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Angelo Savelli (1911-1995)

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Savelli is the Italian master of “WHITE”. Practically all works by Savelli from 1959 on are executed in White. The difference is their shape and the materials used. This makes this Italian artist almost on par with the dutch Jan Schoonhoven , who used “WHITE” too. The difference… Schoonhoven is rooted in the Zero mouvement whereas Savelli is more an abstract constructivist who uses different kind of materials and execute them in WHITE.

Savelli is not very known outside Italy, but in prepaartion of this blog i found that some of his paintings are in famous museum collections. Moma and White Chapel gallery have work in their collections and when you look into his oeuvre you notice that his art must be now in fashion. it tends to Zero and has some qualities of the arte Povera. Both mouvements in art that now are in “Fashion” and are collected worldwide.

Perhaps the next 2 decades Savelli will be discovered by many and become a household name like Jan Schoonhoven’s name has become nowadays. www.ftn-books.com has Savelli publications available.

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Karl Gerstner and Nouvelle Tendence, 1964

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Nouvelle Tendance is an international group of avant-garde artists founded in Paris. Under this title, five international exhibitions were organized with innovative art.

The artists in this movement experimented with lighting effects, kinetic art and Opart. In 1968 they brought one of the first exhibitions with computer art. From that moment, they published nine issues of their magazine Bit International, including two double issues.

Many of the members of Nouvelle Tendance were affiliated with local movements such as ZERO, Nul, Grav, Equipo 57 and others. In contrast to these local moves, Nouvelle Tendance had no statutes or regulations.

This in short what i found as a description of this mouvement. However there is more because in 1964 this mouvement was received an important exhibition at the Musee des Arts decoratifs, recognizing it as an important international art form. Karl Gerstner designed the poster for the exhibition and now i have this original poster for sale. The poster is in excellent almost MINT condition and i believe this to be the only copy currently to be on the market.

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Ewerdt Hilgemann (1938)

 

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For me Hilgemann was one of the first Zero artists i learned to appreciate, but there is so  much more to Hilgemann as an artist. Here is an excellent article i found on Hilgemann  at the Borzo site / www.borzo.com

Borzo still sells his works and perhaps now is right the time  for Hilgemann.

A child of about six in the war, Ewerdt Hilgemann searches through the rubble of the bombed ruins of his hometown Dortmund for shrapnel. He finds them interesting, exciting too, these sharp-edged metal splinters.

Forty years later, and now an artist, Hilgemann works in the marble quarries of Carrara (1975-1985). A truck transports a perfectly sawn one and a half metre cube of marble that he has carefully polished, to the top and then with a thunderous crash sends it toppling off the steep mountainside. And a marble sphere of a similar size, polished to a perfect sheen, has explosives inserted and is then blown up.

Both conceptual ‘performances’ are recorded on film. The artist creates perfect forms, which are then deformed using forces of nature: a sort of reverse creative process.

Thirty years later, in the summer of 2014, Hilgemann exhibits his Magnum Opus. In response to an invitation from the City of New York he places a series of implosion sculptures on Park Avenue. ‘Dancers’, ‘Triples, ’Flowers’ and ‘Cubes’, six metres high, gleaming in the sun, the deformed surfaces of these Titans of steel distort and reflect the overwhelming architecture of the buildings on each side of Park Avenue.

From his earliest days in a devastated Dortmund to the Park Avenue manifestation in New York, Hilgemann has been consistent in his fascination and his art. In his own words: “To deform a perfect shape without me hammering on it”.

From the start the cube and the square are his best-loved shapes. Hilgemann studies and comes to understand these solid forms. He learns it at the Saarbrucken Art Academy under his tutor Oskar Holweck. (In 1958 Holweck had joined the Zero movement, founded that year by Mack and Piene). Here the young art student Hilgemann learns to respect material and form in their most elementary states. Plasticity is achieved through the effect of light on the surface and the – mathematic – interventions performed thereon by the artist.

In 1970 Hilgemann and his wife Antoinette settle in Gorinchem and here a close friendship develops with Ad Dekkers, Marinus Boezem and herman de vries. In these days Gorinchem is apparently a hotbed for avant-garde art. Irritated – provoked even – by a conservative artistic climate in this small town on the River Merwede, these artists discover common ground for their minimalistic and conceptual ideas.

Their haven at the time is Riekje Swart’s legendary Amsterdam gallery. Hilgemann exhibits his white objects oriented according to mathematical studies here from 1966.

In 1973 the four artist friends – and their partners! – take the initiative for a much discussed and now legendary symposium, whereby the town wants to be a centre for “examining the position of the visual arts in our society”. Fifteen European artists stay together in Gorinchem for six weeks. These include now famous artists such as Kenneth Martin, Morellet, Panamarenko, Pohl, Prantl and Winiarski. Exceptional works of art, lectures and performances fill the town. For Hilgemann ‘Gorinchem’ is an extraordinarily significant period in which his art reaches full maturity and he also establishes his international orientation.

Hilgemann produces his first sculpture created through implosion in 1984 for the exhibition “Beelden aan de Linge” by collector Piet Cleveringa from the neighbouring town of Acquoy. He moves to Amsterdam the same year and from that moment on this visual language of imploded constructions will always typify the art of the ‘air-smith’ Ewerdt Hilgemann.

m has some Hilgemann publications available.

 

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The three Henk Peeters …Nul/Zero editions

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Yes, it took a period of over 50 years for Peeters to become the household name in Zero art as he is now. Shortly before his death in 2013  there was a retrospective exhibition at the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. At that occasion the famous Nul/Zero catalogue from 1963 was published as a facsimile. The original catlogue is an extremely hard find these days and when you encounte a copy. The condition in most of the cases is not what you had hoped for. At one time www.ftn-books.com had the the original, the facsimile and the multiple signed Peeters edition available, but that was a long time ago. All sold out at record prices, but now i am lucky to have bought the best copy i have ever owned. The condition is MINT_ and it is now available at www.ftn-books.com.

Here are the images of the originalNul/Zero book now available  condition is MINT-

and these are my pictures from the multiple by Peeters published on the occasion of his Retrospektive:

 

For those interested in Peeters history read here the text the Gemeentemuseum published at the occasion of the Henk Peeters Retrospective:

10 September 2011 till 12 February 2012

HENK PEETERS

‘The world is going to change radically.’ Henk Peeters (b. The Hague, 1925) said so more than once. The statement was an expression of his deep desire for a Communist society. It was not to be, but Peeters remained an idealist. Together with Armando and Jan Schoonhoven, he founded the Nul group – the Dutch arm of the international ZERO movement (including artists like Piero Manzoni en Lucio Fontana), with which he maintained close contacts. Their art was all about eliminating the artist’s personal style and elevating everyday life to art through the use of ordinary materials. Peeters used cotton wool, feather and hair in his artworks and even ‘drew’ and ‘painted’ with smoke and fire. This autumn, the Gemeentemuseum’s Willem Cordia Room welcomes the first ever one-man show of Henk Peeters’ work from the 1960s. A major installation involving bags of water will be recreated especially for the occasion. It was originally on show at the successful international ZERO-0-NUL exhibition held at the Gemeentemuseum in 1964.

Peeters was a spider in the web of the international ZERO movement of the 1960s and it was thanks to his efforts that the big Zero/Nul exhibition was held in the Netherlands (partly at the Gemeentemuseum in the The Hague, the city where the Nul group enjoyed its heyday). He disseminated and published Nul and ZERO manifestos and even today is an important source of information for researchers and writers concerned with the history of ZERO and Nul.

Peeters elevates everyday life to art; he believes in the synthesis between the two and wants to make art accessible to everyone. This was also the ideal of the Nul movement; Armando used ordinary gloss paint and Schoonhoven cheap extra-thick wall paint as part of the effort to undermine the elevated status of the artwork. Peeters also used materials that needed no personal handling; he used cotton wool, feathers, hair, smoke and fire to create works that may not exhibit the personality of the artist in the handling of their materials, but are nevertheless capable of conveying great sensitivity through their texture and relief.

A deep-rooted democratic principle underlies Peeters’ art, choice of materials and personal philosophy. The socialist ideals inculcated in him during his childhood are a major motivation for all his activities – of which there have been many. In addition to being an artist, Peeters has also been at various times a museum education officer, an art school teacher, a typographer, a creative arts therapist, a curator, an organizer, an activist, a television-maker and an advisor to public institutions.

The exhibition is realized in close cooperation with the ZERO foundation, Düsseldorf.

To mark the occasion of the forthcoming exhibition, the catalogue of the Haags Gemeentemuseum’s 1964 exhibition Zero (Mack/Piene/Uecker) – Nul (Schoonhoven/Armando/Henk Peeters) is to be republished as multiple.

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Gerhard von Graevenitz (1934-1983). on show at Haus Konstruktiv

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The artist that walked the line between ZERO art and Kinetic art. Born in Belgium and died in Switzerland van Graevenitz lived for a long period of his life in Amsterdam /The Netherlands ( from 1970) and because of a plane accident his life ended far too early. I write this blog because on our way back from Italy , i decided to make a small detour to Zurich, because i always wanted to visit HAUS KONSTRUCTIV. Not for their special exhibitions, but because i had discovered they had a wonderful collection. The visit was a slight disappointment because no works from their collection were on show instead they had 2 solo exhibitions of which one was on Gerhard von Graevenitz. Only about 50 works were on show, but because of their mouvement it took a while before i had seen all of them. It was well worth the visit and if you are near Zurich make the detour yourself to discover von Graevenitz. He deserves to be known by all admirers of Modern art. Unfortunately it was not allowed to photograph the works but i found a nice Haus Konstruktiv contribution on You Tube in which the show on Von Graevenitz is discussed and shown.

the von Graevenitz exhibition is on show until the 6th of May and www.ftn-books.com has some nice pubications available on him.

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a Reminder…FTN books holds two great ZERO multiples. Castellani & La Pietra

1 year ago i acquired for my inventory two spectacular multiples. These are not cheap, but since last auctions results of both these artists i am even more convinced that these are not overpriced and will be a great addition to any book collection. These two multiples were published in the seventies by Edizioni Flaviana within their series of Zero artist. Here are the links two both blogs i published on these rare multiples.

https://ftn-blog.com/2017/08/06/enrico-castellani-1930-edizioni-flaviana-serie-minimultipli/

https://ftn-blog.com/2017/08/07/ugo-la-pietra-1938-edizioni-flavianaserie-minimultipli/

and do not forget to look them up at www.ftn-books.com

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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)

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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.

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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. www.ftn-books.com holds some excellent Kusama titles in its inventory.

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Armando (1929) . …and the Armando Museum/ MOA museum

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At one time in the last decade there was a true Armando Museum in AMERSFOORT, but since a fire destroyed the museum in 2007 the largest part of the Armando collection had to be relocated and found a place in the MOA museum / Museum Oud Amelisweerd.

http://www.moa.nl/nl/Collections/Armando

and of course this great short documentary in the series HOLLANDSE MEESTERS which is an excellent portrait of thsi dutch master.

This site contains over 2100 works by Armando , which makes it the most important public place on the internet to view the works by Armando (Herman Dirk van Dodeweerd). You can spent some great time over there, but what it lacks is the story and the essential timeline on the works by Armando. No problem , because www.ftn-books.com has some great titles on Armando available at www.ftn-books.com to read and see whyArmando is such a great artist.

 

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Jaap van de Ende (1944)…an abstract constructivist

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Personally i think that Jaap van den Ende is the only true successor of Jan Schoonhoven. Specially his early works have the similar qualities as the ones Schoonhoven made in the sixties and early seventies. The Stedelijk Museum has some excellent examples of these early works in which little cut out pieces of grey plastic foil are placed on a white surface according a well though over pattern. the System and pattern make the composition, but thus creating a fascinating , lively work of art.

A little like the way Struycken worked, but with a simplicity that resembles the great early Sol LeWitt works. I love this early works, Later he changed his style into more colorful compositions, but always along a line of well thought over abstract contructivist forms. Since 1997 his works become far more realistic. Seascapes, parks and landscapes are all painted with perfection . a fascinating artist which you can encounter in several dutch museum collections. There are some nice van den Ende publications available at www.ftn-books.com

 

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Henk Peeters a very special composition

Later this year i will devote another short blog to Henk Peeters. Peeters has become world famous for his contributions to the art world as a ZERO / NUL artist. Since yesterday i added a small composition by Henk Peeters to my inventory. A s good as his best Informal and Zero paintings, but on a very small scale this is a great little piece of art and now available at www.ftn-books.com

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