A follow up on the many blogs i have now written on Erwin Olaf. In the mid Nineties Olaf was diagnosed with COPD, a lung disease which makes him now one of the vulnerable people during this Covid-19 pandemic. He made a very personal series , making himself the subject and staging himself in some situations that can only occur during these pandemic times. The series is called ” APRIL FOOL 2020 ” and is now published for the very first time . The series which is now published in the magazine contains 8 photographs. Erwin Olaf makes himself the subject of these impressive, very personal photographs. The Volkskrant magazine had this honour to publish these for the first time.
The magazine is a supplement to the Volkskrant newspaper which was published on Saturday the 16th of May. Maybe you can obtain a copy for your collection yourself, because this is an important , historical series and who knows, perhaps the only time it is published. ww.ftn-books.com has some very nice Erwin Olaf titles available.
On the 8th of May 2018 i published a blog on the very impressive photography by Wally Elenbaas. These were photographs not lightly to be forgotten. Specially because Elenbaas was sentenced to prison for these beautiful photographs.
Now it is time to shine some light on another aspect of this great dutch artist. Elenbaas was also a gifted designer and used his typography to create images and illustrations consisting of letters transforming these and their meaning into illustrations. Images tell a far better story than words so here are some illustrations….and….the LETTERBOEK is available at http://www.ftn-books.com
Teun Hocks. Is it staged photography or is it painting on photographs. It is a combination of both and the result is always absurd. Like Magritte he sketches a scene which is impossible , but pushes you to discover the meaning of the composition and look for the sabsurd and surreal in the painting/photograph. Hocks has build an oeuvre with these compositions and always plays a part in them.
He is an artist who creates self portraits with the utmost charm. “In my images I aim to achieve not so much, offering a mirror sometimes, or/and gaining a smile, and maybe a good feeling,” Teun tells It’s Nice That. This is a refreshingly humble aim, and one that is achieved with heart-warming artworks despite their surrealist edge.
The artworks featured are each part of Teun’s Analogue Works painted pieces that are the result of a thorough process from the artist. “First I start out with almost no ideas, or vague ones, drawing thoughts I have about all kinds of situations that get me dreaming.” The artist explains that once he is settled upon a concept, “I build and paint a setting, checking and controlling everything by taking digital photos to compare to my drawings”.
Next, once a desired light is found, “I take my place, and start to take polaroids (using a self-timer and longer cable release). If I am satisfied with the result I take eight photos on 6×9cm black and white film. Looking at the contact sheet, I decide which negative is the one to print. If not I start all over again.” This extensive process doesn’t stop there either. “I make three large black and white prints on fibre-based photographic paper, tone them to sepia, glue them on aluminium and start to colour them with transparent oil paint.”
The result of Teun’s perfectionism is a series of artworks that leave the viewer bewildered. Are they paintings? Are they photographs? The answer as the artist explains is both, and his ability to merge the mediums flawlessly is brilliantly baffling.
Recently i acquired with the help of a good friend a wonderful collection of Eighties and Nineties invitation cards. Among them there were some very beautiful Richard Long cards and i wish to show two of these invitations in this blog. About 5000 miles of space between the two locations where the opening was ( Glarus and New York ) does not make the cards totally different. You can feel and see the hand of Richard Long in the design of the cards. Black and white photographs with red lettering on the upper side of the cards make the look identical, sizes are slight different, but it does not show immediately. These cards are true collectable Richard Long items and i believe that from the edition only some dozens will have survived. These cards and some other very ncie publications by Richard Long are now available at www.ftn-books.com
I have seen thousands of invitation cards by museums from all over the world and helped to produce hundreds of them. Sometimes you make a mistake in choosing the wrong picture or the color scheme does not work out the way it should have, but i know of the difficulties and the traps of producing a good invitation card. The subject has to be clear immediately and the picture on the card has to be a typical example from the exhibition. In my opinion here is a perfect card. Produced for the Bauhaus Archiv exhibition of Bauhaus photography. The card dates from 1990 and has an outstanding look and feel. The print quality is excellent and the subject clear immediately with the partly covered face in black and white. …… a perfect invitation it is and now available at www.ftn-books.com
It has been some years ago that there was an exhibition by Erwin Olaf. The sets/ stage design was done by Floris Vos who recently died. Floris Vos was important to Erwin Olaf since the staging of his photographs is so important and a part which makes his photographs recognizable and stand out. Every detail counts and the result is a photograph which is truly remarkable. Of course the talent of Erwin Olaf is undoubtedly present in every photograph he takes, but the staging by Floris Vos will be missed in the future. I dare to say that the future Olaf photographs will be different and that is probably not a bad thing, because now Olaf must use a different set director, which means different photographs for sure and taking a new road into the staged photography he excels in.
set for “Grief”
www.ftn-books.com has the HET NIEUWE INSTITUUT folder/invitation for the exhibition from 2013 available for sale.
This morning i read in our newspaper that the artist/photograph Ger Dekkers died on the 20th of January. Dekkers will always be known for his series of landscapes that he combined into an abstract almost constructivist composition. Dekkers was the artist who needed a landscape for his art. www,ftn-books.com has several books on Dekkers available.
For many among us Günther Förg is the painter of lead surfaced paintings and one great print maker, but there is another quality in which he excels. Förg was a great photographer and made some high quality photo books on the almost forgotten ( Bauhaus )architecture of Tel Aviv and Moscow. The book on Tel Aviv i have sold a very long time ago, but was fortunate to find a Moscow copy with his photographs on a recent book market. This is a truly outstanding publication. Large sized , printed and published by Snoeck and of the highest print quality. The book shows the excellence of his photographs and makes you wonder why art lovers all over the world are not familiar with this part of Förg’s work.. The photographs look like still lives and do not only have an artistic quality but a historic quality too. Where the Tel Aviv book is of the highest quality, this Moscow book even looks better. It is a publication of a rare quality and a highly collectable photography/art book.
An artist from my generation is Roni Horn and since the days i worked at the Gemeentemuseum i came across her works. This is not the easiest art on the planet, but it is fascinating and some wonderful books have been published with her works. Some of these are available at www.ftn-books.com. Here is a text i found recently in which is explained some of the qualities of her works.
Since the mid-1990s, Horn has been producing cast-glass sculptures. For these works, colored molten glass assumes the shape and qualities of a mold as it gradually anneals over three to four months. The sides and bottom of the resulting sculpture are left with the rough translucent impression of the mold in which it was cast. By stark contrast, the top surface is fire-polished and slightly bows like liquid under tension. The seductively glossy surface invites the viewer to gaze into the optically pristine interior of the sculpture, as if looking down on a body of water through an aqueous oculus. Exposed to the reflections from the sun or to the shadows of an overcast day, Horn’s glass sculpture relies upon natural elements like the weather to manifest her binary experimentations in color, weight and lightness, solidity and fluidity. The endless subtle shifts in the work’s appearance place it in an eternal state of mutability, as it refuses a fixed visual identity. Begetting solidity and singularity, the changing appearance of her sculptures is where one discovers meaning and connects her work to the concept of identity.For Horn, drawing is a primary activity that underpins her wider practice. Her intricate works on paper examine recurring themes of interpretation, mirroring and textual play, which coalesce to explore the materiality of color and the sculptural potential of drawing. Horn’s preoccupation with language also permeates these works; her scattered words read as a stream of consciousness spiralling across the paper. In her ‘Hack Wit’ series, Horn reconfigures idiomatic turns of phrase and proverbs to engender nonsensical, jumbled expressions. The themes of pairing and mirroring emerge as she intertwines not only the phrases themselves but also the paper they are inscribed on, so that her process reflects the content of the drawings. Words are her images and she paints them expressionistically, which – combined with her method – causes letters to appear indeterminate, as if they are being viewed underwater.
Notions of identity and mutability are also explored within Horn’s photography, which tends to consist of multiple pieces and installed as a surround which unfolds within the gallery space. Examples include her series ‘The Selected Gifts, (1974 – 2015),’ photographed with a deceptively affectless approach that belies sentimental value. Here, Horn’s collected treasures float against pristine white backdrops in the artist’s signature serial style, telling a story of the self as mediated through both objects and others – what the artist calls ‘a vicarious self-portrait.’ This series, alongside her other photographic projects, build upon her explorations into the effects of multiplicity on perception and memory, and the implications of repetition and doubling, which remain central to her work.
Just a little younger than Erwin Olaf, but seeing both photographers photo’s you can conclude that they are from the same generation and inspired each other. Tollens is an Erwin Olaf 2.0? ……
far from that, because this is an artist with a keen eye on her surroundings and placing objects in such a way that they become something else and have a different meaning . It is the absurd combinations that make her photographs in the book WEIRD NATURE stand out from the others. ( book available at www.ftn-books.com).
But one look at her site ( http://www.cornelietollens.com) shows that her other discipline in which she excels….. the photography of dutch actors and artists….is another specialty. She has had almost every younger artist in front of her camera and for those familiar with dutch cultural life this is a great way to look at the most famous of dutch actors and artists.
Artist/ Author: Oliver Boberg
Title : Memorial
Publisher: Oliver Boberg
Measurements: Frame measures 51 x 42 cm. original C print is 35 x 25 cm.
signed by Oliver Boberg in pen and numbered 14/20 from an edition of 20