schwer take on a »sense« only if read as Freud read dreams: as picture puzzles whose deeper meaning does not lie in what is to be seen in the images.

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An important Tajiri/Crouwel book

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It was in the earliest years of his career that Wim Crouwel was invited to design the catalogues of the van Abbemuseum and in these years several iconic publications were published that were designed by Crouwel. I have encountered over the years many of them and have a nice selection for sale at www.ftn-books.com, but until last month i never had seen the Tajiri catalogue from 1961. It was one of the earliest of Tajiri his catalogues for a major museum, but Wim Crouwel must have felt the same about the catalogue as Tajiri did. Both must have the iedea that is was important for them personally. The typography on the cover is outstanding and the photograph by Cas Oorthuys even enhances it. This is a thin 12 page catalogue with a special 4 page inlay ( with photographs of sculptures), but every page shows the quality of Wim Crouwel his design in combination with the works by Tajiri.

tajiri abbe a

 

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John Davies (1936-1999)

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“I call myself a haunted house… we all have ghosts and histories.” – John Davies

Davies’ interest in the human presence set him apart from many of his contemporaries in British sculpture at the beginning of his career. Of his early figures, often cast from life and clothed, Davies has said, ‘I wanted to make a figure, not like a piece of sculpture, more like a person…. I wanted my sculpture to be more like life in the street’.

His more recent works are modelled in clay, before being cast in polychrome polyester and fibreglass, or bronze. Davies arranges these figures in carefully choreographed relationships. Animals and inanimate objects such as houses also appear in works whose thematic concerns are always with human experience.

Of The Deerson Series, shown for the first time in this exhibition, John has said: ‘This series of scarecrow-like figures, with their moons, are a kind of self-portrait. I never intended to make these images, having other ideas to the fore, when I had a car crash in 2010. My life always leaks into my work, so inevitably and reluctantly these images emerged. They are works processing my long recovery. Now to me they seem to have a life of their own, independent of my story. Mad dancing ‘scarecrows’ coming to life, a protest against fate and physical frailty, like the figures in the Watersons’ song, ‘The Scarecrow’.’

Drawing, often in series, has always been an important aspect of John Davies’ practice, and the sculpture and drawings are equally important to him. The drawings in this installation demonstrate how the two practices influence each other.

The above text was found in Fuse magazine

http://www.ftn-books.com has some John Davies catalogues available

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Babs Haenen (1948)

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If you are looking for the most complicated ceramic art , then Babs Haenen her objects will be in the top three.

The first time i encountered work by Babs Haenen was when the Haags Gemeentemuseum has bought two vases for its collection. What struck me was that these vases had very delicate colors and were looking not like the ordinary ceramics from the collection. They looked like sculptured vases . Her method of building a vase is simple. Porcelain clay is coloured with pigments and afterwards rolled out into thin sheets. The choice of porcelain clay is dictated by the wish to be able to produce bright colours. The basis for a piece at work is made by cutting up the different coloured sheets and joining them together again in various patterns.
Round a plaster core is placed a thin piece of textile, which serves to prevent the clay from sticking to the core. The core is then inverted and the sheets of clay are draped around the textile.This is done from the bottom, so that at first the pot is shaped upside down.

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When the piece has reached a given height, it is removed from the core. a short drying period and then built up further the right way up. At that point it has often not yet reached half its eventual height. Hence the form at the plaster care only determines the final form of the pot to a very minor extent.
Between the additions at new sheets of clay the piece is dried with a hairdryer, so that the form soon acquires a degree of certainty. In its further built-up a great freedom prevails in respect of designing by distorting and modelling.
After being thoroughly dried, the pieces are given a biscuit firing, then glazed and given repeated reduction firings in a gas kiln at a temperature of 1260 C.

The above text comes from the book which is now available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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