Posted on Leave a comment

Nasreen Mohamedi (1937-1990)

Schermafbeelding 2020-07-07 om 09.31.42

There are not that many artists that have emerged from India and made a name for their selves in western art, but Nasreen Mohamedi is certainly one of them. Crown on her exhibition history was the REINA SOFIA exhibition in 2014 ( book available at http://www.ftn-books.com ). At this occasion, a large number of her line drawings and paintings were for the first time to be seen in Europe and with this exhibition she established her self as being one of the truly visionary original artist coming from outside the western art world.

Schermafbeelding 2020-07-07 om 09.34.16

Born in Karachi in 1937, before moving to Mumbai in her youth, and living and teaching in Vadodara until her final days, Mohamedi remains one of the most under-recognised artists of the 20th century. At the time when Indian Modernists were painting the colours and chaos of their homeland, Mohamedi worked alongside peers such as MF Husain, Tyeb Mehta and VS Gaitonde. Yet she was virtually alone amongst her peers because she broke away from the mainstream practice of figurative painting in post-Independence India. She has often been compared to Canadian abstract painter Agnes Martin and American minimalist Carl Andre. “‘Nasreen Mohamedi’ reveals the artist’s significant contribution to Modernism that expands the boundaries of Western art history and offers an opportunity to reconsider the meaning of abstract art,” reads the exhibition note. Mohamedi passed away at 53  in 1990, from a rare neurological disorder.

The obscurity in relation to the chronology and description of Mohamedi’s works have confounded curators and art historians. Her evolving language is seen through early abstract brushwork and figurative oil and watercolour, to her grid-based drawings and those in pen and ink.

While her line drawings are the most popular aspect of her oeuvre, what is also fascinating is Mohamedi’s photographic prints, known for their unique architectural quality. A well-travelled artist, Mohamedi took photographs in several places in the Middle East (she lived in Bahrain briefly in her youth), the US and Japan, apart from various cities in India including Chandigarh. her photographs, which highlight geometric shapes and lines in her surroundings through particular crops, mirrored how Mondrian began his path to abstraction, a reason why the two exhibitions will open simultaneously.

Another significant aspect is Mohamedi’s diaries, which reveals the artist’s mind at work. On display at Tate Liverpool are extracts, notes and source material she kept in her studio.

mohamedi

Posted on Leave a comment

Stephen Buckley (1944)

Schermafbeelding 2019-04-03 om 14.12.52

I do not know this for certain, but because i could not find many pictures of Stephen Buckley, my guess is he is an introvert perhaps even a shy person and this picture of his character would fit the art that he makes. Large in size and very abstract, but filled with figures that are not very common and certainly not constructivist. There seems to be a mouvement in his paintings, realized by dividing the space , bending the canvas or shifting pannels from each other. This way of setting up the composition and expressing himself makes his paintings very authentic.

For more than forty years Buckley has concerned himself with addressing the major themes of the twentieth century through a personal style oscillating between the matiere of Schwitters, the dandyism of Picabia and the intellectual rigour of Duchamp by deconstruction and reconstruction. Eventually self-reference was inevitable and there is now a large portfolio of themes, references, motifs and symbols which are continually reworked and reinvented. Scale has always been significant from the 20 foot La Manche (1974) to a great number of ‘carry on’ sized works over a period of years.

www.ftn-books.com has a nice Buckley publication available

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Posted on Leave a comment

Sarah Lucas (1962)

Schermafbeelding 2018-09-17 om 12.22.01

Another young bBritish artist who emerged in the early Nineties in a wave of young British artists. Others from her generation rose to fame in the same years. Among them Gary Hume and Damien Hirst. They had one thing in common. All were added to the Tate collection at a very young age and collected by Saatchi. Personally i am not a great admirer of her works. For the same reasons  i am not a great admirer of Hirst his works, but sometimes you have to look twice and try to discover the meaning of her(in many cases) masculine constructions to confront and dissect their nature.

Schermafbeelding 2018-09-17 om 12.26.19

Her pieces represent a fantastical world and playfully employs unrealistic ideals to unearth obscene paradoxes created by those very constructions. These works are constructed and well thought over and perhaps that is the quality i do not like about them.

www.ftn-books.com has some Sarah Lucas titles available

Posted on Leave a comment

Mark Wallinger (1959)

Schermafbeelding 2018-10-07 om 09.37.36

The first time i took notice of the works by Mark Wallinger was when i learned that this artist was presented at the Tate modern and that Saatchi took an interestb in the artist. The second occasion was when i actually owned a true signed Mark Wallinger. Nothing very special because it was a Christmas Momart edition but still an original work of art signed by the artist himself.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

From that time on i occasionally encountered works by him, but never in the Netherlands, because to my knowledge non of the larger museums have works by Wallinger in their collections. Still there must be an interest for this artist because when you compare the black and white eighties paintings by Armando there are quite some similarities to be found in use of color and composition

Nevertheless for more books and publications on WALLINGER and the late ARMANDO please visit www.ftn-books.com

Posted on Leave a comment

Barbara Hepworth (1903-1975)

Schermafbeelding 2018-08-19 om 09.33.24

I have always thought that the large sculpture outside the Congresbouw / World forum( by Oud) in Den Haag was a sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, but just a few years ago i discovered that i was mistaken and that the sculpture was by Pevsner.

My mistake and when you really look more closely there is a large difference between the art of these two artists. The Hepworth sculptures are much more related to the sculptures by her fellow student and contemporary artist Henry Moore and her later husband Ben Nicholson. There are quite a few sculptures of her in the Netherlands because in the sixties several exhibitions were held at which occasions her works were sold.  Some of the best Hepworth catalogues are available at www.ftn-books.com

The Tate gallery has an excellent introductory text on Hepworth which they published on the 2015 Hepworth exhibition. Here is part of tghis text, but you can find the complete introduction at

https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artists/dame-barbara-hepworth-1274/who-is-barbara-hepworth

Who is she? 

Barbara Hepworth was a British sculptor, who was born in Wakefield, Yorkshire in 1903. She was a leading figure in the international art scene throughout a career spanning five decades.

Who were her peers?

Hepworth studied at Leeds school of Art from 1920–1921 alongside fellow Yorkshire-born artist Henry Moore. Both students continued their studies in sculpture at the Royal College of Art in London. Both became leading practitioners of the avant-garde method of Direct Carving(working directly in to the chosen material) avoiding the more traditional process of making preparatory models and maquettes from which a craftsman would produce the finished work.

From 1924 Hepworth spent two years in Italy, and in 1925 married her first husband, the artist John Skeaping, in Florence; their marriage was to last until 1931. 

From 1932, she lived with the painter Ben Nicholson and, for a number of years, the two artists made work in close proximity to each other, developing a way of working that was almost like a collaboration. They spent periods of time travelling throughout Europe, and it was here that Hepworth met Georges Braque and Piet Mondrian, and visited the studios of PicassoConstantin Brancusi, and Jean Arp and Sophie Taueber-Arp. The experience was a hugely exciting one for Hepworth, for she not only found herself in the studios of some of Europe’s most influential artists, which helped her to approach her own career with renewed vigour and clarity, but also found there mutual respect. The School of Paris had a lasting effect on both Hepworth and Nicholson as they became key figures in an international network of abstract artists. 

Posted on Leave a comment

Hans Haacke (1936)

Schermafbeelding 2018-02-19 om 14.56.35

His career spans now a period of nearly 60 years and he has always been a frontrunner in the world of art. Perhaps yu can compare him with Damien Hirts, but do not forget that there is a difference of time between them of 3 decades. Haacke never reached the stature of a Damien Hirst, but when his works emerged and were introduced into the art scene… literally every large and important Modern Art museum in the world wanted a piece of the action. Haacke was “hot”. Moma , Tate and Museum Ludwig all started to collect Hans Haacke at a large scale.

In 1978 Haacke was asked for a one man show at the van Abbemuseum / Eindhoven ( catalogue available at www.ftn-books.com)  and with this show, the Netherlands started to know Hans Haacke as an artist. Nowadays his art is less prominent present in the collections of these large museums, but i am convinced this will change in the not so far away future, because i think Haacke is important for the art of Seventies and Eighties. A forerunner for the art made by the well respected British artist like Hirst and Tracey Emin. Haacke deserves a place among them. His contribution to art is a valuable one and deserves to be recognized as such.

Posted on Leave a comment

Yayoi Kusama… a zero artist

Kusama stands for me as “ZERO”.

Being one of the first to have participated as a Zero artist Dancing together with Jan Schoonhoven (in the nude)

Schermafbeelding 2018-02-12 om 11.25.09

and after that building an oeuvre on just one pattern…the Polka dot.

i love these artist that stay true to their belief. Kusama is not the only one. Leblanc, Peeters and Schoonhoven ,all from this generation , stayed true to their art ” inventions” developing it into something very perosmnal , recognizable and in many cases a beautiful and impressive work of art.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kusama participated in the first ZERO/Nul exhibition in the Stedelijk Museum, but beside that she had her Retrospektives held all over the world including the Tate Modern where a large rRetrospektive was held in 2012. Now she has turned into a grand old lady of  Contemporary Art and perhaps together with Louise Bourgeois  and Georgia O’Keefe she has given a feminine touch to Modern Art. http://www.ftn-books.com holds some excellent Kusama titles in its inventory.

Posted on Leave a comment

Richard Long (1945)

Schermafbeelding 2017-11-04 om 14.45.16

Hamish Fulton and Richard Long…. Two artist who i learned to appreciate in the time that Rudi Fuchs was director at the Gemeentemuseum. Long was nominated 4 times for the prestigious Turner price , but only won it once in 1989 for White Water Line.

Schermafbeelding 2017-11-04 om 14.50.29

Since i first saw works and publications i have seen Richard Long his works on many occasions and one of the most recent ones was at the Guggenheim Bilbao museum. Each time the lines, circles and labyrinths look random, but this is not true. The placement of the stones and paint is strict and makes it free whitin the object , but it has very strict boundaries making it perfectly shaped. The way each work is created is described and laid down in drawings i a way that each work can be re-cretaed at any other place than it was first was created. It is somewhat the saem as with the walldrawings by Sol LeWitt who uses the same method . The art work is the sketch/drawing and materials and can be re-created anywhere as long as you have the original drawing belonging to the work.

What makes Richard Long stand out from other contemporary artists is that many of his publications are also artist books which hold beside the works, photography and word “sculptures” by Long and http://www.ftn-books.com has some of these titles available.

Posted on Leave a comment

Alan Charlton (1948)… monochromes in grey

Schermafbeelding 2017-11-01 om 16.12.47

For me Alan Charlton stands for British Minimalism. Characterized by the color Grey, he makes constructivist shaped monochrome paintings. This is in short how you can describe the works  by Alan Charlton. There were not many occasions that i have seen his works in Museums, but i remember at least to have seen three times his works. First at the van Abbemuseum, secondly at the Stedelijk Museum and thirdly at the Tate Modern. On all three occasions i thought these works were magnificent. I saw these works quite some time apart from each other, over a period of over 15 years they were viewed, but I always was impressed with the monochrome grey’s, each slightly different from each other making these a true color scale of grey’s.

Schermafbeelding 2017-11-01 om 16.20.01

They blend into their space and because of their monotony and regular shapes they become a part of the room they are exhibited in. It takes some time to appreciate them , but once you do , there are few more exciting paintings and therefore better artists than Alan Charlton, who makes these wonders in grey.

Alan Charlton titles are available at www.ftn-books.com

Posted on Leave a comment

Tate Modern….SOUL OF A NATION: ART IN THE AGE OF BLACK POWER

 

This morning the Volkskrant mentioned and reviewed another Tate Modern exhibition in which afro-american artists have the leading role. I did not visit this exhibition , but it will be on my list should i visit London in the coming months. The exhibition will be open until the 22nd of October and shows the importance of afro-american artists in the sixties and seventies. None of them have become the household names in Modern Art as we know now and perhaps the only artist who reached “star” status by the end of the eighties was Jean-Michel Basquiat, but he originally was born in Brooklyn and part Haitian, not Afro American.  Then i realized that my inventory has very few books on or by Afro American artist. Is it because their art is less appealing? I do not think so, The Dawoud Bey and Kara Walker books i have, show great art, but i think the true reason is that Afro American artists did not get a good platform to show their art in the best possible way. Fewer Museum and gallery exhibitions have been organized  with them than with non afro-american artists and that is the reason this exhibition is important and possibly paves the way for artists from other cultures and countries which are lesser known. The mentioned artists Bey and Walker are available at www.ftn-books.com