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Gunda Förster (1967)

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For the next three blogs i have chosen lesser known artist, but i think they are still important. The first is Gunda Förster.

Gunda Forster and Francois Morellet were presented in one exhibition at the Bundestag in Germany. A just decission since both are very much related to eachother. Where Morellet presented his figurative  works ,Gunda Förster presented her Konkret ones.

The works of Gunda Förster define visibility as the elementary organization of space, light and time. Seeing is movement, which encounters the movement of the seen.
One walks along benighted streets, past darkened and brightly lit windows, rooms illuminated by the flickering of television screens, under lighted billboard advertisements and neon signs, between the headlights of moving automobiles. In the way the gaze turns from the stars, whose light has outlived their extinguishment, Gunda Förster’s works with light remove the plastic phenomenon from things occurring. The images of urban tranquillity, behind each window a life, drawn to and distracted by advertisement, on its way from one location to another, are wiped away with a gesture of minimalistic reduction. The pure form arising out of this regards itself as compatible with the artistic realm and designs it as one set aside for art – a cross-section of the producer’s and the observer’s experiences.
That Förster’s recent works with 35 mm. slides can be understood as a shift to narrative or representational image forms is as self-evident as taking the images transmitted via television for reality. The concepts interspersed into Variations of chance play into the futility of an observation intent on finding meaning.
Both the presentation, a projection time of one to two seconds per slide with fadeovers, and the quality of the images and concepts evade the presumptive reliability of the pairing of photography and text. The words come across as slogans which allow the bid to vanish into a surplus of possible connotations. The image fragments do not tack meanings onto the concepts (found language fragments), but rather strengthen their repellancy as typefaces depicting only potentially significant language sounds, which in turn reinforce the impression that the more or less blurred representationalism of the slides (for the most part people photographed from television screens) merely refers to the tautology of the visible and of light.
The continually shifting references between word and word, word and image, image and image render any compulsive production of meaning futile. The observer is left with the single insight: that his understanding fails on account of an incomprehensible compositional principle. Indeed, the impression of merely accidental and unstable word and image combinations could be described in a complex mathematical form as a sequence of variations – and, hence, as the visualization of a musical idea.

www.ftn-books.com has Forster pubications available

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Bert Frijns (1953)

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If ever there is one “glass” artist who deservees to be called original in his approach to the medium of glass, it is Bert Frijns. The first time i saw some of his glass vases presented in the Haags Gemeentemuseum in the inner garden, they were soon filled with rain water, make them appear even more fragile. But the water did not harm them, no it enhanced the capture of light, making the glass vase like a solid sculpture. The form , also highly original and it stayed one of the trademark forms of Frijns. Frijns had multiple museum and gallery exhibitions in the Netherlands, but the first one which i saw by this artist stayed with me forever.

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Great works of art and with the exhibition one of the first Gracia Lebbink designed exhibition catalogues for the Gemeentemuseum which is finally available through www.ftn-books.com. The short biography comes from www.acquestarte.com

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Born in 1953 in Ubach Worms, The Netherlands. From 1973 until 1980 he studied at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam and, after graduation, he attended specialist courses at the Department of sculpture and glass.
Since 1991, Bert Frijns lives with his family on a farm on an island of Zeeland, the southwestern province of the Netherlands. Surrounded by the North Sea and living in contact with nature, the artist is daily inspired by the landscape of the area.

Glass, water, light and movement are the main ingredients of the works of Bert Frijns. With minimalist simplicity and a strong sense of poetry, the artist has worked with these elements for almost three decades. The interaction of sculpture, light and space surrounding are common features in all his works.
Frijns also adopts an extremely complex and specific method of working the glass. Although his finished works seem simple, they are actually the result of a lengthy and difficult technic. His works are distinguished by their sheer beauty, stripped of frills or decorations. Since the glass sculptures are also filled with water, it creates an additional visual element.To date, Frijns has exhibited his works in many  museums and galleries around the world: in the Netherlands, Germany, United States, Indonesia, Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, Sweden, England, Israel and Australia.

Some of his creations are part of collections of some well-known museums: the Museum Jan van der Togt, the Jewish Historical Museum, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, the Museum of Modern Art in Arnhem, the Frans Hals Museum, the Haags Gemeentemuseum, the Landesmuseum in Kassel, the Ernsting Stiftung and the Jewish Historical Museum in New York.

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Dan Flavin (1933-1996)

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Dan Flavin

 

Minimal Art, but for me completely different because of the great change his art makes to its direct environment. Colors, size and composition of the lights change the room  where the light sculptures are exhibited completely.

There must be a wealth of unfinished projects, because Flavin generally conceived his sculptures in editions of three or five, but would wait to create individual works until they had been sold to avoid unnecessary production and storage costs. Until the point of sale, his sculptures existed as drawings or exhibition copies. As a result, the artist left behind more than 1,000 unrealized sculptures when he died in 1996.

 

His earliest works were exhibited in the van Abbemuseum in 1966. The Netherlands were at that time one of the earliest countries to adopt the Minimal Artists. Major exhibitions by LeWitt, Andre and Judd in the late 60’s  were held in Den Haag and Amsterdam.

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Flavin realized his first full installation piece, greens crossing greens (to Piet Mondrian who lacked green), for an exhibition at the Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands, in 1966. Flavin’s “corridors”, for example, control and impede the movement of the viewer through gallery space. They take various forms: some are bisected by two back-to-back rows of abutted fixtures, a divider that may be approached from either side but not penetrated (the color of the lamps differs from one side to the other). The first such corridor, untitled (to Jan and Ron Greenberg), was constructed for a 1973 solo exhibition at the St. Louis Art Museum, and is dedicated to a local gallerist and his wife. It is green and yellow; a gap (the width of a single “missing” fixture) reveals the cast glow of the color from beyond the divide. In subsequent barred corridors, Flavin would introduce regular spacing between the individual fixtures, thereby increasing the visibility of the light and allowing the colors to mix.[24]

By 1968, Flavin had developed his sculptures into room-size environments of light. That year, he outlined an entire gallery in ultraviolet light at documenta 4 in Kassel, Germany. In 1992, Flavin’s original conception for a 1971 piece was fully realized in a site-specific installation that filled the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum’s entire rotunda on the occasion of the museum’s reopening.

www.ftn-books.com has many titles on Minimal Art and some on Dan Flavin

 

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Francois Morellet (1926-2016)

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It was 7 years ago that the Peter Stuyvesant collection was sold by Sothebys Amsterdam. Within this collection there were some very important Morellet paintings. Large , complex and typical Morellet. As i learned later one of them was bought by Joop van Caldenborgh. The initiator and founder of the Museum Voorlinden in Wassenaar. This painting was fantastic and showed for me why Morellet has become one of my favorite painters of all time.  The painting from the BAT collection was estimated between 20.000 and 30.000 euro, but had a hammer price of euro 432.750. Which is 14x the maximum estimated price.

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For us “mortals” this is completely out of reach, but still some great works by Morellet can be had at affordable prices , because Morellet contributed in many ways, to excellent publications in which original silkscreens or lithographs were included. One of these publications is available at www.ftn-books.com ( for availability inquire/ p.o.a.), together with many other rare Morellet publications from the 60’s and 70’s.

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After a short period of figurative/representational work, Morellet turned to abstraction in 1950 and he adopted a pictorial language of simple geometric forms: lines, squares and triangles assembled into two-dimensional compositions. In 1961, he was one of the founders of the Groupe de Recherche d’Art Visuel (GRAV), with fellow artists Francisco Sobrino, Horatio Garcia-Rossi, Hugo DeMarco, Julio Le Parc, Jean-Pierre Yvaral (the son of Victor Vasarely) and Joël Stein, François Molnar and Vera Molnar (the last two left the group shortly after). Morellet began at this time to work with neon tube lighting.

From the 1960s on, Morellet worked in various materials (fabric, tape, neon, walls…) and in doing so investigated the use of the exhibition space in terms similar to artists of installation art and environmental art. He gained an international reputation, especially in Germany and France, and he was commissioned to create work for public and private collections in Switzerland, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands and the U.S.A.

Morellet , french, but in his approach to art more cosmopolitan, because he must be influenced by the minimal artists that were starting to appear on the art scene during the 60’s and early 70’s. He experimented with lines, grids, and light and developed an art form recognizable as being Morellet. an important artist and for me personally one of the greatest from last century.

 

 

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Günther Uecker

All you need is a hammer and a bucket of nails….this is what you first think when you see the early ZERO works by Günther Uecker.

Together with Mack and Piene he belongs to the German part of the Zero mouvement.

It is now 15 years that ZERO is collected the world all over, but before this period the works by Uecker could only be seen in some of the larger german Museums.

Now his early Zero works and editions have spread all over the world, all because Zero has become such an important art mouvement.

Outside Germany , Uecker works was first presented in the dutch NUL exhibition from  1962 in the Stedelijk Museum. Together with Mack and Piene he made the light salon, which is still one of the masterpieces of Zero art.

Personally i have a preference for the works by Piene…. Uecker is a great artist, but what troubles me is that Uecker has not progressed with his art… he is still making paintings and objects with nails, cashing the great idea he once had. So an early Uecker for a collection can be one of the highlights, but a later period Uecker is just adding a famous name to a collection. Still there are some nice publications on Uecker at www.ftn-books.com