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Marie-Jo Lafontaine (1950)

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An artist who’s works i encounter regularly whenever i visit a European museum is Marie-Jo Lafontaine. Hardly known outside Europe but one of the better known contemporary artists since her Documenta appearance in 1987. The famous Kassel exhibition was at that time curated by Rudi Fuchs and Lafontaine made a name for herself with Larmes d’Acier

This does not mean that her works before 1987 were not interesting. They certainly were , but Video related art is not the most accessible kind of art and these installations by Lafontaine . are no exception. Still the importance of her works is recognized by many and one hopes that a retrospective will be held in the near future. Showing the true quality of her poetic video art.

there are some Marie-Jo Lafontaine books available at http://www.ftn-books.com

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Vic Gentils (1919-1997)

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Another of those more obscure Belgian artists is definitely Vic Gentils. Studied in Antwerp and became known through participating in the Kassel and Venice Biennales in the mid Sixties, but soon after people lost interest in his art was only known in Belgium. Not many museums have work by Gentils, but if you encounter work in a museum it is probably a “painting” from the series of ANTI-PEINTURE. a series of non paintings which is pure abstract and can be categorized as Informal.

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Following years of search and doubt during which Vic Gentils assimilates expressionism and the ubiquitous Picasso and Klee, in 1955 he turns to abstract painting. And when that too seems inadequate, Gentils starts making his famous assemblages. These are indeed abstract compositions, from wood scraps – usually frames from doors or windows – that he combines with appropriated picture frames, thus also referring to the painting as ‘window on the world’. In this sense *Anti-peinture I* (1960) is not really an adieu to painting but rather an evocation of painting’s own shortcomings. Gentils makes art-historical art. With cast-off decorations once sold to nostalgic parochial folk, he forges a new patrimony. In the white modern spaces so desirous of being timeless, his assemblages function like alienating interventions, objects that underscore the historical nature of each object, each space. And perhaps the opting for dark tones was his way to escape from the shadow of expressionism, by ironic reference to that somber style sometimes drown in asphalt.

 

Possibly there will be a time that the works by Gentils will be reevaluated and appreciated but for now the only thing to do is to study the older publications on Gentils of which some are available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Katharina Sieverding (1944)

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If there is one artist who realizes the same intensity as Andy Warhol with her self portraits, it is Katharina Sieverding. Sieverding’s works consist of self-portraiture and most have an abstract quality. She uses the techniques of silhouette, contrast, and extreme close-up to make the photograph more revealing of herself.

She tinted all the prints in one 1969 series a deep scarlet, and for another painted her face gold. Her work often makes statements about society and the individual, such as showing the familiarity of the self and the distance of others. Often she puts multiple portraits together in one piece. Each portrait fills the frame in a way to show the presence of self.

Katharina Sieverding’s publication are rarely offered but http://www.ftn-books.com has some nice ones availabel and do not forget the discount code for the rest of this month : WEINER10

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Maria Lassnig ( 1919-2014 )

Tate Modern announced her last year show as follows….The first UK retrospective of one of the twentieth century’s most original painters… and she definitely is. The Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam held a retrospective 23 years ago and she proved to be a highly original artist with a completely different approach to her subjects, sometimes very personal, making her own body the subject of a painting. Lassnig made informal paintings, abstract expressionist paintings was educated in and made animation art and showed her paintings during the Documenta which was curated by Rudi Fuchs in Kassel. During his first years of his directorship of the Stedelijk Museum, Fuchs invited her for a large retrospective in 1994 in the Stedelijk. More than 23 years before the Tate the STedelijk Museum recognized her qualities as an artist. Time after time i come to realize that the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam is possibly the most trend setting museum in the world of Modern Art. The Maria Lassnig catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com

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