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Bridget Riley

 

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Yesterday we visited the exhibition of Bridget Riley in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. ( the exhibition is till open until the 15th of October 2016).

A fascinating show on the Curved paintings she made from the early sixties until 2014. Paintings which are extremely detailed painted and very well thought out. The sketches and colored cardboard models show the way in which Riley makes these projects from idea into a large canvas. Walking through the exhibition ( yes passing these paintings) shows the effect these patterns have on your eyes. Waves and curves begin to dance before your eyes and show that a still painting can have the effect of movement in your perception. Fascinating to discover this Optical illusion and certainly very effective Op Art . Riley stayed true to this way of painting and did not produce many of these paintings over the years. These paintings take a long time to paint, but when they are ready they are  all masterpieces.

Her first solo exhibion she had at the Gallery One in London in 1964, after that she was invited for the Biennale in Venice and het break through exhibition ” The Responsive Eye” in the Museum of Modern Art in 1965.

Her works can be found in Modern Art Museums all over the world, but the Tate modern has the largest collection of them.

Look at the pictures i took at the exhibition and get an impression how she meticulously prepares each new painting. www.ftn-books.com has some nice early Riley titles available including the leperello which was published on the occasion she received the Sikkensprijs in 1992.

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Hans Bellmer ( 1902 -1975)

Hans Bellmer poster
Hans Bellmer poster

Is Bellmer a dadaist or a surrealist painter?

A discussion which is held for decades now, but to me he is more  a surrealist artist than a Dada one.

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Born in Poland, but living most of his life in Paris he led a secluded life and died a lonely man in 1975. After his dead the appreciation for his art began. Books were published, exhibitions held and his works were sold all over the world, but during his lifetime he was not that well known, nor popular because of his chosen subjects.

Finally in the last decade of his life he was considered one of the leading surrealist artist from his time and specially the photo series on the doll/ “La poupée”  he made received international praise. His main theme in practically all of his works is an erotic approach to his subjects. Fetishism, voyeurism and sado masochism can frequently be found in his subjects, but the erotic content is not easily discovered. In most cases you have to study the composition of the work to distinguish the erotic parts within.

Finally in 1959 and 1964 he received some recognition by being invited for the Documenta in Kassel.

From 1953 Bellmer lived together with the writer Unica Zürn . A sad relationship , lonely , without any social activities, living in a secluded way in hotel de l’Esperance in Paris. Unica threw herself out of the window in 1970 and Bellmer died a lonely man in 1975. A sad life of a great artist . If you do not know anything about Bellmer start with Wikipedia and learn something about him and begin to discover the surreal world he has created.There are some great titles at www.ftn-books.com to be found on this fascinating artist.

 

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Michael Parkes

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I must have been one of the first to have seen the work by Michael Parkes outside of Spain.

Michael Parkes lived and worked in Spain for some time where he was “discovered” by Gerrit Steltman and asked to have a show in his gallery Steltman ( location Rozengracht ). It must have been around 1978 when the first Parkes exhibition was held in this gallery and Gerrit showed me a preview of the works he was planning to show. I bought a small painting instantly and my parents decided to buy a larger one.  I traded the small painting in for a larger one as soon as his second exhibition opened and my parents bought a second painting. It must have been 20 years later that both these larger works were sold to the US. Thanks to the promotional activities of Gerrit Steltman, Parkes had become one of the leading fantasy painters from his generation and paintings were sold for high amounts. If you ask me now what i think of Parkes. …  a great painter, highly recognizable, but also one who choses the easy way of producing art and never made an effort to develop his art into a new direction. His women are beautiful and the fantasy worlds he creates are PARKES his own “Disneyland”, but it is also a world where you will not be surprised. I you have seen 100 Parkes paintings you have seen them all.

You must admire him for his technique, but there are other artists from his generation who deserve to be noticed too.

Personally  i think Parkes has created fascinating worlds, but do not close you eyes for others. In the same period Gerrit Steltman has also presented artists like Massimo Rao and Fassoni . Artist who are far less predictable and whose works can still be picked up at far more reasonable prices.

for books on Parkes see www.ftn-books.com

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Vera Molnár and computer art

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Yesterday i added a very nice publication on Vera Molnar to my inventory and realized that she was the artist i was most impressed with the time i visited the Vasarely Museum in Budapest. Molnar born 1924 studied with the art school of Budapest and was one of the first artists worldwide to experiment with computers in her art.

In 1968 she began working with computers, where she began to create algorithmic paintings based on simple geometric shapes geometrical themes.

Patterns and compositions were made with help the computer and since, her art developed in something very special.

In the 1960s, Molnar co-founded several artist research groups: GRAV who investigate collaborative approaches to mechanical and kinetic art, and Art et Informatique, with a focus on art and computing. Molnar learned the early programming languages of Fortran and Basic, and gained access to a computer at a research lab in Paris where she began to make computer graphic drawings on a plotter, several of which are included in a 2015 retrospective exhibition in New York called “Regarding the Infinite | Drawings 1950-1987.

Her works are now found in collections and museums all over the world, but the best museum to see her works is the Vasarely Museum in Budapest.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice Molnar publications in its collection. including a signed and original print.

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Pierre Klossowski (1905-2001)…erotic and bizarre

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Pierre Klossowski (1905-2001)

Pierre Klossowski’s art has always been on the border of what is  acceptable for the main stream art lover. As a viewer you almost feel always like you are intruding in an intimate scene . A little violent …and one which is drawn in delicate colors and therefore is pleasant to look at….but study it and you see what is happening and it is less pleasing

Pierre Klossowski came from an artist family and was the younger brother of the famous Balthus. You can see that they influenced each other but the works by Pierre are far more explicit as where the works by Balthus always depict a scene from which the viewer can make his own story. Klossowski   was a multi talented artist who made movies and wrote essays, but his claim to fame is his drawings and sculptures which are highly recognizable and original.

From 20 September to 19 October 2006 there was a display of Klossowski’s drawings and life size sculptures made after them with sculptor Jean-Paul Réti along with the art of Hans Bellmer at the Whitechapel also presented at the Ludwig Museum in Cologne and the MNAM Paris with a film retrospective. Since, many publications have been published on this artist, but some of the earlier ones are available at www.ftn-books.comwww.ftn-books.com