Posted on Leave a comment

Anna Yam (1980)

Ann Yam

Anna Yam

This text by Anna Yam is on her publication BIRD’S MILK , which is now for sale at www.ftn-books.com

Bird’s Milk is the name of an east-European candy. Anna Yam, who was born in the USSR and lived there until she was twelve, remembers it as a sweet, comforting delicacy, a rarity in her childhood’s circumstances and environment. The couplet composing its name, chosen by Yam for the title of her exhibition, is surprising and attractive yet simultaneously daunting and disturbing. A suspicious curiosity. An online search of the term offers links mostly to food and recipe sites which, along with glucose- and cholesterol-laden descriptions and culinary minutiae regarding the accurate mix of whipped egg whites, sugar, vanilla, milk and occasionally chocolate, also refer to the name’s origin, a common term in Russian to describe something inexistent or unattainable. Such expressions serve in popular use in many languages to describe everlasting devotion or a promise to achieve the unachievable for a love object (“I’ll give you the stars and the moon”). An essay published in February 2013 in the online magazine The Moscow News dealt with the changes that Bird’s Milk underwent over three decades in one of Moscow’s well-known restaurants, noting that the name refers to a Slavic legend about an unattainable gift that uses the phrase “as rare as hen’s teeth.” Yam’s choice of such a dual phrase sits well with the exhibition’s selection of photographs. At first glance they refuse to be linked with a coherent continuum, yet attest to a carefully considered editing that elucidates a meaning, as if a random collection of words whose composition within set syntactical structures has created fluent sentences with a formed narrative whose parts, once read, are no longer a random collection of words but details in a story. The story’s text is secondary, hence its uniqueness.

Posted on Leave a comment

Dennis Scholl (1980)

Dennis Scholl

Viewers of Dennis Scholl’s art enter an enigmatic, multilayered world. In this universe created by the artist, the onlooker meets characters that are both strange and funny, gets insights into their quarrels and romances and becomes participant or voyeur. They will never fully comprehend what they see, there is always a moment of confusion, a feeling that they have only scratched the surface of the story being told. Scholl was a student at the Academy of Fine Arts in Hamburg under Franz Erhard Walter and Andreas Slominski. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, at a time when many young artists turned to painting, and consequently colour, Scholl devoted himself to monochromatic pencil drawings. By consistently avoiding mainstream taste, the young art student quickly attracted the attention of collectors and curators. In his blackand-white works, Scholl shows himself to be a master-builder of narration, carefully assembling its fragments into collages. Faces, bodies, plants, and other organic elements, structures, and materials all create a cohesive whole.

The focus in Scholl’s drawings is always placed on the human figure. The protagonists of his works are sometimes references to literary or historical characters, but they are usually fictional. Since his early successes, which brought him to the Busan Biennale in South Korea in 2010 as well as several group exhibitions at Kunsthalle Hamburg, Scholl’s art has been constantly evolving. The world in which the characters are presented, move, meet, fight, and love, changes from drawing to drawing, each time becoming more complex. Over the years, the drawings’ formats have grown larger, until its protagonists became life-sized. In 2015, the artist carefully introduced colour into his work, moving from red chalk to pastels to crayons, giving it an entirely new dimension. While his pencil drawings almost appear as black-and-white photographs of oil paintings, the works in crayon show a more graphic quality. However, after nearly 15 years for Scholl, being consistent means taking the next step and transitioning to canvas, so since 2017 he has also been using oil paints. So far, Scholl’s works have been presented all over the world, being featured in numerous group shows as well as solo exhibitions in New York, Brussels, Malmö, and London. His drawings are also part of private collections in Switzerland, North America, and Germany.

www.ftn-books.com has the 2014 Scholl/ Michael Haas catalogue now available

Posted on Leave a comment

Arimichi Iwasawa (1958)

Here is what Iwasawa has to say on his art:

What do we ponder in our hearts ? ■ 

I will give another try at questioning the social role of art. We are already in the 18th year of the 21st century. I have asked the question –“What is the difference between 20th and 21st century for you?”- to the people around the world, none of them has given me a clear answer which I had expected. In the past 18 years, all of them shared that they felt something was wrong; they could not have high expectations; they had a feeling of loss, but nevertheless they are climbing up one step at a time. That is how I would sum up the people’s responses. It made me realize that it was a fortunate thing that I was an artist. We do not have such booming days, but we neither have a terrible depression in the Art World. 

The artists of younger generations think differently from the artists of my generation. All these artists are competing with each other in an effort to survive. However, if we cannot put to good use the knowledge we build up and nurture,and find joy in a variety of things, we cannot go forward. Let’s say that we have a stupendous file in our head, and all the memories of everything we have seen so far have been stored in it. I imagine the memories of many art works have been stored in the brain of an art lover. When he sees my work for the first time, he immediately starts looking in his file for a work that resembles it. Sometimes the process takes time. While searching in the file continues, the process of recording the new item goes on at the same time. As a matter of fact, this is a blissful moment for an art lover. Encountering an excellent piece of art is quite smoothing because this procedure that goes on in our head is so pleasant and delightful. When people encounter fine art work, people experience agreeable sensations like going into a warm bath, which all Japanese should understand. Bliss happens because the brain is activated at that moment. As an artist I aim to create works that can do that. That is what I can do as an artist. An encounter for me happens when I can travel instantaneously from the time when the earth was created 4.6 billion years ago to the current moment in which I am living, and from the time an artist of the past lived to the future. When Ican do that in my imagination, that activates my brain.

2010 I visited Paris for the first time in 25 years,and saw the Luncheon on the Grass of Edouard Manet.I wonderd what sort of year 1862 was for Manet as a backdrop for this painting, and what thought he had when he created this piece of art. The time for this musing was a pleasant moment for me. What flows within me is exactly the same as what is in all of you: numbers and world dictated by time. Wonderful encounters with something I have not yet seen may await me. There is an inexhaustible pleasure. All the encounters could contribute something positive to my work. Such belief encourages me to keep on trying. What does a wonderful work of art look like to you? 

Of late, moving images are always included in the exhibitions organized by contemporary museums. It used to be 16mm or 8mm silver salt films, or Bata and VHS tapes. They were replaced by computer, DVD, and Blue Ray. The equipment has changed from cinema projectors and cathode-ray tubes to slide projectors and thin monitors. Displayed works, too, have changed from still pictures or statues to flashing works or moving ones in response to the movement of viewers. It is my view that all this change is ascribable to the incredible speed of internet which was developed with great speed in the 21st century. In the 20th century, what used to be telephone network evolved to ISDN, ADSL and then to optic fiber. As a result, complex moving pictures could be seen smoothly without a hitch just like looking at DVD images. Viewers now demand comfortable speed in anything just as fast as their fingers can tap the keys. Instead of stopping in front of a stationary object, viewers are used to walking about to observe,and when they encounter a moving object they stop and watch. This seems to me a typical attitude of viewers at a recent exhibitions. However, as I started my work from flat paintings, I have the highest concentration when I draw. When I work on paintings, I take account of recent trends, and make it a rule to provide some kind of optic illusion and games. There is a change in the trend, too. Take the automobile industry, for example. It has been competing to make fast cars, but now it is manufacturing quiet electric cars. It is also important to reevaluate the good points in old things. Such a viewpoint is also valuable. From now on, I hope to create works that can remind people how important it is to think about things slowly and leisurely. I would like to do so side-by-side with my work on creating moving images.  

Iwasawa Arimichi

www.ftn-books.com has one title available on this fascinating artist.

Posted on Leave a comment

Dwight Harold Marica (1973)

DWIGHT MARICA

This is the statement Marica placed on his site about his works. It shows in text what his work is about. http://www.ftn-books.com has the Boymans 2002 publication now available.

Evoked by sf-literature I started to read about  cosmology, string theory and quantum physics to broaden my scientific knowledge about reality. Mind blowing concepts about energy, time and space enhanced my sensitivity which gave more depth to the absolute abstract structures I use to make art. Creating content and context by analizing what i create became a red line. By unravelling  reality’s architecture I create.

Posted on Leave a comment

Almut Heise (1944)

Almut Heise

After the 1980s, the art and gallery scene had all but forgotten about Almut Heise. Only when figurative art saw a resurgence did her paintings grab the attention of collectors, critics, curators, and gallery owners again. Heise garnered some attention during the 1960s and 1970s when her portraits and peculiar, deformed realist interiors fit into contemporary trends. When the trends changed, Heise stayed true to her style and themes, becoming an outsider. At the age of 21, she moved to Mainz to become an art teacher. She then began studies in Hamburg under Gotthard Graubner, Paul Wunderlich, and British pop art artists Allen Jones and David Hockney. During the student protests of 1968, the 24-year-old Heise painted some of her first works depicting interiors.

Afterwards, she created many more paintings with similar themes. Mesmerised by the interior paintings of Richard Hamilton, Heise created spatial artwork of rooms with clear composition and firm definition. She began to gradually add more detail, and in 1970 she created her first portraits. Heise works slowly, creating around five oil paintings in the space of a year. She mostly uses photographs as a blueprint, but at the same time each detail feels deliberate and arranged. At the end of the 1970s, Heise became a lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences in Hamburg, which she continued doing until 2005.

www.ftn-books.com has the Galerie Haas exhibition catalogue from 2013 now available

Posted on Leave a comment

Thera Regouin

Thera Regouin

Regouin’s abstract compositions evoke powerful images of architectural and telluric spaces that represent the essence of elementary forms. In this series, painted in Brasília between 2006 and 2007, she focuses on texture and color to reach an intrinsic harmony of mostly monochromatic paintings in which sometimes dark lines define areas or seem to lead to mysterious openings beneath the canvas. The restrained use of color suggests a serene dynamism.

Regouin had solo exhibitions in Sâo Paulo (2008), Brasília (2007) Berlin (2005 and 2004), Paris (2005) and Montevideo (2001). In these and other cities worldwide, her work is represented in important private collections.

On the local bookmarklet I recently found 3 publications on Regouin which are now for sale at www.ftn-books.com

Posted on Leave a comment

Qiu Shi-hua (1940)

Qiu Shi-hua

In a typical painting by Qiu Shihua (邱世华), what first appears as a blank canvas reveals itself to the careful observer as a delicately executed landscape shrouded in layers of pale paint. Requiring sustained gaze to reveal their contents, the works contain natural forms such as tufts of grass, trees or the line of a mountain ridge.

The careful balance between absence and presence in Qiu’s works is in line with his Taoist beliefs, which place importance on the harmonious interaction between opposite forces in the cosmos. To achieve this balance, Qiu first applies the outline of a scene in a dark colour before obscuring it with multiple layers of semi-transparent oil paint.

Born in 1940 in Zhizhong in China’s Sichuan province, Qiu completed his training in oil painting at Xi’an Academy of Fine Arts in 1962. At the time of his graduation, Qiu’s painting style closely followed the stylistic tenets of Socialist Realism. Throughout the Cultural Revolution and up until 1984, the artist worked painting posters for a cinema in Tongchuan.

Travel has been markedly impactful on Qiu’s style. In 1988, Qiu went to the Gobi Desert, which influenced the development of his vast, open scenes. After travelling to Europe in the early 1990s, Qiu began moving away from the traditional Shan Shui style (a method of Chinese landscape painting that dates from as early as the Tang Dynasty [618–907]) to embrace new aesthetic approaches. This shift was most distinct in his decision to use oil paint over ink or aquarelle, along with his intentional obscuring of the scene.

From afar, Qiu’s minimalist rendering might be interpreted by a Western eye as monochromes in the vein of Robert Rauschenberg or Yves Klein. Yet Qiu’s work, through its combination of Eastern and Western approaches, rejects approximation to one specific style or movement. Instead, Qiu offers viewers quietly ambivalent images—asserted in his decision to leave all of his works untitled—that provide the visual space for a moment of meditation. Time is thus a crucial component of the viewing experience of Qiu’s work, in a similar manner to the time required before an image might appear when processing a photograph in a darkroom.

www.ftn-books.com has now the 1999 Kunsthalle Basel catalogue available.

Posted on Leave a comment

Lulwah Al Homoud (1967)

Lulwah Al Homoud

Al Homoud is known as a pioneer, one of the few women to practice abstract art in Saudi Arabia. Characterized by intricately placed Arabic letters in delicate mesmerizing patterns, her work explores calligraphy and Islamic philosophy. It has found an international audience, featuring in the collections of the British Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Greenbox Museum of Contemporary Art from Saudi Arabia in the Netherlands. She also heads her Lulwah Al Homoud Art Foundation, which publishes books, organizes exhibitions, and promotes cross-cultural research. One of her works hangs in the office of HRH Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Saudi crown prince, and she even crops up in the national curriculum.

“My plan was to follow a career in something that was close to art,” she reminisces. Born in Riyadh in 1967, Al Homoud studied sociology at King Saud University, then left for the UK, where she researched Arab calligraphy and Islamic geometry as part of her MA from Central Saint Martins. She was the first Saudi to graduate from the celebrated college of art and design. She worked in London as a creative director, designing logos for art pavilions, curating exhibitions, and teaching at the British Museum. Gradually, however, she grew disillusioned and alienated from her work. She also felt that she could create more impact as an artist. And so, she looked to calligraphy, something which had always been a source of inspiration, even in her commercial work. There are not many books published on this Arabian artist, but http://www.ftn-books.com has now one for sale at www.ftn-books.com

Posted on Leave a comment

Howard Hodgkin (1932-2017)

Howard Hodgkin

Hodgkin was born in London and grew up in Hammersmith Terrace. During World War II he was evacuated to Long Island, New York, for three years. In the Museum of Modern Art, New York, he saw works by School of Paris artists such as Henri Matisse, Édouard Vuillard, and Pierre Bonnard, which he could not easily have seen then in London or Paris. Back in England in 1943, Hodgkin ran away from Eton College and Bryanston School, convinced that education would impede his progress as an artist, though he encountered inspiring teachers at both schools. He then attended Camberwell School of Arts and Crafts (1949–50) and Bath Academy of Art, Corsham (1950–54).

Hodgkin never belonged to a school or group. While many of his contemporaries were drawn to Pop or the School of London, he remained independent, initially marking his outsider status with a series of portraits of contemporary artists and their families. His first solo exhibition was at Arthur Tooth and Sons in London in 1962. Two years later he first visited India, following his interest in Indian miniatures, which began during his time at Eton. Collecting Indian art would remain a lifelong passion, which he initially supported by dealing in picture frames.

In 1984 Hodgkin represented Britain at the Biennale di Venezia. His exhibition Forty Paintings reopened the Whitechapel Gallery, London, in 1985, and he won the Turner Prize the same year. In 1998 Hodgkin joined Gagosian, and the gallery presented his first show in the United States since his critically acclaimed 1995–96 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, which had traveled to the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Texas; Kunstverein für die Rheinlande und Westfalen, Düsseldorf; and Hayward Gallery, London. His first full retrospective opened at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, in 2006 and traveled to Tate Britain, London, and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid. In the autumn of 2016 Hodgkin visited India for what was to be the last time, completing six new paintings before his return to London. These works were shown at England’s Hepworth Wakefield in 2017, in Painting India, a show that focused on the artist’s long-standing relationship with the Indian subcontinent.

Starting in the 1950s, Hodgkin maintained a parallel printmaking practice, translating his visual language into works on paper. Exploring the interactions of color and space on a grander scale, he produced theatrical set designs for Ballet Rambert, the Royal Ballet, and the Mark Morris Dance Group. His black stone and white marble mural fronts the British Council’s headquarters in New Delhi. Additionally, Hodgkin designed a stamp for the Royal Mail to mark the millennium; textiles for Designers Guild; and posters and prints for the Olympic Games in Sarajevo, London, Sochi, and Rio de Janeiro

Hodgkin was knighted in 1992 and made a Companion of Honour in 2003. He was awarded the Shakespeare Prize in Hamburg in 1997, and in 2014 won the first Swarovski Whitechapel Gallery Art Icon award. Currently www.ftn-books.com has the Serpentine gallery publication from 1976 available.

Posted on Leave a comment

Peter Blokhuis (1938)

Peter Blokhuis

Peter Blokhuis (1938, Amersfoort) is a Dutch painter, wall painter, draughtsman, sculptor, aquarellist, and political cartoonist. He attended the Koninklijke Academie van Beeldende Kunsten (Royal Academy of Fine Arts) in The Hague, and studied at the Académie de la Grande Chaumière in Paris. His subjects are figures, landscapes, cityscapes, interiors, architecture.

In the 1960s and 1970s, he belonged to the ‘Nieuwe Figuratie’ (New Figuration). As a political cartoonist, he made among others drawings referring to the Vietnamese War. Blokhuis was active in Amersfoort, Rotterdam, The Hague, and in 1961 in Marrakesh (Morocco). Thereafter he visited Morocco a number of times. From 1969 to 1994, he worked in The Hague. Blokhuis was a teacher at the Willem de Kooning Academie, Rotterdam, from 1969 to 1987.

He exhibited in numerous museums and galleries, for example at the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague (1968); De Doelen, Rotterdam (1970); Pulchri Studio, The Hague; Singer Museum, Laren (1975); Galerie Quintessens, Utrecht (2006); Haagse Kunstkring, The Hague (2015). His works are included in the collections of the Gemeentemuseum, The Hague; Gemeentemuseum, Arnhem; Stedelijk Museum, Gouda. He was awarded a  Royal Scholarship in 1972; the Jacob Hartog Prize in 1977; the Poort Prize in 1981; HTM, First Prize in 1988; and Bronovo, First Prize in 1989.

www.ftn-books.com has the great Monograph publication on Blokhuis now available.