Heikki Kaski is a Finnish artist working with visual art, sound and performance. The background of his visual art practice is photography, and it permiates also the other “categories” of visual arts that he does, be it painting or video. The other trajectory of his work is sound and especially vocal sound.
Kaski has a background and schooling in “classical” music and a strong interested in choral music, – or, rather he’d like to call it choral sound. He holds an an MFA from Gothenburg University and has exhibited in solo and group shows in Finland and beyond.
Tranquillity was considered by many one of the best photobooks of 2014, and deservedly so. The photographs in the book, while documentary in nature, are beautifully suggestive. They explain nothing and tell no story in particular—each one of them is a purely visual experience that gets to you in a non-rational way, it flows into you much like music does.” ‘Photography is everywhere, all the time’. Heikki Kaski briefly spoke with us about his brilliant, must-see work Tranquillity. The book is now available at www.ftn-books.com
Formerly a tattoo artist and semi-professional boxer, self-instructed Chicago artist Tony Fitzpatrick is considered a renegade in the contemporary art scene. His imagery is inspired by street life in Chicago, childhood encounters with Catholic icons, superheroes, industrialization and contemporary politics. Fitzpatrick’s early artistic career focused primarily on printmaking, in more recent years he turned to large scale mixed media drawings, paintings and collages. This new body of etchings reflect his return to printmaking and his skill in creating small etchings with the precision of a needle on skin, revealing his personal vocabulary of enigmatic symbols. Fitzpatrick’s work can be found in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Miami, and many other public collections.
The first time I noticed his work when I studied the covers of Steve Earle, but now that I have his book Dirty Boulevard I can only admire his work even more. These are among the most poignant drawings I have ever seen.
An interesting introduction on Suzanne Jongmans by Sue Steward was found on the personal site of Jongmans.
A Textile Background
‘A textile background’ is how Suzanne Jongmans perfectly describes the impact of her observations on her mother’s and grand-mother’s hand-made textiles from her childhood and the clothes they sewed for themselves and their families.
Growing up in an atmosphere of crafting contributed to the young girl’s future as an artist. When she was eight, she moved house with her mother and brothers and was given her own room with a closet which she converted into a doll’s house of fantasies, a theatrical den she decorated and which unwittingly revealed an early interest in the use of space and design.
Alongside that focussed passion, Suzanne was drawn to her mother’s art books, particularly those of 15th,16th and 17th century painters. That interest grew at the Art Academy in Tilburg where her lecturer showed her books from his private collection and she studied works of Hans Holbein the Younger, Vermeer and Clouet for their radical compositions and play with light. They obviously influenced her future sculptural and photographic works.
She was drawn to this Art Academy because of the department Theatrical Design but when it closed down she decided on Photography and Textile Design building up conceptual and spatial ideas in multi-media installations. She extended work with textiles, photography and film and introduced traditional craft work which looped back into her childhood.
Since her academic training, Suzanne has retained a theatrical element in the work and her multi-media processes and productions now define her as a seamstress, pattern cutter, creator of sculptural forms, designer of costumes and a photographer who compresses images from their third dimension to the flat print.
The medium discovered In 1997, the second year of her degree course, Suzanne won a student design prize for her debut installation, ‘Mijn huid, mijn littekens’, meaning “My skin, my scars.” Its significance lay in the extraordinary material she selected, sheets of thick foam. Its characteristics, the material’s flatness and agility makes it capable of returning to its original form and that led to her cutting pieces and meticulously sewing them. Stitches holding the garments together lie tightly across the fabric and suggest human scars. The image Mind over Matter – Patience (2013) is a work that relates to this early installation, which she created as a tribute to the sculpture and the material it all began with. Patience shows a young woman wearing a dress with lamb chop sleeves and a high neck ruff. Looking closer the noticeably stitched seam appears to be a scar and so displays the fragility and transience of what resembles human skin. It represents the impact of ‘impermanence and vulnerability’ on mind and body, she says, the patience of subject and artist. Suzanne commented, “Sometimes we can’t rush the process which takes time until wounds are healed.”
The images also exude serenity from the young women frozen in photographic time like the characters painted in centuries past. From a different angle of her work, the meticulousness of garments made by her grandmother and mother are challenged by Suzanne who breaks away from many of their sewing rules; in places, she leaves uncut threads dangling from hems and needles lying exposed on the surface of the foam clothing. But the inclusion of a thimble on the forefinger in Patience raises timeless memories of the tradition of generations of women. After that initial experience in 1997, Suzanne began a decade later to re-use foam textiles in very different ways but still built on the same basis of her early creations. Suzanne’s earliest 2007 piece, Meisje met Kap (2007) was created in a moment of coincidence: she was making a test costume for a model and ran out of fabric but picked up fine sheets of the packing foam she used to protect her art works, which lay around in her studio. Suzanne said: ‘I wanted to make a mediaeval cloak without a construction and when I sewed it, it stood upright – a sculpture at once.’ Stitching the garment retrieved memories of the installation which won her the prize in 1997. This foam is thinner and semi-transparent but has the same capacity to create a foam sculpture. ‘Beautiful against the skin,’ says Suzanne, ‘It looks like silk and is like a protective shield for my model.’ Later garments worn by her young models are protected by the layer of translucent material resembling a second skin. ‘The presence of a model’s skin makes it vulnerable,’ says the artist and she emphasizes the significance of ‘Vulnerability and Transience’ in her investigations into texture and feel, presence and past.”Once she rediscovered its potential she created an original method of sculpting a garment and transforming it into a photographic art object. A more complex creation, an elegant, diaphanous wrap extending into a billowing hood, marks her earliest references to the Dutch era. Even advertisements for foam packing materials boast their soft textures and protection for sensitive and delicate surfaces – descriptions comparable with the materials she works with and the centuries-old silks almost tangible in the centuries old paintings of the young women who inspired her future work.
Mind over Matter
In the recent series titled “Mind over Matter,” Suzanne discusses her powers of observation. Since childhood she focussed on what she considers worthy of absorbing and using in her work. Her eye did the careful work in her doll’s house and later her investigative stares led to the realization that forms of plastic and foam can resemble lace or silk. And from there, she developed the detailed dress-making copied from mediaeval eras. She says that another reality exists by controlling and navigating the eye and mind and in recent works she controls what she sees in someone or something.
Since 2007, Suzanne has generated many surprises. The use of different varieties of packing foam and found materials reveal their re-use and inventiveness. ‘The idea of making something out of nothing changes our look on reality,’ she says, ‘A piece of plastic with text printed on it, used for packing a coffee machine or television can resemble a piece of silk. And the lid of a can of tomato puree can look like a ring.’ That large, abstract sculpted ring sits on the finger of the subject, Mind over Matter – Julie, Portrait of a Woman (2012) who was paired with Rogier van der Weyden’s Portrait of a Lady, 1460. The two young women separated by about half a millennium, similarly pose with fingers entwined and faces with modest expressions and down-cast eyes. They also share the pleated and visibly pinned cone-shaped head-dresses. A difference lies in the contemporary portrait’s red and black markings stamped onto the foam, instructions about recycling and warnings.
Her use of foam rubber simulates very accurately the caps and bonnets of girls and women’s swathed head-dresses, and the similarities she creates – but with subtle differences – from the wimples of mediaeval nuns to today’s beautiful variations on Islamic hijabs and head covers. The swing from past to present is now a constant in all of her subjects, materials and technologies.
Re-used The recycling symbols visible in several recent works include the closed curves of a lemniscate ∞ printed on foam and plastic and symbolizing infinity and eternity. The models for Solitude, Voltar, Julie, Dame met Parel, Room for Change and Lied van de Parel are all involved in the equivalent cycle of matter recycled, interpretations re-used from 15th,16th and 17th century paintings. Mind over Matter – Infinity I shows an inverted hour-glass while in Mind over Matter – Infinity II, a little girl wearing a foam cap like a Vermeer character, holds in her fingers the infinity sign made with a red rubber band. The beautiful Mind over Matter – Voltar has a head-dress billowing with plastic sheeting scattered with symbols which include the lemniscate. But it also reveals a red hair-net emerging from under the head piece, material created from the bags holding oranges in the supermarkets.
Today’s symbols contrast with the allegoric objects seen in paintings of the Golden century. Pairing past with present. In Room for Change, the alluring whorl of plastic and polystyrene surrounding the head of the woman sees through the veil in a piece inspired by Rogier van der Weyden and where a butterfly on the model’s hand refers to ‘transformation.’
Another example of the dresses and head-wear replicating Masters’ paintings and accompanied by today’s versions, are the two young girls both poised to be married in different eras. Holbein’s masterpiece The Darmstadt Madonna (1525-28) sees the Madonna envelop Jakob Meyer’s Darmstadt family who is positioned around her. His daughter Anna, who kneels in profile, prays holding her red rosary and wearing carnations in her head-dress. Suzanne’s contemporary version, Mind over Matter – Gratitude, sees this Dutch girl, in her stunning, gossamer-thin ‘silk’ dress and her rosary beads made from rose hips – allegoric symbol of desire – and the carnation (Dianthus) she placed in her beautiful hairpiece. Like Anna’s, it represents commitment. When Suzanne sews with strands of golden wire, in many cases they are visible and perfectly stitched. But with Mind over Matter – Praise of Folly, loose strands hang from the waistcoat wrapped around a dress. Together with the model who is turned from the camera in a uniquely concealed pose this gives a very 21st century feel. It was inspired by the manuscript written by Erasmus, published in 1511, and illustrated by Holbein the Younger. Erasmus wrote of ‘the wise folly, Stultitia’ who said, “It is from me, Stultitia, and from my influence only, that gods and men derive all mirth and cheerfulness.” The Folly’s waistcoat, made from stitched diamond shapes cut from rubber yoga matting leaves wires hanging off the seams and edges. Unusually, bells are scattered through her thick hair in this interesting back story.
A very different story lies in the Queen Elizabeth I image, Mind over Matter – Cutting Loose. The packing clip with its expiry date, scissors and the style of the dress refers to how she cut herself loose by cutting the puffed sleeves made of layers of insulation material, and releasing the dress which was as confining as her life. It simulates the familiar classic portraits of Elizabeth while maintaining their elegance, and in this full dress, she cut herself free.
The recent work titled Mind over Matter – Gravity, loops back to the work Meisje met Kap and reveals how much more complicated Suzanne’s creations have evolved with new materials, constructions and ideas, and influences from other early paintings. The short wrap worn by the young girl has a floating feel but the physical lightness of the external foam garment is covering and protecting the woollen lining. What stands out here is the graceful , symbolic presence of small metal weights hanging off the cloak’s hem and a link to the 17th century merchants who weighed gold in the Dutch markets. The antithesis of lightness in these imaginative designs is the astonishing new ‘armour plating’ worn by male models ready for battle. For Mind over Matter – Infinity I, the surprise is in the panels cut out from foam rubber and the discarded yoga mats. Such changes in the materials used today are a convincing dedication to Suzanne’s response to the current, gross consumerism surrounding us. She pulls materials from waste bins and constructs these marvellous works from leftovers. “Most people throw that [the foam] away,” she says, ‘I make clothing out of it; foam is my textile.’ Her beautifully created phrase, ‘Textile Poetry’ drew from a mundane visual language, a significant reminder of the overwhelming amount of foam which would otherwise be lying in landfills instead of presenting things of beauty. “Like a child, I could see a diamond in a rock.”
Jan Swart was born in Leeuwarden in the Netherlands in 1956. He started working as an artist in 1986 and since then he has built an extensive oeuvre. His techniques vary from oil paintings to drawings (charcoal, pastel), collages (newspaper photographs), and more recently Chinese ink on paper and photomontages.
In 1993 he debuted in the distinguished gallery Waalkens. Since then his work has been exhibited in many galleries in the Netherlands, but also abroad in Germany and the UK. His work can be found in many private collections in the Netherlands, the US, the UK, Norway and the Czech Republic.
last month we passes the village of Amstelhoek./ About 15 km form Amsterdam you can find this small village near the ever expanding city of Uithoorn. I never knew it was such a small city, but I know of its pottery history. Amstelhoek developed in the early 20th century a style of its own. Similar of the Amsterdamse School in Amsterdam using stylish elements of Art Deco and Art Nouveau and combining these into a style of its own.
Dutch Minimalism is a distinctive style in art and design that emerged in the Netherlands in the 1960s. It is characterized by a pared-down aesthetic that emphasizes simplicity, clarity, and functionality. One of the most prominent figures in Dutch Minimalism is Bert Loerakker, whose work has been celebrated for its precision, elegance, and understated beauty. This essay will explore the background and development of Dutch Minimalism, analyze the artistic style of Bert Loerakker, and assess the impact and significance of his work on contemporary art and design.
Background and Overview of Dutch Minimalism emerged in the context of the broader Minimalist movement that swept through Europe and the United States in the 1960s. It was a reaction against the excesses of Abstract Expressionism and sought to strip art and design of any extraneous elements. In the Netherlands, Dutch Minimalism was influenced by the country’s long tradition of design excellence, as well as the influence of other minimalist styles such as the Bauhaus and De Stijl. The characteristics of Dutch Minimalism include a focus on geometric shapes, primary colors, and simple forms. It emphasizes the use of industrial materials such as steel, concrete, and glass, and values functionality and practicality over ornamentation. Compared to other minimalist styles, Dutch Minimalism is known for its precision, attention to detail, and subtle use of color and texture.
Bert Loerakker was born in 1948 in the Netherlands and trained as a goldsmith before turning to sculpture and design. He has become one of the most celebrated Dutch Minimalist artists, known for his exquisite craftsmanship and minimalist aesthetic. Loerakker’s work is characterized by its geometric shapes, clean lines, and use of industrial materials such as stainless steel, aluminum, and glass. Loerakker’s signature style involves a meticulous attention to detail and a focus on precision and balance. He often works with modular forms that can be combined in different ways to create complex, multi-dimensional structures. His sculptures and installations are often site-specific, designed to interact with the surrounding environment and create a sense of harmony and balance.
www.ftn-books.com has several Loerakker titles now available and a painting from the former Salco Tromp Meesters for sale.
Albert in t veld dutch artistAlbert in ‘t Veld is a Dutch artist known for his striking and complex abstract works. Born in 1942, in the Netherlands, in ‘t Veld studied sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Rotterdam before transitioning into painting and drawing.
In the 1960s, in ‘t Veld was influenced by the American abstract expressionists, including Jackson Pollock and Morris Louis. He was particularly drawn to the process of pouring paint and working with colors in an unpredictable, fluid way. This interest in abstraction and the spontaneity of the creative process would become a hallmark of his work.
Throughout his career, in ‘t Veld experimented with different materials and techniques, including acrylic paint, ink, and crayon. He also explored different styles, from minimalism to more colorful, expressive works. His compositions are often characterized by bold colors, dynamic lines, and layered textures. His works are fascinating and intricate, and seem to invite the viewer to look closer to uncover the many layers of meaning and symbolism.
One of his most notable works is a large-scale mural commissioned for the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. The massive painting measures over 225 square meters and is composed of 260 individual panels, each one painted by hand. It depicts an abstract landscape that incorporates elements of nature, such as mountains and waterfalls, alongside more geometric shapes and patterns. The mural took in ‘t Veld over a year to complete and is considered one of his greatest achievements.
Throughout his career, in ‘t Veld has received numerous awards and accolades for his work. His paintings and drawings have been featured in exhibitions in galleries and museums around the world, including the Netherlands, France, Italy, and the United States.
In conclusion, Albert in ‘t Veld is a talented, pioneering abstract artist whose work continues to inspire and captivate viewers today. His commitment to exploring the creative process and pushing the boundaries of traditional art forms has helped to cement his place as one of the most iconic Dutch artists of the 20th century.
It was a pure coinsidence that i acquired this book on Jacqueline Böse, but leafing through it I noticed and started to appreciate the powerful abstract works. Colorful, abstract and in some cases minimal these paintings all could have been made nowadays. I am writing this in 2023 so in many cases over 35 years have passed nad almost al are still modern enough to convince. The book on Böse is now available at www.ftn-books.com
The works of the multifaceted Dutch artist Gijs van Lith alter the expectations and the customary understanding that a bystander generally has of what a painting can or should be. Analyzing the genesis of his creative act, van Lith is extremely close to what were the fundamental characters of action painting, also known as gestural abstraction or abstract expressionism: a style of painting in which color is spontaneously dripped, launched or stained on canvas, rather than applied carefully. The resulting work emphasizes the physical act of painting itself as in American Abstract Expressionism and in Tachisme, a pictorial style of abstract art which began in France in the 1940s and 1950s – otherwise known as Informal Art – in which the painting is conceived exclusively in its being made of gestures and raw material.
Gijs van Lith’s artistic research is mainly focused on painting but his body of works also includes sculptures and installations. The creative process, the choice of materials and the pictorial strategy – understood as modus operandi – play a fundamental role and are initially positioned as essential substrates for each new creation. Van Lith considers the canvas on which a painting is made as important as the material with which he paints it; and aspects such as materiality, the originality of the act, the relationship between gestural time and timelessness of the work, and the luminosity granted to the physicality of the painting, unquestionably cover all his work. His painting in recent years has acquired a more sculptural dimension, which allows him to create, develop and manage his work in an increasingly dynamic and materially more fluid way. The relationship between process and finished work becomes an interactive dialogue in which there is neither front or back.
Indeed, this is why before his works there is often a suspension of judgment due to a domineering pictorial haze or as he calls it “beast mode”, creative practice in which the artist feels more like an animal guided by his instinct and intuition. Van Lith does not discriminate between conscious actions and possibilities, between luck and deliberate gestures. The result is energetic and dynamic works that exist in a perpetually open dialogue between the conscious and subconscious.
Hreinn Friðfinnsson’s conceptual work has been characterized as poetic and playful, dealing often with storytelling, nature and time. It can be almost anything: a photograph, a story, a tracing, an atmosphere, a quasi-scientific experiment, a paint stirring stick or a secret. A split second up in the air between the years 1975 and 1976, one shoe searching for the other one to form a pair. His works are often structured around dualities and reversals. Both in form and content they are hard to pin down. The works remain in state of flux even after their conception, often older works are reused or expanded upon.
Born in 1943 in Baer Dölum, Iceland, Hreinn Friðfinnsson has been living in Amsterdam since 1971. He has exhibited internationally since the 1970s and had solo exhibitions at respected institutions such as the National Gallery (Reykjavík), the Serpentine Gallery (London) and Bergen Konsthall (Norway). In 2019-2020 a major retrospective To Catch a Fish with a Song: 1964-Today took place at KW Institute of Contemporary Art in Berlin and Centre d’Art Contemporain in Geneva. Amsterdam based venues such as Gallery 845 (1970’s), Galerie van Gelder (1990’s), Kunstverein (2015) and Eenwerk (2018) have hosted solo shows.
The idea originated in the spring of 1971, but the gates were built in 1972. They were constructed in such a way that they would open when the wind blew from the south. They are situated in a remote place on the south coast of Iceland. The photos were taken on the day that the gates were installed. It was cold and rainy and the wind blew from the north. I have not seen them since. \
The scarce FIVE GATES FOR THE SOUTH WIND publication is now available at www.ftn-books.com
Artist/ Author: Oliver Boberg
Title : Memorial
Publisher: Oliver Boberg
Measurements: Frame measures 51 x 42 cm. original C print is 35 x 25 cm.
signed by Oliver Boberg in pen and numbered 14/20 from an edition of 20