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Paul Schwer (1951)

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A large text this time by Ludwig Seyfarth ,which can also be found on the Paul Schwer site. Why?…because FTN art has acquired 2 works by Paul Schwer and which will be for sale shortly.

„One would be tempted to believe that this structure used to have some convenient form, and now it was only broken. This does not seem to be the case; at least there is no indication; nowhere are approaches or fractures to be seen that would point to such a thing; The whole thing seems pointless, but completed in its kind. Incidentally, nothing more can be said about it, since Odradek is extremely flexible and can not be caught. „- From: Franz Kafka, The Care of the House Father

Extremely agile and unstoppable – that‘s also what Paul Schwer and his art say. The objects (an auxiliary term for quite different things) that Schwer produces do not move themselves, but almost systematically dispense with the usual names and categories with which works of art are classed in terms of genre, media or style.

How consistently Paul Schwer places his work between the chairs of conventional art forms, the various attempts make it clear that they capture it in an orderly manner. In the Wikipedia article he is called installation artist. On the website of the Goch Museum, he is considered one of the most famous German sculptors. And the radio contribution by Thomas Frank, which was broadcast to the exhibitions in Ratingen and Goch, sees the aspect of extended painting as central, thus ultimately following the artist himself. Somewhat surprisingly, he then places Paul Schwer in the art-historical tradition of stained glass. The fact that each interpreter sees a different artist, depending on the perspective, could be due to a very divergent design vocabulary within the work. Even well-known artistic oeuvres do not offer a uniform picture. Suppose someone is not familiar with Pablo Picasso‘s work and enters a solo exhibition of this painter who has become the cliché of the modern artist. If he then sees works from the blue and pink period, then the cubist, the classicist and the later phases, he is likely to expect to attend a group exhibition.

That would hardly be suspected in an exhibition by Paul Schwer despite the diversity of media and materials. Plexiglass and polyethylene terephthalate (PET9, wood or fluorescent tubes are repeatedly used materials that, in addition to a clear color, a game with transparency and semi-transparency and a play of surface shapes and complex volumes,a clear, consistent „handwriting“.

At the same time, however, seemingly contradictory things are always connected with each other. Both the individual object as well as an overall arrangement in an exhibition or in an outdoor space (often Paul Schwers works outdoors) often suggest a lability and fragility, a situation that would immediately get out of hand with a small change in the heavyweight.

Not just a house is upside down, on the edge of the roof (which we will come to). The relationship between two- and three-dimensionality always stands in the balance. The „painterly“ application of color does not take place on a flat surface. The most common image carrier is a transparent, heated PET fluid (or Plexiglas) that has been thrown in a fluid state and re-hardened. Thus, the „image ground“ becomes a plastic, free-standing object or lying on the ground object. The latter is reminiscent of the irregular outline of a crumpled paper, as if a picture or a drawing were discarded and thrown away, which also applies to the various red forms in the exhibition in Goch.

Thus, each image is simultaneously a sculpture, with sculptural elements, so to speak on the other side, also tending to be architectural elements in space. The prototype for this are the natural-brown or green lattices, which are made of roof battens and based on the outline of two pillars in the room, which reach below the ceiling in Goch and divide one of the two exhibition rooms, divided into different directions, into compartments. However, these rooms in the room are not completed; The grids are not fixed walls, but largely open to the view. The different sawed out sections correspond exactly to the dimensions of the door and window openings of the room. Other elements that also have an optical outline function are colored rectangular discs made of corrugated polyester, which hang pictures on the construction like single panels – not all at the usual eye level, but their size and position is also derived from the architectural conditions of the room.

The reference to the conditions of space based on strictly geometrical forms and dimensions could almost be read as a continuation of the tradition of Minimal Art. But one may also be reminded of the Cabinet of Abstracts, which El Lissitzky set up between 1926 and 1928 in the Sprengel Museum Hannover and which since 2017 has been accessible there as a reconstruction. Lissitzky designed a kind of Gesamtkunstwerk for the presentation of works by other artists as well, based on a clear constructivist vocabulary of forms. However, Paul Schwer also incorporates in his „Gesamtkunstwerk“ other elements that would be unthinkable to Lissitzky or strict minimalists. Thus, several red PET objects form a radical contrast to the geometric reduction. Complex wrinkled and folded forms can not be grasped at a glance, suggesting a baroque overabundance, an impression of the random and the chaotic. A staging of the exhibition space based on such strong formal counterparts may seem like an attempt to bring things right back to their original level after an explosion or other destruction.

The corrugated iron hut, which stands diagonally upside down in the other showroom, could also have been torn away by a flood. It does not seem habitable anymore, even when light is on. Inside, there is an accumulation of fluorescent tubes, the cables of which hang down at the bottom, reminiscent of a torrent of water.

„Model“ for this architectural sculpture is a corrugated iron hut that Paul Schwer has seen far away from human settlements in Iceland. Travel memories often form associative starting points for his spatial stagings. The second room was inspired by the facade of a vegetable shop in Istanbul, where the artist had a scholarship in 2015.

However, such references and narrative references never become clear; mental impressions, like physical materials, enter into the composition of an „installation“. After all, is Paul Schwer ultimately an „installation artist“ who combines various individual elements into a spatial entity? Or does he create three-dimensional images that extend concepts of painting into space? Even though Paul Schwer himself, as already mentioned, tends towards the latter „categorization“, in the end it is up to us how we classify our mode of experience conceptually. The emotional impact can also vary depending on the observer. Thus, the strong color and the physical force of the sculptural forms combined with the often surprising light effects of the fluorescent tubes can trigger a feeling of expressive affection. If you look more closely at the constructive components, you will discover in Paul Schwer‘s work a seemingly contradictory, almost hermetic feature, in which the elements, as on different levels of presentation, almost seem to interlock with one another like a Russian doll.

Furthermore, one could ask how Paul Schwer‘s art of spatial presentation could be classified in the context of contemporary installation art. If we follow Claire Bishop‘s 2005 installmentage „Criitical History“ in the Tate Modern Press, different forms of installation are distinguished not by their spatial presentation, but by the way they are viewed („viewer“) that are, are mentally and physically involved. Dream scene, heightened perception, Mimetic engulfment and Activated Spectatorship are the guidelines here, which are also based on different subject theories. The recipient subject is involved, but also decentred: psychoanalytically, phenomenologically, libidinally or in the sense of a post-structuralist political subject.

The receiving subject is called upon to actively explore the spatial staging. But this is no self­assured subject with a sovereign command of a unitary space as in Renaissance perspective but one that is decentred in the sense of post­structuralist theories. There is no sovereign viewer’s standpoint from where the entire spatial installation can be grasped in one sweep. This is a central characteristic of Paul Schwer’s spatial stagings, aligning them with the procedures of many well­known installation artists like Allan Kapow, Lucas Samaras, Paul Thek, Ilya Kabakov, and Gregor Schneider.

However, the combination of different, seemingly incongruent things in stage­like spatial ensembles also calls to mind the psychoanalytically inspired combinatorics of the Surrealists. And perhaps the individual elements brought together by Paul Schwer take on a »sense« only if read as Freud read dreams: as picture puzzles whose deeper meaning does not lie in what is to be seen in the images.

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Jan van Munster (1939)

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Jan van Munster stands for me personally as the artist who experimenst with Neon and Pyrographics and using these to create Minimal objects and sculptures. I noticed his works for the first time when a work of him was presented at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. It weas a neon sculpture and made in an edition of a few copies and for sale at the museum shop. Unfortunately i did not have the insight at that time to buy it, but the memory remains, because it was the first van Munster i had seen. This is not the easiest of art to admire, but once you follow his career and search back throught the decades that he has made his art, you conclude that he always stayed true to his origins. One of the characteristics that keep reappearing is that he uses frequently two elements on his covers of the catalogues that are published with his works.

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First…many of his covers are embossed and second. ….in many cases there is a special Pyrographic made/burnt into the cover of his catalogues, making these original, one of a kind works of art at a more than reasonable price. http://www.ftn-books.com has some nice van Munster titles available.

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Henk Peeters….ECHT HENK PEETERS

 

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A blog on a  very speciual multiple that was published on the occasion of the Henk Peeters Retrospective at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag in 2011. On that occasion a reprint of the famous Nul/Zero 1964 catalogue was made in a small edition. It is the catalogue with the ZERO presentations by Armando, Peeters and Schoonhoven. All of these legendary artists have now passed away, but Peeters realized the importance of that catalogue and from that facsimile edition Peeters took some 20 copies and made multiples out of them by Stitching the front , back and inner work together and sign them with ECHT PEETERS. This has become one of the rarest of the later Peeters multiples and now one of those multiples is for sale at www.ftn-books.com

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Henk Peeters (b. The Hague, 1925-2013)) was the most active member of the Dutch Nul group, notably with regard to the organization; he made the international contacts, organized the international ZERO (Nul) exhibitions at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, and wrote on the theory of art. It was also he who first actively participated in international exhibitions with artist groups such as the German ZERO, the Italian Azimuth, and with artists Yves Klein, Yayoi Kusama and Lucio Fontana. He initiated the (utopian) project “Zero on Sea,” with more than fifty participating artists from over ten countries, and remained true to the fundamental concept of the Nul movement right up to his death in 2013. He sought to use his works of art to make the viewer conscious of his environment; he wanted to bring about a sensitive consciousness-raising, as it were. The materials that Peeters selected for his works frequently had a very tactile appeal, while he simultaneously created a certain untouchability; thus he stuck candle tapers behind plastic foil, or placed mesh in front of cotton wool. He also used fire on canvases, leaving behind traces of thick smoke, or burned holes into plastic, the so-called “Pyrographies.” With these – often white – works he was visually closely related to the German ZERO artists, but there was also a clear relationship with Nouveau Realisme; Peeters also used ready-mades, which he bought in inexpensive stores and isolated in the work of art. In these, he had a preference for modern, clean, industrial materials, such as plastic and nylon. He once said: “with my work, I have always wanted it to look just as fresh as if it was in the HEMA (the Dutch chain store). It must not be artified… I had no need for artistic cotton wool.” Henk Peeters also worked with natural processes, such as light and water reflections, and with ice, rain, snow and mist. Art and life should be joined together inextricably. And thus, in 1961 Henk Peeters became a work of art himself, when Piero Manzoni appointed him as one; this was certified and signed by the Italian artist. Until his death (Hall (NL), 2013), Henk Peeters restored artworks from the Nul period and remained an active spokesman for the group.

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Victor Vasarely another special edition added

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I have had a weakness for the art of Victor Vasarely. It must have been one of my first encounters with Modern Art in the Mid Sixties. In the window of an art dealer in de Hoogstraat in Den Haag there were on display signed serigraphs by Vasarely and since OP Art and Pop Art were popular  i took an interest in these Vasarely too. I could not afford them, but found some 20 years later that Vasarely published highly affordable book publications which had the same quality as his prints. I have been collecting and adding Vasarely books and special publications to my collections ever since and yesterday i added another special publication. It is the 1961 Hanover gallery Vasarely catalogue. Not too many pages ( 32) , but what makes this special is the extra silkscreened inlay which can be combinedx together with the first print within the catalogue. My guess is not many of this rare cataloguue will have survived and what makes it even more special is the pristine condition of both silkscreened print and bookpage. Here are the photographs of this special and highly collectible Vasarely catalogue which is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Daan van Golden and Ameland ( 1971)

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Hollum/Rotterdam, Daan van Golden/Rotterdamse Kunststichting, 1971. Folded green cover with letterpress containing a stapled cellophane wrapped herbarium, 22,5 x 15 cms. (assemblage) between 2 cardboard sheets, 25 x 21 cms., consisting of a colour postcard, feathers, sand, tree-leaves, grass, fern. Van Golden spends October and November 1971 on the island of Ameland; while walking and cycling he collects leaves, mosses and so on; the result is a series of 500 cellophane wrapped herbariums. Van Golden’s Ameland report is distributed as the 6th edition of the ‘Atlas voor een nieuwe metropool’.

Thi is the comple description of the publication which was made after AVn Golden visited Ameland for the Atlas van een nieuwe Metropool project. This extremely rare publication is now available at www.ftnbooks.com

 

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Rob Scholte ( continued )

 

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Since ii have sold several Scholte multiples during the last months , i was on the look out for more of these excellent mScholte multiple editions and……found them. I contacted a collector of whom i knew he had sold me several in the past and he could help me with 6 more of these Scholte multiples. All from the” Lucifer in paradise ” edition which was originally sold at the Kruidvat stores in 2007. As far as i know all are unique because every one of them depicts a different kind of set of match boxes. The one on the upper right is not available. It is now part of my personal collection because Donald Duck is an all time favorite of mine. The other 5 are all available at www.ftn-books.com. For more inquiries please mail me at wvdelshout@ziggo.nl

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Rob Scholte (1958)

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For me the first confrontation with Scholte’s art was at the gallery ‘t Venster where he had a show on the floor below where Piet Dirks was having his first Rotterdam gallery exhibition. I was shown around by mrs van Gennep who told me that Scholte was a rising star in the art world. Rob Scholte is one of the great dutch contemporary artists. He was on the rise when there was an assassination attempt on him. His car was blown up and in the vent he lost both his legs. This story is known by almost everyone in the Netherland. People who know something of the art scene in the Eighties know that Scholte, Klashorst and Ploeg were the names that rose to fame and of these three Rob Scholte was picked up by important german galleries. Since the bomb explosion it took Scholte a very long time to come back as an artist, but finally he managed to make a come back and have his art in the spot light again, although it never became as important as before his assassination attempt. But his name was important enough to be invited for a “Kruidvat” project. Schermafbeelding 2018-07-17 om 14.10.46

The shops of Kruidvat had the idea to make important art and artists financially accessible to their customers and Scholte was invited to participate. Scholte made silkscreens on canvas of collages of lucifer boxes. Which were sold out immediately after they were published and presented in the Kruidvat stores. http://www.ftn-books.com has managed to acquire 2 of these highly collectable art works of which the last one is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Herman de Vries/ Random Shapes cat. 578

 

This is one of those catalogues that has become famous. When i started collecting Stedelijk Museum catalogues some 20 years ago. The first “lot” i bought contained 2 of these and my first thought was….who in the world is interested in these catalogues, but his has changed over the years. 2 reasons….

1st. Herman de Vries has become one of the most important artists since he first presented his works in the Stedelijk Museum.

2nd. What i did not realize at that time, but which is realized by many nowadays is that these catalogues were not a catalogue at all, but true multiples that were published on the occasion af an exhibition. Among them, Soto, Hamilton, Paolozzi, Arp, Calder and…. certainly this RANDOM SHAPES by Herman de Vries.

It was published with no 578 and contained a white cover which contained a see through envelope containing the Random shapes by de Vries a6 page folder with explanation in dutch made it complete.

The Random Shapes has become iconic for the Stedelijk Museum catalogues and finally after a long time i managed to find me another copy which is available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Robin Winters (1950)

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Robin Winters has had his exhibitions in the Netherlands. Both in museums and galleries he was presented in solo exhibitions during the 90’s. These days, Winters is represented by the Deweer gallery in Belgium, but in the Nineties there were several who thought this artist was interesting enough to develop special publications with Winters. One of these “specials” was produced by Bebert. It is a large cotton sheet printed with heads which are so typical for Winters his art.

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Here is the description as it appears at http://www.ftn-books.com where this large work is for sale.

Artist/ Author: Robin Winters Title : composition with figures on cotton tissue Published: 1986 Measurements: 150 x 130 cm for the cotton tissue. 16 x 12 cm for the paper print Condition: nm++/ Mint for the large cotton print extra information on this item: Highly collectable multiples by Winters . edition of only 169. Signed and dated with initials on the accompanying paper print.

Later today i will include this beautiful and impressive Robin Winters at http://www.ftn art too.

Beside this impressive multiple there are some very nice publications published in Europe which are also for sale at www.ftn-books.com

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Tomitaro Nachi (1924-2007)

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Tomitaro Nachi was one of the first japanese artist ever to have an exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum. Wim Crouwel designed the catalogue for his exhibition and what makes it extra special is that the catalogue included a rare and beautiful multiple. There is wonderful short movie about this artist which was made at the time of his exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum in 1974.

The catalogue shines. It is like a minimal artist book and reflects the spirit of “Zero” and Kinetic art and was forgotten by most until recently it was sold at a local book auction and fetched a steep price of euro 120,– because it had the original multiple included. www.ftn-books.com has both copies available. The one with and the one without the multiple. Both are worth collecting, but as lng as it is there i would chose the one with the multiple included.

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