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Aldona Gustas (1932)

Aldona Gustas

Aldona Gustas is a Lithuanian-born German writer and graphic artist and a formative figure in the independent West Berlin art and cultural scene in the post-war period.

In the late 1950s and 1960s, Aldona Gustas became friends with artistic personalities such as Günter Grass, Günter Bruno Fuchs and Robert Wolfgang Schnell. These contacts and her own interest in combining literature and painting led her to found the Berlin Painting Poets in 1972.  For the group of 14 painting writers and writing painters, she curated exhibitions and edited anthologies. Through her, the Berliner Malerpoeten also became internationally known.

Aldona Gustas also provided the opportunity to link an exhibition of Berliner Malerpoeten and six contemporary (female) Lithuanian artists in a common show entitled Oxymoraas part of Lithuania’s Presentation as Guest of Honor at the 2017 Leipzig Book Fair.

Female identity, eroticism and sensuality represent central themes in the lyrical and pictorial works by Aldona Gustas, which she has also combined in numerous publications. According to Olav Münzberg, spontaneity, brevity and simplicity are her basic constructive principles – in both her literary and visual works. Many of her speech-images are populated with paradoxes. As androgynous figures with the curves of their bodies transformed into fish or birds.

In 2017 her most recent volume of poems Zeit zeitigt was published by Corvinus Presse in an exclusive manual print-run. Currently an exhibition with 30 drawings, Aldona Gustas und die MUNDFRAUEN (Women’s Voices) – is travelling through museums and libraries in Lithuania for 2 years, organized by Browse Gallery and funded by Goethe-Institute Lithuania.

Edition of 600, signed and numbered 272 available at www.ftn-books.com

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Alexander Lichtveld (1953)

Alexander Lichtveld

Born in Amsterdam in 1953, Alexander Lichtveld studied ceramics at the Gerrit Rietveld
Academie under Jan van der Vaart from 1973 to 1978.
Since his graduation from Rietveld Academie, Alexander Lichtveld has been making ceramic
sculptures; in the early years these took the form of architectonic, geometric sculptures that
are not generally associated with the ceramics craft. At first sight, these sculptures made of
clay slabs do not resemble the material of which they are made. The coating, the colour
range, and the slick finish create the illusion that the material is very different from ceramics
as we know it. Nevertheless, Lichtveld is devoted to clay, or as he himself once put it, ‘I am a
sculptor who fires his own stone’.
Until 1985 Lichtveld worked in series, each sculpture in the series using the same principle.
After living, working and exhibiting in Japan for several extended periods, he stopped working
in series. More autonomous sculptures began to appear. The architectonic element of the
earlier sculptures was now complemented by a more narrative style. Round shapes, curves
and new themes entered the scene. ‘After so many years of working with straight lines,
planes, volumes and the relationships between them,’ says Lichtveld, ‘I had the feeling that I
more of less understood everything. That was the moment I started to make use of the
irrational and unpredictable.’ From then on, most of the sculptures were given titles.
Themes of earlier sculptures recur years later in a different form; new forms are created in an
unremitting pursuit of new kinds of sculpture. ‘Every single day I am amazed at the boundless
opportunities for creating new sculptures,’ Alexander Lichtveld explains. ‘Each time I think I
have exhausted all the possibilities, a new line of approach arises and another world of form
emerges, with infinite potential. The challenge is to make the right choices.’
In the midst of this creative dynamic, each sculpture requires and gives its own space and
peace. Tranquillity and contemplation are evident in virtually all the sculptures. ‘You can look
at my sculptures in the same way as you look at a Japanese Zen garden,’ says Alexander
Lichtveld. ‘What I see is a man-made setting that represents nature: all the components,
materials, sizes and colours in such a garden have been placed in a way that appears
accidental and self-evident, as in nature. In fact, the opposite is true. I have always been
fascinated by the knowledge that all of this has been created by man and everything has
been thought out carefully even though it appears natural, in a way that you will never come
across in nature. You are looking at something that is actually something else. That’s when it
really gets exciting.

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Semâ Bekirović (1977)

Sema Bekirovic

To what extent does an artwork create itself? And how much of the final product is a result of the artists’ guiding hand? I sometimes get the impression that most of my works seem to make themselves. It’s as if they have all these opinions regarding what they want to be/look like/say, and I find my role in the process reduced to that of collaborator instead of creator. Semâ Bekirovic

The work of artist Semâ Bekirovic is best described as playful conceptualism. Like reality, it’s a universe of temporary constellations wherein objects, people, animals and/or chemical reactions trigger each other into acting out their parts in a play directed by coincidence. Bekirovic tries to create a field of tension between the parameters she defines and her subject’s personal agenda. She eschews a hands-on, interfering approach, allowing her subject to co-author the work.

Bekirovic has always been inspired by scientific ideas and concepts. Her work has been known to feature black holes (Event Horizon, 2010), human-influenced-animal-culture (Koet, 2007), the first and second laws of thermodynamics (Fire Sequence, 2013/ Radiance Of Sensible Heat, 2016) as well as forensic techniques (Cube 02, 2017).  Her work deals with the supposed difference between culture and nature, as well as the obtaining (and letting go) of control. At times she has deployed animals in her work, though not really as subject (or object), but in a more collaborative fashion. Her method usually consists of deciding on and implementing parameters and letting the work ‘develop itself’. In this sense you could say that she is a spectator in her own practice, yet this does in no way deminish the idiosyncracy of her work.

www.ftn-books.com has KOET available , an artist book by Bekirovic

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Vali Myers (continued)

Vali Myers

About two years ago i wrote a blog on Vali Myers. The muse of Ed van der Elsken and an artist that that is strongly rooted in the Sixties Art. Now i recently was invited to witness the exhibition on dutch photography at the Nederlands Fotomuseum and ther it was …..another Vali Myers card with the iconic rain portrait made in Paris by Ed van der ELSKEN. Both cards are now for sale at www.ftn-books.com

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Otto B. de KAT(1907-1995)

Otto B. de Kat

The following text comes from Wikipedia.

He was born in Dordrecht, but received his training in Haarlem as a pupil of Henri Frédéric Boot and Samuel Jessurun de Mesquita. He married the poet Maria Jannetta (‘Hans’) van Zijl in 1930. They traveled to Italy, where De Kat’s work was exhibited alongside work by Maurits Cornelis Escher, and France, where De Kat was inspired by fauvism and the members of the École de Paris. de Kat’s work was included in the 1939 exhibition and sale Onze Kunst van Heden (Our Art of Today) at the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.[2]

De Kat was a driving force behind the Kennemer Kunstenaarskring. After the war, he and Kees Verwey founded the Hollandse Aquarellistenkring and De Kat remained its chairman until after 1965. He moved to Bloemendaal and became a good friend of Godfried Bomans, helping him found the Teisterbant club. De Kat became a member of Arti et Amicitiae where he won the Arti Medal in 1969. Ten years later, in 1979, he received the Jeanne Oosting Prize.[1]

He was an art critic for the newspaper Haarlems Dagblad in the years 1951–1955 and wrote for Het Vrije Volk.[1] After 1955 he became a teacher at the Amsterdam Rijksakademie, where he would be a tutor for many artists until 1972. His relationship with Hans van Zijl came to an end, just before she died in 1963. De Kat moved to Amsterdam and remarried in 1964 with Danish artist Dora Dahl-Madsen. The couple spent a lot of time in their second house in France, an inspiring environment for De Kat. Due to health issues they left Amsterdam in 1992 and moved to Laren. He died there, at the age of 88.

As an artist, De Kat was influenced by the École de Paris and painters like Pierre BonnardÉdouard VuillardAlbert Marquet en Nicolas de Staël. His paintings are mostly landscapes and still lifes with an intimate, calm atmosphere. His surroundings were his most important source of inspiration. Although he used abstraction in his paintings, he never abandoned reality completely. As a teacher, he focused on craftmanship, the weight of tradition and the interplay between rationality and emotions. De Kat’s work can be found in several Dutch museums, like the Frans Hals Museum and Teylers Museum in Haarlem and the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.

www.ftn-books.com has some publications on this artist now available.

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Peter Martens (1937-1992)

Peter Martens

Peter Martens (1937-1992) was a Dutch socially engaged photographer. Wherever he went, Hong Kong, Rotterdam, Calcutta, Kenia or New York, he photographed power relationships. The crippled, praying, morally broken or even murdered people he captured can be crawling or lying on the floor, but they still are people among fellow human beings. They are flanked by those who are still are upright: police officers, the military or the church, ambiguous figures of power and authority who guide as well as oppress, dominate as well as support. What takes place on Martens stage is nothing less than life itself. The work of Peter Martens has an unique place in Dutch photography. As one of the only Dutch photographers Martens has been nominated different times for the Magnum photography award and in 1977 and 1979 he won several awards at World Press Photo. In 1984 Peter Martens was awarded the Capi-Lux Alblas Prize for his entire oeuvre and in 1988 the Silver Camera Foundation proclaimed him Photojournalist of the Year.

www.ftn-books.com has the important duo/duo book now available.

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Berend Hoekstra and Hilarius Hofstede

Berend Hoekstra

Hoekstra publications are scarce, but finally i have found at a reasonable price PIG. A Hoekstra/Hofsted artist book. Designed by Rutger Fuchs and published on the POLYNESIAN INSTANT GEOGRAPHY project at the Stedelijk Museum. A true artist book. Folio sized and one of the few Stedelijk Museum publication with a non standard size (The others BEWOGEN BEWEGING and PAUL THEK, both from the Sixties). This is ag reat publication and one that has a place in the art collection of the Stedelijk Muzseum and many other museums too. PIG is now available at www.ftn-books.com.

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Hans Arp (1886-1966 / continued )

Hans Arp

In my (humble) opinion, Arp is one of the greatest artists from the 20th Century, together with Pollock, Brancusi and all Minimal Art artist they are my favorites. I say this because last week i encountered a catalogue with works by Arp for sale at galerie Neher in 1987. The catalogie is great , but what makes it special is the price list which was inserted in it . A relief/sculpture for around 100K makes this at todays prices outright cheap and a painting for around 200K is hard to believe. Still …..this certainly is my kind of art, but for me personally i just draw as much energy and satisfaction from art from artists that are still cheap and can be had for a couple of hundred euro. To prove my case here are some recent additions of paintings i truly love.

The catalogue of the Arp exhibition and its price list is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Rose Stach (1964)

Rose Stach

Rose Stach is an interdisciplinary artist from Germany working in the fields of installation, object, textile, video, photography, and performance. The works of the artist are characterized by underlying social commentary, reflection of current events, and psychological manipulation. Employing various means of artistic expression, the author exposes the controversial nature of the reality by stating that the meanings of well-familiar objects may be changed. Spatial installations of Stach are constructed based on the principle of paradoxical combinations, where the viewer becomes involved in a Kafkaesque situation filled with aimless action. Quite often transformed objects stepping beyond the limits of daily routine acquire symbolic meanings and through them the author speaks of the problems of the world that she is most concerned about, such as exploitation of developing countries, emigration, crisis of values, growing consumerism, narcissism, and war. The author also often uses autobiographic details, personal experiences, pursuits of artistic identity, and explores the psychological and social obstacles burdening the contemporary society and offers an opportunity of getting rid of them. Stach received the2014 BundesGEDOK Art Prize and on this occasion of her show at the Frauenemuseum Bonn this UnderCover publication was published. It is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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GÜNTHER UECKER and galerie Denise Rene

Readers of this blog know of my admiration for the Galerie Denise Rene. In all past decades they were the first to present Avant Garde artists and in the sixties they were one of the first to show ZERO artists and their works. One of these shows was the legendary UECKER exhibition in 1968. The catalogue is like a “ghost” catalogue since it is rarely seen or offered, but now I have a copy for sale. This is certainly not cheap , but extremely scarce and a solid investment. available at www.ftn-books.com