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Charles Bézie (1934)

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In some way the french have a special approach to contructivist art. Their art is in many cases much “lighter” than their counterparts in Germany or the US. There are of course Francois Morellet and Aurelie Nemours and for me Charles Bezie is also one of the great ones in France.

Here is a short extract from an interview which can be found on the Charles Bézie site at www.charles-bezie.fr

Since 1974, I use straight, horizontal and vertical lines and two diagonal lines. 
In the beginning, I wanted to distinguish my work from that of our great elders Malevith and Mondrian by means of eradicating the geometry by a web of fines lines. I call this my graphic period. 
During the years that followed, my work passed through several phases where the line thickened becoming even a strip and resulted in a sign which i called the “Quadrille” . 
In 1995, I abandoned oblique lines. 
Since that date my work has become the research of rhythms obtained from numbers, irregular rhythms with “Gradations” where squares see their surface divided by strokes and regular rhythms with “Cadences” where rows of squares are only underlined on the top and bottom. 
The year 2003 annonces the beginning of the “Suite Fibonacci”. This XIII century Italian mathematician from whom we retain the recurrent series of numbers which constitute themselves by the simple addition of the two precedent numbers and also because the quotients between the two adjacent numbers all approach the number 1.618, the famous “golden number”. 
My actual project is to continue working from numbers for as long at it gives a sense to my pictorial conception.

C.B. 2007

www.ftn-books.com has some Bezie art for sale.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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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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A special PLAY catalogue by Swip Stolk and Frans Haks ( early dutch design 1968)

Imagine the old dutch game of ELECTRO . You habe to find the right combination between question and answer and than the light will light up when the answer is correct. This was the idea behind the play catalogue Swip Stolk designed together with Frans Haks for the ENVIRONMENT exhibition they organied in 1968 fro Studium Generale Utrecht.

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For me the importance is not the design of the the play catalogeu but the participating artists. Among them…Morellet, Megert, Struycken, Le Parc and Gerstner.

The “creme de la Creme ” all within one exhibition. This exhibition from 1968 is almost forgotten and one of the reasons is the rare catalogue which was published with this exhibition. Now i have one copy available. Text by Frans Haks, design by Swqip Stolk and produced by Jumbo. A classic among the Sixties catalogues in teh Netherlands anmd well worthdt collecting. Available at www.ftn-books.com

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Francois Morellet (1926-2016) and the van Abbemuseum catalogue from 1971

 

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Several reasons why this catalogue is importand. First of all …this is one of the first Morellet catalogues published outside France. In 1971 Morellet was invited for a LICHTKUNST exhibition at the van Abbemuseum and Jan van Toorn was commissioned to design the catalogue with this exhibition. van Toorn decided for the Local printer LECTURIS ( still one of the very best printers in the Netherlands) and included within the catalogue multiple special prints after the large silkscreens by Morellet.

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Making it this way more like an artist book than a simple exhibition catalogue. This made the book so special that it is arguably the best catalogue ever published with the works by Morellet.

 

Since, Morellet is one of the most appreciated and valued artist in the Kinetic and Minimal Art scenes and the catalogue is one which is sought after and collected by many admirers. The catalogue is available at www.ftn-books.com:

https://ftn-books.com/products/abbemuseum-francois-morellet-1971-nm

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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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Denise Rene new additions

 

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The followers of this blog know that i have a preference for some galeries. Among them there is of course Galerie de France, galerie Steltman and certainly galerie Denise Rene. From the last one i have acquired some nice additions to my inventory.

Catalogue by Francois Morellet – 1967

Catalogue by Victoir Vasarely – 1966

Catalogue by Le Parc – Couleur – 1959

The catalogues of this gallery always amaze me. They stand out from many of the other catalogues published in the sixties and they are well worth collecting, because in many cases the edition size is very small and almost always the design is top notch…. even in some cases an original work of art is included. ( ~VASARELY invitation).

The choice is far from complete, but there are some very nice examples of GALERIE DENISE RENE catalogues available at www.ftn-books.com