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Beelden inde Koepel II, 1987

Discovered the almost complete set of the important BEELDEN IN DE KOEPEL II exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum Arnhem and curated by Anneke Oele. A memorable exhibition series in which Dirkx and Lafontaine were presented. Artists were asked to fill and decorate DE KOEPEL room . The result some memorable installations. The series is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Hubert Leyendeckers (1935)

Hubert Leyendeckers

To be honest….I never had heard of Hubert Leyendeckers until recently i found an ICC catalogue from 1973 where the typographic font was intriguing since I thought it to be by Wim Crouwel Still the catalog published by ICC was a typical and interesting 70’s catalog which included titles and prices of works on sale. From the mid eighties it became silent around Leyendeckers until in 2018 he received an exhibition ” TRUE BEAUTY” in which his works were in the centre of the exhibition. Maybe this is such an artist that looks to be forgotten, but will become in the coming years increasingly more important.

www.ftn-books.com has the ICC catalogue now available.

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Sam Drukker (1957)

Sam Drukker

Sam Drukker (Goes 1957) studied at the art academy Minerva in Groningen and at the teacher training college Ubbo Emmius. In addition to his work as an autonomous artist, Sam has been supervising graduate students at the Wackers Academy in Amsterdam since 1990 and regularly gives master classes and lectures. Sam Drukker exhibits in galleries and museums in the Netherlands and abroad such as the Drents Museum in Assen, museum Flehite in Amersfoort, the MEAM in Spain, museum BAC in Switzerland, Rembrandthuis in Amsterdam and in 2014 at the Jewish Historical Museum in Amsterdam with his Minje project.

Sam Drukker, artist of the year in 2011, is a gifted portraitist and autonomous artist. The expressive work of Sam Drukker is characterized by a smooth handwriting, a theatrical light/dark contrast and intense use of color. Almost every work of Sam Drukker shows the human figure and it expresses the intensity with which he wanted to capture their character, a gesture, an emotion and an interaction. He concentrates on the figure in such a way that the rest of the canvas often remains empty. Beauty and decay play an equal role in his work to create a captivating unity. Sometimes theatrical and at the same time romantic. In every brushstroke of the canvas Sam Drukker wants to lay down life: the budding, or stagnant life, the ecstatic or empty life. Drukker uses old used materials such as wooden panels found on the street or old tent canvas, surfaces that already have a story of it’s own. The artist explains: [I paint on] “surfaces that already have a life behind them, where the traces are visible. That life, those traces, that story, I respect them and add my part to it”. Drukker is a contemporary romantic and knows how to be compelling and moving through his psychological quest.

Sam Drukker often works in series, such as the series of paintings Boxers, Carriers and Ophelia. In his series of paintings called Minje, Sam gave face to an almost disappeared generation: ten Jewish men who lived through the war as adults. The project is a tribute to the Jewish tradition and to survival.

Sam Drukkers paintings are included in corporate- and private collections and museums.

www.ftn-books.com has now the VERZAMELD WERK book from 2004 available

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Rosemarie Trockel (1952)

Rosemarie Trockel

Rosemarie Trockel’s polyvalent art practice emerged in the 1980s as a part of a new, radically inventive artistic scene in Cologne. Her films and videos, “knitting pictures,” ceramics, drawings, collages, and projects for children are celebrated for their biting critique. Like other artists of her generation such as Barbara Kruger, Cindy Sherman, and Jenny Holzer, Trockel relays a subversive engagement with feminist discourse in her earliest works, calling into question the essentialisms of 1970s feminism through the use of industrial fabrication and commercial design. In the early 1980s, Trockel began making her wool “knitted pictures,” patterned skeins of yarns generated by a computerised knitting machine and then stretched over canvas like paintings.

These large-scale pieces express the artist’s sharp engage- ment with questions of “women’s work” and the devalued status of craft in the context of an increasingly mechanised society. Including repeating geometric motifs, logos, political symbols, and references to German history, these “knitting pictures” superficially ape the forms of Abstract paintings, while underscoring the clichéd connotations of gendered labour behind them. For The Milk of Dreams, Trockel presents a selection of existing and previously unseen wool works. Subtle variations in the wool works’ stitching – each knitted by Trockel’s long-time collaborator Helga Szentpétery – signal their hand-made quality and present a wry assessment of the subjectivity of visual representation and of art’s commodification. 

www.ftn-books.com has a few Trckel titles now available.

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Christopher Wool (1955)

Christopher Wool in his studio ca. 1982

Over a career that spans three decades, Christopher Wool has conducted a riveting investigation into the question of how to make a painting at a time when new possibilities for the medium might seem exhausted. Extending his practice to photographs, prints, artist’s books, and, most recently, sculpture, he has approached each new work as a site of open-ended experimentation in which images exist as volatile entities that are subject to an array of disruptive processes.

Wool was born in 1955 and grew up in Chicago. By the time that he turned eighteen he had moved to downtown New York City, where the anarchic energy of the punk and No Wave scenes were a defining influence on his creative development. At the outset of his mature career in the mid-1980s, Wool abstained from the seductive expressionism of color and the gestural brushstroke in favor of stark, monochrome compositions that employed commercial tools and imagery appropriated from mass culture. His breakthrough body of work used rollers and stamps to transfer decorative patterns in severe black enamel to a white ground. His “word paintings” from the same period focused on language as image, confronting the viewer with anxious, enigmatic imperatives even as the stenciled letters disintegrate into abstract geometries. In both cases, Wool used unexpected breakdowns in his formal systems—slips and glitches, fractured text and erratic spacing—to convey emotional states ranging from pathos to aggression.

The same tension between control and disorder runs through Wool’s work of the 1990s, when he adopted the silkscreen as a primary tool. Cartoonish flowers began to multiply in dense configurations across his paintings, at times interrupted by irreverent passages of overpainting or scribbles of spray-paint that evoke an act of vandalism on a city street. Wool’s practice has always had a porous relationship with the world outside the studio, channeling an abrasive urban vernacular. The scenes of alienation and decay collected in his photographic series make this connection explicit, their fugitive compositions resonating with the vocabulary of his paintings.

Since the early 2000s, Wool has worked almost entirely with abstract forms, at once mediating and renewing the expressive potential of painting through strategies of replication, erasure, and digital manipulation. His large-scale “gray paintings” emerge from a cycle of addition and subtraction, as tangles of black lines are repeatedly wiped into fields of hazy washes. The authority of the artist’s hand is similarly challenged when he reworks images of his own finished paintings, coolly considering them in digital form before screenprinting them to new canvases, either as deadpan reiterations or as ghostly traces collaged with other elements. For Wool, these acts of sabotage and self-negation express the position of doubt and insistent questioning that has underpinned his work from the beginning, and that continues to drive him forward in search of new ways to create a picture.

www.ftn-books.com has several important Christopher Wool publications now available.

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Ren Rong (1960)

Ren Rong

Ren Rong is an artist born in 1960 in China and living partially in Germany and partially in China.  He has been organising tenth of museum expositions in the last decades in China and Germany. He makes installations; iron and stainless steel sculptures; wood and paper cuts.

His themes are ‘Dialogue’ and ‘The Flowerpeople’

Most of his works are unique pieces. Rong wants to communicate via his art the relationship between people and between people and nature.

Reecntly Ren Rong has had an exhibition in the Netehrlands at Zandvoort. http://www.ftn-books.com has the SELK” POSITIV-NEGATIV ” artist book now available.

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Bogomir Ecker (1950)

Bogomir Ecker

During the ’70s, many artists strove to leave the ivory tower of the art scene for the arenas of nature and society. Spurred by utopic visions of a humane world brought about by art, they discarded the bourgeois “l’art pour l’art” thinking that stressed the role of genius. With the recent onslaught of young artists concerned with the traditional media of painting, sculpture, and drawing, “pure” art (pure museum commodity) has returned to the focus of attention, a reversal Rudi Fuchs sought to institutionalize at Documenta 7; but recent art production makes this direction impossible to sustain. To an increasing extent, young artists’ work again reflects social relevance, and more and more artists are emerging who have never questioned the need for such relevance.

Even as finished works, Ecker’s sculptures convey an intimation of the suggestive power exerted on the artist by the found materials. The poetic ambiguity of his ciphers in space challenges usual viewing habits; here threatening in their bizarre, crude form, there comical in their inadequacy, always free in their ambiguity, they challenge the viewer to a dialogue through the medium of an imagination that cannot be standardized. Utterly contemporary in their rough, seemingly symbolic forms and their use of the materials of modern civilization, they seem like a rendering in the present of an archaic/mythical link between social structure and human culture. In this suggestive, “cultic” connection, the longing of the artistic individual for a new unity of people with their environment is intense. This is the utopic vision of the ’80s, and Ecker’s work is exemplary of it. The revolt against a standardized alienated society is unquestionably less amenable to analysis in Ecker’s sculptures than it was in the art of the ’60s and ’70s, but in its lapidary, difficult, and ironic form it causes no less disturbance. Only intuition can provide the key to understanding it.

www.ftn-books.com has now the Produzentengalerie Hamburg catalogue from 1991 available

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Willem Lenssinck (1947)

Willem Lenssinck

It is not such a long time ago that I discovered Lenssinck. It was some 10 years ago that we visited Museum Beelden aan Zee and there it was … a large sculpture by Lenssinck which reminded me of meeting between Colani and Wunderlich, But it fascinated and some 2 years ago I tried to win a sculpture for our garden at auction but the auction result was far above budget for me. The one item that I did obtain some months ago was the beautiful book on Lenssinck , which is now for sale to commemorate my 20 years with ftn books on the internet/ www.ftn-books.com

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Enrico Baj (continued)

Enrico Baj

The reason for this continuing story on Baj is the addition of his book on ANARCHISM

At the end of the decade, Baj publishes the Manifeste de Naples, which aims to launch the artistic avant-garde of the South, as in the Group 58. It gets together Lucio Del Pezzo, Luca (Luigi Castellano), Mario Persico. It belongs to this period Generals and the Lady, a series born froma fierce and sarcastic criticism against the power. In this video, the critics Luciano Caprile tells about their origin during the Enrico Baj exhibition from the matter to the 2010 figure.

His interest focuses on the mechanization and dehumanization of the society. Paintings-objects in which the characters are made of Lego little bricks and sculptures made out of Meccano pieces.

His desecrating attitude influenced even the sacred monsters of the artistic avant-garde such as Picasso. Baj would pay tribute to him through the farce of  Les demoiselles d’Avignon and of Guernica with his ” d’après” (1969). To Seurat, Baj would dedicate the series Chez Seurat, in which La grande jatte becomes the simbol of a immobilized middle class.

In 1972 he produces his first work of news report and denunciation: the collage of I funerali dell’anarchico Pinelli. Madeout of crambling objectssuch as ribbons, cordons, clutters and bows, it symbilizes the anarchic railoader’s fall to the ground. It was inspired by I Funerali dell’Anarchico Galli by Carrà for its title. It will be exhibited in Milan only in 2000: its presentation to the audience was canceled due to public order reasons. Calabresi, chief of the police, got killed that same day.

Among the artworks inspired to the political situation it figures: Nixon Parade and Berluskaiser. The formerrepresents Nixon and Kissinger at the parade for the Columbus Day from a grotesque point of view. The latter represents Silvio Berlusconi’s conquer of the power with the elections in 1994.

At the end of the ’70s, Baj produced one of hi most arduous works: the Apocalipse, a collage developed on over 60 metres lenght for 4 metres height. It was composed by canvas, painted with an informal technique, and contours either painted or engraved into the wood.

The book is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Dom Hans van der Laan (1904-1991)

Dom Hans van der Laan

Hans van der Laan was born in Leiden on 29 December 1904 as the ninth child of architect Leonard van der Laan (1864-1942) and Anna Stadhouder (1871-1941). His paternal grandfather (1871-1941) had been a gardener at the royal gardens in The Hague, his maternal grandfather a tailor in Leiden. In 1891 his father settled his architect’s office in Leiden. He married in 1893 and founded a family of eleven children, six boys and five girls. Of the boys, Jan, the eldest (1896-1986), Hans and the youngest, Nico (1908-1986) became also architect after studying at the ‘Technische Hogeschool’ of Delft. Hans began his study in 1923, two years after he finished his secondary school. The year 1921 he passed in a sanatorium and the year 1922 he was employed at the office of his father, who had entered shortly before a partnership with his eldest son Jan.

During those two years Hans spent much time on his growing interest in architecture by reading. For instance, H.P. Berlage’s book: ‘Schoonheid in samenleving’ (‘Beauty in society’) opened for him a world that evidently was absent in Delft. Architectural education in those days was generally confined to nineteenth-century neoclassicism and all teachers originated from before the first world-war. Henri Evers, the architect of the Rotterdam town hall, set the tone in Delft. But in 1924 M. Granpré Molière (1883-1972) was appointed to be professor for the first two years of study. In him the young student found a true master. But after a few months, in the autumn of 1925 he received teachings from professor Van der Steur, with whom he directly came in conflict. Students in their third year of study had to make their own designs, but those of Hans van der Laan were all rejected. In the same autumn he founded, together with some fellow-students, a study-group, the ‘Bouwkundige Studiekring’ BSK (‘Architectural Study Circle’), aiming to discover themselves the very basics of architecture, which they missed in regular teaching. During a year Hans guided this group, assembling at professor Granpré Molière’s house. The papers of Le Corbusier and those of ‘De Stijl’-group were discussed, as well as the just published book of Jacques Maritain: ‘Art et scholastique’. The last lecture given by Hans in the BSK was about the Domtoren in Utrecht and implied a serious trial to fully investigate the ins and outs of its measures. the rest of the biography is to be found at : https://domhansvanderlaan.nl/nl/biografie/

www.ftn-books.com has the Rosbeek special and Praktijk invitation now available.