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Günter Wintgens (1951)

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Not much information to be found on Günter Wintgens, but still he has had quite a few exhibitions all over Europe according to his biography and now is selling on Saatchi art.

Picture planes in Günter Wintgens’s work Pictorial motifs with diaphanous planes form a central aspect of Günter Wintgens’s work. Their optical transparency, intuiting or understanding the partially concealed planes, plays with visitors’ curiosity. It allows them to recognize several pictorial planes at once. Hence, they perceive the amount of time that has passed from one stage of the creative process to the next, and are able to guess, to a certain extent, the history behind the creation of this picture. For the fragmented motifs, made up of countless, particle-like brushstrokes across a mono- or polychromatic ground, the passage of time is also an important aspect. Although it also applies to the process of creating the painting, it is mainly true of the element of instability—the apparent motion evoked by the painting’s shimmering texture, and often reinforced by its format, the tondo. Also important is the aspect of communicating information. Each bit is legible by itself, but because the individual planes of information are assembled and layered on top of each other, visitors are offered a new, conceptual projection surface. Yet another aspect is clearly of a spiritual nature: the constantly recurring question about the real essence of things. Behind a veil both delicate and tear-resistant, the answer to this question stoutly resists comprehension.

www.ftn-books.com has an early Wintgens catalogue available

wintgens

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Peter Bömmels (1951)

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Hard to find any information on the german artist Peter Bommels, but this is what i found . An interesting interview with Bömmels by Hugo Hoppman:

Publication available at www.ftn-books.com

Peter, what’s the story behind the foundation of SPEX?

It began in 1979. Me and Gerald Hündgen (whom I knew from university where we studied “social sciences” together in the beginning of the 70s) were so fascinated by this new exuberant wave of punk and new wave music with all its experimental, self-referential facets and quirks that we decided to turn our enthusiasm into a form.

Encouraged from this musical dilettantism (german “dilletieren” = to feel happy about sth.) we wanted to create some sort of publishing platform for all the countless new bands that emerged in the rhineland at that time.

We wanted to make a magazine just to write about music, which was new land to us. Fanzines were an inspiration. But we never wanted to idolize certain bands, but were rather driven by the enthusiasm for unrestrained, fearless music, no matter in which form or style it manifested itself.

I assume that this exciting times reanimated the “heartthrobing story of confinement” of our early youth in the end of the 60s. Back then with 28-years, having just finished studies (and no idea which profession would satisfy oneself) this gave us the needed easing and purpose.

To earn a living with it was unthinkable. All friends, who were activated who were music enthusiasts and open enough. Wilfried Rütten (with whom I shared an apartment for a long time), my friend and musician Sigi Syniuga from Düsseldorf (where around 1979/80 was going on the most), Wolfgang Burat and Bernhard Schaub, who in return knew Wilfried. Gerald Hündgen brought his girlfriend Clara Drechsler along who — then 18 — was the youngest of our group. I met Christoph Pracht accidentally on a concert in Neuss. Later the fanzine makers Dirk Scheuring and Ralf Niemczik joined us as the young blood’s from the scene (we got to know each other in the “Blue Shell”). The famous Diedrichsen joined permanently after the first crisis in 1985.

How was the process designing a SPEX issue back in those days?

Obviously a lot was literally made by hand and there was a lot of improvisation. When we couldn’t get a photo I did a drawing. Christoph (Pracht) can tell you more on this topic. [→ Interview with Christoph]

And how did a typical workday look like?

Gerald (Hündgen) was the frontman and editor-in-chief. We had regular meetings with everyone involved. Christoph Pracht was responsible for the layout, which was often intensly discussed together in the beginning. There was always great debates about the cover. The first issues in 1980 we sold personally in the clubs and bars in Cologne and sometimes even had to put up with physical critique …

Are you looking back happily on the 80s?

For me personally the most exciting time of my life. I started simultaneously two projects: SPEX and my own art (together with the group “Mülheimer Freiheit” — W. Dahn, J. Dokoupil, H.P. Adamski, …). Everything began 1980. This was the foundation that influences my life to that day. The 80s opened up many careers that were driven by the atmosphere of a general unideologic joy for experimentation. It was the bloom of the “subjective draft”.

In the 80s Cologne apparently became the mecca of the contemporary art, design and music scene. How was the energy in the city? How was it really?

There were a lot of clubs and possibilities for musician and the first DJ-events (e.g. Soulful Shack in the Stadtgarten, Roseclub, Blue Shell, Whirlpool with, among others, Hans Nieswandt, partly in relation to the artists of Galerie Daniel Buchholz etc.) that sprung to life out of the environment of the SPEX and others.

Many galeries and artists moved to Cologne (I just mention a few representative; Galerie Hetzler mit Martin Kippenberger, Galerie Nagel, … there were galeries founded that have internationally famous today like e.g. Galerie Monika Sprüth, Galerie D. Buchholz, Galerie Jablonka, Galerie G. Capitain, …) and therefore an international art scene emerged here which was decomposed not till Berlin’s rise as capital and metropolis.

The atmosphere was sparkling. The volcano was dancing and we on top …

How was it like — also in regard to today — to publish your own magazine? The positive and the negative aspects? And how did you manage it financially?

The budget for SPEX was modest. Every founder brought 2000 Mark (≈ 1000 Euro) to the table. The fight for advertising clients was long hart. It helped us having “idealistic” friends in the music industry (partly former SPEX writers).

The absolute will of everybody involved to work hard was essential.
The first years were self-exploitation at its finest. Later moderate fees could be paid. We all believed in the cultural necessity of the magazine. Motivation was (is) everything.

How old have you been the SPEX was founded? And how did you came to do it? What did you do before that?

I was 28 years old and had studied social economy (“Staatsexamen”). From 1977 to 1980 I made the obligatory civil service (in a kindergarten) where I continued to work afterwards. From the beginnings of my studies (where I also met Gerald Hündgen and Wilfried Rütten) I aimed to participate on forms of “Gegenöffentlichkeit” (the local newspaper for example) all in regard to the big idol Alexander Kluge.

What are your favourite musicians and LP’s from back in the days?

Only rough and quickly: XTC with Nigel, surely Clash with London Calling and Let me stay or let me go respectively Rock the Kasbah, everything from the band Suicide (Alan Vega, Martin Rev), everything from Elvis Costello, DAF und Palais Schaumburg …

Thank you, Peter!

bommels

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Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart (1899-1962)

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Beside the spectacular constructivist paintings Friedrich Vordemberg-Gildewart made, there is another aspect in his art life what made him special and important. FVG was the first artist who made abstract paintings throughout his entire career. At first glance his work is related to Mondriaan, de Stijl and Malewich, but look at it more careful and you notice that there is mus more space within the paintings. A way of painting which makes the painting seem less crowded. It is the way i like a painting to intrigue

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Friedrich Vordemberge-Gildewart was born in Osnabrück, Germany and studied architecture, interior design and sculpture at Hanover School of Art and the Technical College, Hanover. In 1924 he formed the abstract art group Gruppe K in Hanover with Hans Nitzschke and joined Der Sturm in Berlin. After meeting Theo van Doesburg, Kurt Schwitters and Hans Arp, he became a member of De Stijl in 1925. Together with Kurt Schwitters and Carl Buchheister he formed the ‘Abstrakten Hannover’ group in 1927. He was a member of a number of other artistic groups including: the Cercle et Carré, 1930, Paris and was a founding member of Abstraction-Création (1931), also in Paris. In 1937, in Munich, the Nazi regime exposed his works in the infamous Degenerate Art exhibition. Most of his works were confiscated and he was forced to leave Germany for the Netherlands.

there is a very special Bottrop publication from 1980 available at http://www.ftn-books.com, which contains 3 silkscreen prints by FVG.

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Otmar Alt ( 1940 )

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Otmar Alt has become over the years a famous German artist. The reason is that his art is accessibel and in his piantings and prints he depicts a fantasy world which is abstract and populated with figurative creatures. His roots can be found in the colorful world oof Pop Art painting, but over the years he developed a recognizable style of his own. You can not help but admire the commercial quality of his art. A bit the dsame as Corneille in the Netherlands developed his art into a highly commercial form of art. Helped by big companies his art was distributed among many admirers in high editions ( ABN bank ao). In the case of Otmar Alt you can see that his art was distributed among many , because on several occasion he included some nice “signed in print” prints within the books that were published. Onme of these books including the print is now available at http://www.ftn-books.com.

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Klaus Fußmann / Fussmann (1938)

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Klaus Fussmann is not very well known outside Germany, but still important enough to devote a blog to this painter. My interest in Fussmann grew when i bought a signed copy of a 30 years old book. It is interesting to see that his style developed into a much more abstract approach to his subjects. If i must compare his works it might me with the later works of the dutch painter Contant. Both found a more realistic style in their paintings with lots of abstract elements. I think Fussmann’s fame stay in Germany only and not cross the border, but for those interested in this fascinating painter, know that www.ftn-books.com has some nice (signed) publications available.

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Walter Gramatte (1897-1927) a German expressionist rediscovered.

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Totally original…that is what i think of Walter Gramatte. His style is as recognizable as some of his contemporaries. Schiele, Klimt and and Klee are recognized within a split second and Gramatte is one of these artist who’s works are recognized as soon as you encounter and see them.

Since two decades there has been a new a renewed appreciation for his works, but publications on Gramatte are still rarities. Nevertheless http://www.ftn-books.com has a few titles in its inventory.

Walter Gramatté was born in 1897 in Berlin and died in 1929 in Hamburg.

Gramatté had a very short (15 years) career but a very productive one – paintings, drawings and prints with subjects of figures, portraits, still life’s, landscapes and book illustrations.

He fought in the First World War and was disillusioned as a result.  Like many artists of his generation his works depicted the individual and existential states of being. (Gramatté book, Kirchner museum). He was married to the Russian composer Sonia Fridman-Gramatté.

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Agnes Martin …the Islands (2004)

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Yesterday i spoke about the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop and their excellent poster publications. Today i will present the very best of them. It is the magnificent Agnes Martin poster for the “the ISLANDS’ exhibition. Executed as an original silkscreen this poster is a true work of art.

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Publisher: Quadrat /Josef Albers Museum, 2011 Measurements: 31.4 x 24 inches Condition: mint-

This is a highly collectable and important poster> not only because the exhibition was important, but because of the printing technique this is a masterpiece.

Poster and exhibition catalogue are both available through www.ftn-books.com

catalogue design by Walter Nikkels

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Gotthard Graubner (1930-2013)

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I can not describe the qualities of Graubner better than the text on Wikipedia i found on this fascinating German artist.

Graubner’s art is characterised by his unique philosophy and the use of color in his work. He began developing his own style in 1959, while he studied under K.O. Götz. Before that, Graubner’s work had been characterised by using color sparingly, in shapes and on the edges of the canvas, but, from 1955 onwards, he had already experimented with different approaches towards color, at first with watercolor and later on canvas. Instead of focusing on shapes, he began to use color lavishly.

About 1960, the artist produced flat panel paintings with surfaces built up of differentiated nebulous color formations, the application of color in layers of varying degrees of transparency opening up the picture surface, producing a color formation of indefinite depth comparable to the paintings of Mark Rothko.

In the 1960s, Graubner mounted picture-size colored cushions onto his paintings and used Perlon fabric in an attempt to enhance the spatial effect of color surfaces. These works were displayed in Alfred Schmela’s gallery in Düsseldorf.

Between 1968 and 1972 he did what he called “Nebelräume” [“Fog Spaces”].

Graubner never allowed his style to be dictated by the current fashions or trends. He developed his own style of using color as the medium through which his work announced itself, allowing it to work independently of any connection to any kind of representation or theme. According to Helga Meister, his works have sensibility, feeling and meditative force.[50]However, his paintings are only at first glance monochrome; as a closer look reveals, they are in fact polychrome. They “breathe”; they live; their colors, even though fixed on canvas, have movement that stirs the imagination as much as his “fog-spaces” of the sixties, in which he continued the romantic tradition of Caspar David Friedrich. Moreover, his “color-space bodies” (“Farbraumkörper”) have been described by art historian Max Imdahl as “picture-objects” in which “color-space and body, intangible vision and tangible facticity cooperate in a special interrelationship.”

The following titles are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Jaap Nanninga (1904-1962)

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Jaap Nanninga was born in Winschoten in the north of the Netherlands but after travels to Germany and Poland he settled in Den Haag in 1936, where he stayed and worked his entire life. meber of the famous Posthoorn group het met his friends artist for drinks and dinners at the POSTHOORN cafe at the Voorhout in Den Haag ( and yes…it is still there and serves the finest “Bitterballen” in Den Haag. He received his artist eductaion from Werkman and Wiegers and stayed for a short moment with Geer van Velde in Paris. These 3 artists made Nanninga the artist which we know nowadays. Abstract compositions rooted in the Fifties . a little Cobra mixed with abstract expresionism. Many dutch museum have some great Nanninga’s, but one museum i would like to mention specially is the FIGURA painting in the van Abbemuseum collection. Powerful and typically Fifties abstraction.

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www.ftn-books.com has some nice Nanninga titles available

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Willi Baumeister (1889-1955)… a constructivist?

 

Personally i consider, like Jurrie Poot, ( he wrote a short article on Baumeister in the Stedelijk Museum Bulletin) a constructivist. But a constructivist who became more free with every painting finally resulting in a style which was a cross between Malevich, Miro and in the Netherlands …Willy Boers.

Born at Stuttgart, where in 1911 he enrolled at the Art Academy as a pupil of Adolf Hölzel. Trip to Paris in 1912 where he discovered the work of ToulouseLautrec and Gauguin. Another trip to Paris in 1914 with Oskar Schlemmer; this time he became an enthusiastic admirer of Cézanne. From 1919 date his first Mauerbilder (wall pictures). A third stay in Paris in 1924, where he came into contact with Ozenfant, Le Corbusier, Fernand Léger and, some years later, the Abstraction-Creation group ( 1932). He taught at the Fine Arts School in Frankfort from 1928 to 1933, when he was dismissed by the Nazis and condemned as a “degenerate painter.” Thereafter he lived a retired life in Stuttgart and worked on in solitude until the end of the war; earned his living during this period by working in a printing plant. Appointed to a professorship at the Stuttgart Academy of Fine Arts in 1946. In 1947 he published a book, Das Unbekannte in der Kunst, written four years earlier. His work has been represented in most of the major post-war exhibitions in Europe, and also at the exhibition of German Art of the Twentieth Century, held in 1957 at the Museum of Modern Art, New York. Baumeister retrospectives organized at Documenta ll ( Kassel, 1959) and at the 1960 Venice Biennale.

www.ftn-books.com has some nice titles on Willi Baumeister

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