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Tobias Pils (1971)

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I entered the Josef Albers Museum 3 months ago, crossed the treshold and there it was ….on the left at 20 meters, large and totally in black and white…..one of the most impressive paintings i had seen in years. This is how i learned about Tobias Pils. I dit not know of the artist before, but his works have an abstract and graphic quality i had not seen before.

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Working within a palette of blacks and whites and the range of grays that can be made from them, he creates mixed media paintings full of abstract and representational elements. These elements are often arranged so that they flow from one to the next seemingly of their own accord, obeying the dictates of a painterly logic that generates meaning through the accumulation of many small moments. As such, Pils’s works are endlessly captivating as arrangements of textures, flows, and material invention—in a sense, as symphonic, non-objective compositions, even when their mythological content and primal imagery tempt narrative readings. This syncretic approach reflects a mind that revels in contradictions, even as it seeks to suture together contrasting passages with a subtle and virtuosic array of mark-making strategies that are alternately bold, incisive, impressionistic, and completely open to the innate properties of paint medium and support. Pils works at a variety of scales and in different contexts, responding to the urgency of his own intuition and the external constraints of architectural and institutional settings with equal fluency. In each of these forums, he locates the places where the vast and the intimate meet, both in the physical world and the human psyche alike. The Tobias Pils poster for his Josef Albers MUseum exhibition is available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jerry Zeniuk (1945)

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The first thing that i thought when i saw the poster for the Jerry Zeniuk exhibition at the Josef Albers Museum was…..it looks like a large Piet Dirkx. Of course i know the works by Piet Dirkx very well and there are quite some similarities between them . They both prefer large sizes. Zeniuk even larger ones. And the use of color is almost the same.

on the left Jerry Zeniuk on the right Piet Dirkx

Zeniuk follows in the tradition of American art after 1950 with his largeformat works. The wall-filling aspect of his painting does not however seek to redefine real space; it retains its pictorial identity, which allows the painter as well as the viewer to be present in the painting. “To be present, mentally, emotionally, physically” – this was Zeniuk’s motivation as well as his challenge when creating a painting measuring four by eight meters, as he did in 2001 in Mainz, or five by five meters in Munich in 2013. These two works, which act like brackets in relation to the rest of Zeniuk’s oeuvre, are the focus of the current presentation. The oil paintings on canvas were created without the aid of a preliminary sketch. The choice and combination of colors, the movement involved in the application of paint, and the artist’s wealth of experience alone gave rise to these authentic “depictions.” Jerry Zeniuk (b. 1945 in Bardowick near Lüneburg) is one of the foremost representatives of so-called “elementary” or “essential” painting.

www.ftn-books.com has the Josef Albers Museum (signed) poster available.

For more information on the Piet Dirkx paintings please inquire since ftn art has these together with other Piet Dirkx paintings for sale.

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Boris Kleint (1903-1996)

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He was born in 1903 in Masmünster , Alsace . After graduating from high school in Baden-Baden (1921), he studied psychology , philosophy , medicine , languages ​​and art studies at the universities in Heidelberg , Leipzig , Berlin and Würzburg from 1921 to 1925 . In 1925 he received his doctorate in Frankfurt in the subject of psychology [1] and was there at the Psychological Institute assistant to Max Wertheimer , the founder of Gestalt theory . From 1933 he studied in Berlin Painting by the Swiss painter and art teacher Johannes Itten , whose assistant he became in 1933. In 1936 Kleint emigrated to Luxembourg .

Between 1936 and 1942 he traveled from there to Walter Gropius in London and to Kandinsky and Picasso in Paris , later a second trip to Kandinsky followed. After the liberation of the Grand Duchy by Allied troops (1944) he was interned in the Luxembourg state prison “Im Grund” for four weeks.

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In 1946 Kleint received an appointment at the State School for Art and Crafts in Saarbrücken, where he took over the master class for painting and at the same time set up a “basic teaching” based on the Itten preliminary course ( Bauhaus ), which he passed on to his assistant Oskar Holweck after a few years passed on. In 1953 he took over the chairmanship of the Saarland Artists Association. In 1954 he was appointed professor and four years later a visiting professorship at the Technical University of Aachen . In 1957, Kleint and like-minded people founded the artists’ association “ neue gruppe saar ”. In 1969 his main work “Bildlehre” appeared, which became decisive for later generations of students and in several languages, including insJapanese , has been translated.

Kleint’s oeuvre covers a broad spectrum and is stylistically diverse. Both constructive – concrete elements and informal tendencies can be found in the work . According to his own statement, his artistic goal was a “visual universality” to which he subordinated the finding of a personal style.

In 1994 Klein received a Retrospective exhibition at the Josef Albers Museum. He signed a few of the exhibition posters of which one is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Jonas Weichsel (1982)

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Weichsel is without doubt one of the youngest artists that had a one man show at the Josef Albers Museum in Bottrop and….deservedly. His works have a minimalist quality and are bright filled with color. Just see his show and it makes you comfortable and happy at the same time. Thre is nothing to distract….just the composition.

He creates minimalist paintings of uncanny precision and impalpability, which upon closer inspection translate into sensuous, lived experiences. Early on, Weichsel developed his unique analytical and systematic painting technique, which he continues to pursue often combining digital and plotting techniques with hand-painted elements to explore the possibilities and limits of painting and the boundaries between immateriality and a tangible, material presence. His paintings inherit a deceptive simplicity and unfold their full power only in the contemplation of the original.

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Jonas Weichsel, born 1982 in Darmstadt, Germany, first studied in Mainz and Düsseldorf before completing his Meisterschüler with Judith Hopf at Städelschule Frankfurt. In 2016, he was awarded a residency at the Villa Romana in Florence, Italy. In 2012, he won the Karl Schmidt-Rottluff Stipendium after having been awarded the Dies Academicus—the Prize of the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz—alongside a scholarship from the Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes in 2009. Recent solo exhibitions include the Joseph Albers Museum, Bottrop (2018), Museum Wiesbaden (2016), and Deutsche Bundesbank, Frankfurt a.M. (2013). Important group exhibitions include the Museum of Modern Art, Frankfurt (2018; 2017; 2011), Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (2017), Kunstverein Braunschweig (2016), Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2016), Villa Romana, Florence, Italy (2016), Frankfurter Kunstverein (2015), Kunsthalle Wiesbaden (2015), Kunsthalle Mainz (2015; 2010), Kunstraum Bethanien, Berlin (2015), Salondergegenwart, Hamburg (2013), Kunstmuseum Wiesbaden (2012), Heidelberger Kunstverein (2011), Wilhelm Hack Museum (2010), and Nassauischer Kunstverein, Wiesbaden (2010). Jonas Weichsel lives and works in Frankfurt a.M.

The Josef Albers Museum poster is now available at www.ftn-books.com

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Pieter Brattinga (1931-2004)

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In an earlier blog I wrote something on the relation between Henry Miller and Pieter Brattinga, but there is much more importance found in the fact that Brattinga was a designer /publisher all by himself, who made some very prestigious publications in the late Fifties and early Sixties. Being the son of the director of Steendrukkerij de Jong he held exhibitions within the printing rooms of Steendrukkerij de Jong and even started his own publication KWADRAAT Blad making it an example of the qualities that the Steendrukkerij de Jong was possible of. In later years he organized numerous exhibitions and designed many other books and stamps for PTT ao.. Pieter Brattinga was important for the development of dutch graphic design from the last century. Many of the Kwadraat publications are available at www.ftn-books.com

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Ad Reinhardt (1913-1967)

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If it had not been for the exhibition “SPIRITUAL IN ART ” in the Haags Gemeentemuseum, i probably would not have known Ad Reinhardt. Of course now i know him because of the Bottrop / Quadrat exhibition which was very impressive, but for most people in Europe Ad Reinhardt is far less familiar. His works are spread all over the world and can be admired in public Museums. The Stedelijk Museum only has a handful of prints which makes his works hard to find in the Netherlands. Still whenever one encounters a Reinhardt painting it always impresses me . Perhaps that is the reason why i bought some 9 years ago a beautiful Geert van Fastenhout, which is far more affordable than the steep prices Reinhardt fetch at auction nowadays , also a painting with the symbolic cross. An item which is frequently used by Reinhardt too.

left Reinhardt/ right van Fastenhout

In execution and intensity both painters are equal to each other. The difference…..van Fastenhout is known in France, Japan and the Netherlands, whereas Reinhardt is now known all over the world. www.ftn-books.com has recently added a beautiful German catalogue by the Kunsthalle Dusseldorf from 1972 , which includes an impressive original silkscreen with the depicting of the black/grey crosses.

 

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Pol Bury (1922-2005) and kinetic art

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Pol Bury, painter and sculptor, but his importance comes from his early participation in the Kinetic arts mouvement. It has been a long time before i appreciated Pol Bury art., but since i collected some of his Derniere Le Miroir publications by Maeght i started to know his works a little better and the time i saw one of his sculptures at Bottrop , i was convinced of the importance of Pol Bury for Modern Art. The sculpture i refer to is in the permanent collection of Bottrop and  acquired at the time of my visit the signed poster for the Bury exhibition in 1990. The poster shows the sculpture of the Bury kinetic sculpture. Like a giant flying saucer it stand in the middle of a pond , water coming out its opening. Mouvement and form , making it into a giant kinetic sculpture. This signed poster is available at www.ftn-books.com

Pol Bury about his own work:

Pol Bury: I see no point in revealing the technical details of the mechanism that drives the movement [in my sculptures]. We are too quick, nowadays, in this particular art form, to equip ourselves with the engineer’s compasses and slide rule. For me movement is a medium, like colour and line for painters. No one asks a painter for a chemical analysis of his chosen medium. The perception of movement should be immediate and obvious to the viewer; most importantly, the means used to create the animation should be invisible, and readily forgotten.

While making this blog on Bury i encountered an excellent site with many quotes on Bury and his importance. For those interested please visit:

https://www.christies.com/features/The-master-of-slowness-An-oral-history-of-Pol-Bury-6848-1.aspx

and the ones that want to inform themselves on Bury. There is a nice selection of publications available at www.ftn-books.com

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Manfred Mohr (1938)

 

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Another discovery from the Josef Albers Museum/Quadrat Bottrop is the artist Manfred MOhf of whom i had not heard until 8 years ago, but who i discovered at the Quadrat Museum, because they had some very nice limited prints available. Later i remembered that he also featured within the Blank Page set which i acquired some 25 years ago for my personal collection.

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Mohr is a digital Art pioneer and strangely enough this has no relation at all with his early years as an artist in which he was a jazz musician and action painter. I really love the works by Mohr, because they look simple compositions and almost the same , but when you look at the closely you will notice the difference and subtle changes which result in a completely different composition.

The publications by MOhr have all the same qualities. Oblong sized and showing these little differences in sequence resulting in a different composition. I love these kind of books. Small editions, artist like books, in most cases designed by the artist and really showing what the art is about and http://www.ftn-books.com has some of these books by Mohr available.

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Jean Dewasne (1921-1999) a very special print

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Before i visited for the first time the Quadrat Museum in Bottrop i never had seen many Jean Dewasne paintings. Yes there were a few in Brussels and Antwerp, but as many as there were in Bottrop was new to me. It made me realize that Dewasne was arguably one of the most influential and important Belgian painters from the last century and the Josef Albers/ Quadrat museum recognized his importance by holding a large retrospective on him in 1991.

I depicted the poster of this exhibition in this blog , because it is very special. The poster is a specially designed silkscreen and available at http://www.ftn-books.com

Not only the silkscreen exhibition print is special but also the catalogue with the 1991 exhibition contains 3 small silkscreens within , making this a true artist book. Since my visit of the Dewasne exhibition i always have been admiring him and i am still wondering why he has not become the great name in art he deserves to be.

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Agnes Martin (1912-2004)

The 3rd blog on a female artist. Tate, Moma, Lacma, Guggenheim, Centre Pompidou, Stedelijk Museum…..They all have in common that they have a work or works by Agnes Martin in their Permanent collections. Martin is considered by most as a Minimal artist but she herself thinks more of herself as an abstract expressionist painter. Anyway ,she is absolutely one of the most important and original artists from the 20th century. Personally i think her paintings have a unique quality. More Minimal than abstract, but made with a technique that is typical Agnes Martin. The Guardian says the following on Martin.

A late starter, Martin kept on going, working at the height of her powers right through her 80s; a stocky figure with apple cheeks and cropped silver hair, dressed in overalls and Indian shirts. She produced the last of her masterpieces a few months before her death in 2004, at the grand old age of 92. But she was also so deeply ambivalent about pride and success and the ego-driven business of making a name for yourself that in the 1960s she abandoned the art world altogether, packing up her New York studio, giving away her materials and disappearing in a pickup truck, surfacing 18 months later on a remote mesa in New Mexico.

When she returned to painting in 1971, the grids had gone, replaced by horizontal or vertical lines, the old palette of grey and white and brown giving way to glowing stripes and bands of very pale pink and blue and yellow. “Sippy cup colours”, the critic Terry Castle once called them, and their titles likewise address states of pre-verbal, infantile bliss. Little Children Loving Love, I Love the Whole World, Lovely Life, even Infant Response to Love. And yet these images of absolute calm did not arise from a life replete with love or ease, but rather out of turbulence, solitude and hardship. Though inspired, they represent an act of dogged will and extreme effort, and their perfection is hard-won.

Martin’s work is in museums and collections across the world, and changes hands for millions of dollars at a time. All the same, she hasn’t achieved quite the renown of her mostly male contemporaries in abstraction, partly because the subtleties of her paintings are almost impossible to reproduce in print.
I think there is one exception. the excellent poster that was an original silkscreen for the Quadrat Bottrop exhibition. It is still available at www.ftn-books.com
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