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Marc Mendelson (1915-2013)

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Born in the UK, but worked and lived for most of his life in Belgium. He is considered to be part of the Cobra mouvement, but was not a participating member of the mouvement. Many people know his work without knowing that it is by Mendelson, because the mural in Brussel’s subwaystation “Parc” is by his hand. The development of his style and work is something special because he started as a figurative painter, became an abstract one and for the final part of his life he became a figurative painter again. Personally i stumbled upon his works , because at one time i could buy a large book on him in a remainder sale and became fascinated by his abstract works and maybe i can convince you with this blog too of his qualities as a painter and  to read something more about Mendelson after seeing these beautiful abstract paintings.

Books on Mendelson are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Le Corbusier ….le Poème électronique ( 1958)

The year 1958…. Philips company invited Le Corbusier to design the pavilion for their participation at the World exhibition in Brussels. Philips wanted to show their innovative products at this world exhibition because this was the best platform thinkable for them and Le Corbusier could give them the initial exposure with a spectacular pavilion.

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With the presentation a Le Corbusier catalogue was published in several languages ( dutch, french, spanish and english) in 2 editions. The first edition has the color pages included and the 2nd edition only the black and white. This book is nowadays a highly collectable book. The cover by Jean Petit is iconic, the architectural photography spectacular and for the rest and the book itself . …..Philips has never made a better publication. This book is available at www.ftn-books.com

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And for those who are into architectural models…yes, i have the model kit of the pavilion available too.philips paviljoen a

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Yves Klein (1928-1962)

Yesterday i learned from a dutch TV program (DWDD / De Wereld Draait Door) that there is a large Yves Klein retrospective in the BOZAR museum Brussels.

Yves Klein , touched many currents in Modern Art, even was one of the participants in ZERO, but eventually developed a style of his own using in many of his works the iconic BLUE color he developed. Was it zero, action painting or performance art? Today art lovers around the world can not answer these questions , but one can see for one self what fits most, because there is a great retrospective on his art in BOZAR/ Bruxelles until the 20th of August. His monochrome blue paintings are on show together with his action paintings of blue prints of female bodies. A great show and possibly a once in a lifetime chance to see many important Yves Klein works together.

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Nowadays Klein paintings fetch record prices at auctions all over the world, but in one of his first shows In Krefeld in 1961 nothing was sold. This was followed by an unsuccessful opening at Leo Castelli’s Gallery, New York, in which Klein failed to sell a single painting. He stayed with Rotraut Uecker at the Chelsea Hotel for the duration of the exhibition; and, while there, he wrote the “Chelsea Hotel Manifesto”, a proclamation of the “multiplicity of new possibilities.” In part, the manifesto declared:

At present, I am particularly excited by “bad taste.” I have the deep feeling that there exists in the very essence of bad taste a power capable of creating those things situated far beyond what is traditionally termed “The Work of Art.” I wish to play with human feeling, with its “morbidity” in a cold and ferocious manner. Only very recently I have become a sort of gravedigger of art (oddly enough, I am using the very terms of my enemies). Some of my latest works have been coffins and tombs. During the same time I succeeded in painting with fire, using particularly powerful and searing gas flames, some of them measuring three to four meters high. I use these to bathe the surface of the painting in such a way that it registered the spontaneous trace of fire.

To prepare your self for the exhibition, know that over the decades excellent books on Klein were published. There are some available at www.ftn-books.com

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Walter Leblanc (1932-1986)

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It was only 10 years ago that i first heard about Walter Leblanc. There was a small exhibition in a local gallery and at that time the owners predicted me that there would be a great interest in the works by Leblanc…… and they were right!….Leblanc was one of the artists related to the ZERO mouvement, but with a very personal approach to ZERO/NUL. His works were much more poetic and simplistic….a bit more like the early works by the Minimalists. But these works were completely different than most zero/nul works. These were “crafted” paintings with meticulously executed patterns made with “Twisted strings” or torsions, resulting in a composition which in many cases is  closely related to Minimal Art. But Minimal art “avant la Lettre” because these works were made some 5 years before the first Minimal Art was made by Sol LeWitt, Carl Andre and Donald Judd. Walter Leblanc sadly died in a car crash in 1986 , but his works remain. The works are now brought together in a foundation and every once in a while an exhibition is organized. The last one being a Retrospective in Brussels in which sculptures, Torsions and Twisted string were all presented in a fantastic Retrospective on Leblanc.

If a new exhibition is programmed on this artist i will keep you informed through my blog but for now i can recommend some nice publications on www.ftn-books.com