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blank spaces


Thursday, December 6, 2018

At first, I wanted to find something by using the catalogue, but It wasn’t very long until I realized that it wasn’t relevant knowing that the tags were only subjective,

How could it work without generating something too literal?

At least, this process of research wasn’t the right one with the tags that I chose.

For this book, it took me less than one hour to pick it, as each time I wasn’t able to select a piece without already having a specific idea of what I wanted in my mind.

But still, I felt frustrated

Frustrated by the impossibility, or more precisely the struggle of being opened,

Being able to see, to take the time to observe the books that were surrounding me.

There were so many information and possibilities around that I wasn’t able to decide or to think about what I wanted or at least to consider those things.

I think that, in a way, that book happened to me because of this frustration.

I see this choice as the translation of my state of mind at this precise moment.

Fortunately, this book might have been what I was searching for, I just saw this thin white line between all those imposing and colorful editions.

I needed something simple, purified, that’s precisely, in my view, what I found.

 

All those blank spaces, accentuated by those vibrant black lines

Those micro architectures, in the form of sketches.

I was struck by a drawing when I opened this book, it is a drawing of the sun.

That reminds me of le Corbusier’s sketches concerning the housing units of Marseille and the principle of the sunshade.

I like this simplicity and this clarity

I also see those lines which I like a lot, thin, imperfect, instinctive.

Printed matter matters?


Wednesday, October 31, 2018

In the basement of the Stedelijk Museum my eyes were immediately drawn to all the printed matters showcased. Maybe it was all the colours, their placement or the fact that any day I would prefer a great book over a beautiful chair.

One that stood out was the brochure for the 14th Bauhausbücher made by László Moholy-Nagy in 1929.

BB

The Bauhausbücher is a series of books published from 1925 to 1930. László Moholy-Nagy and Walter Gropius were responsible for the publications whose main focus was the challenges and accomplishments of the Bauhaus movement. Many great German and international artists contributed to the books.

BBooks

I could choose to focus my research on the Bauhaus movement.
Bauhaus was a part of changing the traditional academic way of perceiving and teaching art. Bauhaus focused on creativity instead of talent, command over skill, visual perception and imagination.

As mentioned before, the aim of the Bauhausbücher was to express the challenges and accomplishments of the movement. Today it serves as kind of a testimony for the Bauhaus.

I asked myself if it is a common thing for movements, such as the Bauhaus, to publish things about themselves?
In Berlin I went to Haus der Kulturen der Welt to see the exhibition “The Most Dangerous Game”.

TMDG

“The most dangerous game” is an exhibition focusing on the movement Situationist International.
The exhibition showcased, among other things, a collection of books, documents and manifestos.

To quote a text from the exhibition:

“… the main aim was to bring together the key founding texts and manifestos of all organisations whose members had later joined the Situationists. This includes very many, indeed almost all, of the artistic groups that saw themselves as revolutionary in the first half of the 20th century…”.

So the answer to my question, whether or not it is a common thing for movements, such as Bauhaus, to publish things about themselves, the answer must be a clear and loud yes!

One of the publications showcased at HKW was an art based magazine called “Helhesten”. The main focus in the magazine was the spontaneous abstract art of the time. “Helhesten” was published nine times from 1941 to 1944 and most of the contributions in the magazine was made by the danish artist group also called “Helhesten”.

In Berlin I also went to an archive, a fanzine archive. A fanzine is a publication produced by people who are interested in a particular cultural thing such as a musical genre, literature or a movement. The fanzine is mainly produced for people who share the same interest as the author/publisher.

Are you able to compare the Bauhausbücher, and other publications buy similar movements, such as Helhesten and Høst, to the fanzine? I think you are.

I was reading a fanzine about the punk culture in the 90’s, it was very informative and gave very detailed insight. In the fanzine there were articles by people from the community, recommendations (music, books, movies) and also some artwork. So somehow the aim of the fanzine also is to inform about the accomplishments and challenges the movement faces.

Fpunk

The fanzines are becoming very popular again and some people even make online fanzines – back in the days it was only printed matter.

Back in 1925, when the first book in the series of Bauhausbücher was published, the world wide web didn’t exist yet, which might have been the reason Moholy-Nagy and Gropius chose to publish books, they simply didn’t have the choice to ‘go online’.

If you publish a book these days it is a conscious choice you make.
You have so many different options if you want your information to get out to the world. For an example you can make it into an e-book, a blogpost or make a whole website dedicated to the matter.

But what about the printed matter? Does it matter?

The internet is great for some quick research, it is easy accessible and you can find information on almost everything. The internet is always changing – content are being added and taken down, so can you really depend on it to be there when you need it? You can learn many things, but how do you know if its true? Take this blogpost for an example: what do you even know about the writer and their reasons for posting this content?

A lot of content on the internet only needs one single person behind it and you might not even know their real name.

I can’t speak for everyone, only myself, when I say I would prefer to read something printed.

There is something about buying a book or any other printed matter, you know that someone put a lot of effort into the whole process and that makes me appreciate it more.

The printed matter will always remain the same – the internet can change.

The printed matter matters.

A Research about research


Friday, October 26, 2018

Taking the Work “Relief Rug” from Dutch Artist Kitty van der Mijll Dekker, made in 1934 as a leading example, the following text will try to surround and highlight analogies as well as differences in researching online or in printed matter.
The following articles give additional information about the Artwork itself, the Artist as well as the Bauhaus.
Designblog Rietveld Academie

Stedelijk Amsterdam, Relief Rug by Kitty van der Mijll Dekker

History of Bauhaus in Dessau

 


1st Inscription; "Relief Rug" by Kitty van der Mijll Dekker

 


2nd Inscription; "Bauhaus" Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam

 

Starting with the inscription next to the piece as the first information the audience can get (which definitely is printed information as well), the text doesn’t say anything but the basic information we expect from such source. Juxtaposed with other objects, artworks and artifacts from the same period and art-movement, another inscription announces some facts about the Bauhaus, the educational institute van der Mijll Dekker attended. Therefore the very first appearance of printed information just adds little more as what a viewer could be expected to have as background knowledge.

Printed documentation from and about Bauhaus highlight the emphasis Walter Gropius, founder of the Bauhaus, put on the concern of equality between women and men inside the institution. The Bauhaus was one of the few institutions, where not only men but also women were allowed to attend. What seams ahead of time, quickly turned out as not very long lasting and supportive to the persons concerned. Here, the most significant gaps from printed matter to online material can be pointed out. While printed matter talks about a topic and somehow provides information, online publications and writings mostly start with questioning facts which are already researched and published. Some of them come with an outspoken opinion as well as a contemporary context and  as a reaction to other publications.

The disconnection from general information about the Bauhaus to the issue that female artists and their part of the Bauhaus legacy are barely mentioned in publications, that can be traced back to the difference of “providing information” with printed matter and “reacting on information” in online publication.

Frieze; Women in Bauhaus

Emma; Women in Bauhaus

Artsy; Women in Bauhaus

If assumed, a book or documentary publication is preserving information about its content, and not too much voicing an opinion, unless it is a critique, the reader gets broader information which needs to be classified afterwards by the reader itself. Going through the listened publications underneath, the attempt to sum up or conclude seams to be more present than putting forward a subjective perception or even including a critical position.

 


“The Worlds Greatest Art – Bauhaus“ by Andrew Kennedy, 2006 • “Das Bauhaus“ by Hans M. Wingler, 1962

 


“Bauhaus“ by Magdalena Droste, 1990 • “Human – Space – Machine. Stage Experiments at the Bauhaus“ Eds.: Torsten Blume, Christian Hiller, Bauhaus Dessau Foundation, 2014

 

Simply spoken, these books come with a quality of objectivity that allows the reader to bring further a general knowledge. It builds up kind of a base where more specific ideas or concerns start to unfold.

Research in literature may appear more challenging, since the linking to connected subjects is not provided and has to be done by the researcher. Google (or any kind of search engine) supports with its algorithm and referring proposals. Although this two faced matter, the advantage of high rated recommendations is considerable. It enables the user to quickly collect a lot of information from many different sources, processing the subject in different contexts. Whereas, as mentioned above, research based on printed matter asks the user itself to fulfill the role of Google’s algorithm. To later on distinguish the quality of information or confirming sources stays an important part of putting research forward to a conclusion. At the same time the internet’s bottomless quality leads to many dead-ends, what creates an alarming but ironical analogy with the lack of importance that was payed to refer female artists to the Bauhaus history.

Heading to a provisional end, the following experience works as an example of applied research.

“Looking for work about v.d. Mijll Dekker I first went to the library of the Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam. But I was not able to find any literature dealing with her or her work. But knowing that the artist was a part of the Bauhaus Dessau, I started looking through the English and German literature the library had to offer about the whole Bauhaus movement. Unfortunately, even looking through the register of them all, I wasn’t able to find anything about her specifically. So I tried finding out more about the women who were part of the Bauhaus. I started researching information about different influential women who were part of the movement. That turned out as quite a challenge. After this I went to the library of the Stedelijk museum in Amsterdam. But also there I could only find few new information on Mijll Dekker and her work.“ progress report, field researcher L.P., Amsterdam October 2018

 

Text by Luca Putz & Jonas Morgenthaler, GRA 2018

HERMANN EBBINGHAUS’ COLOUR SYSTEM


Friday, March 23, 2018


Hermann Ebbinghaus (1850-1909) was a German psychologist who pioneered the experimental psychology of memory. He is mostly known for his discovery of the forgetting curve (describes how the ability of the brain to retain information decreases in time), the learning curve (graphical representation of the rate at which you make progress learning new information) and the spacing effect (phenomenon whereby information is learned and retained more easily and effectively when its studying is spread out over time).

 

However, Hermann Ebbinghaus has also been known thanks to its colour system. Indeed, the concept of the double pyramid gained in popularity thanks to the latter.


 

In 1902, he proposed a new version of Hofler’s double pyramid. Ebbinghaus constructed a colour system rest on this system of double pyramid but made few modifications: he put rounded corners and an inclined central plane.


He rounds off the corners of the solid as he considered the transition between colours as fluid and not sharply defined. The Hering-type fundamental opponent colours are located at the six corners (black, green, red, blue, yellow, white).
The resulting chromatic body, from the four primary colours, links Leonardo da Vinci’s idea that colours vary in brightness and can thus be differentiated. The idea was to separate and so distinguish those four colours due to the variation of brightness.
The base-square of the double solid is tilted in such a way that the best yellow hues, which are relatively bright, are nearer to white, and the best blue tones, which are relatively dark, are nearer to black. His system does not predict the mixtures of colours and the complementary pairs are not arranged opposite one another.


In 1893, Ebbinghaus published a «Theory of Colour Vision» in the Zeitschrift für Psychology (Journal of Psychology), in which he mentioned that humans perceive colours through higher mental processes. As a psychologist, he knew about the perception of the four elementary colour (yellow, red, green, blue) and thanks to physiologists knew there were only three photo-sensitive substances in the eye’s retina (rods, cones, photosensitive retinal ganglion cells) thanks to which the phenomenon of coloured vision and its anomalies could be explained.


 

In addition, Ebbinghaus has discovered that two white hues produced by spinning either red and green or blue and yellow, appeared to be the same at certain levels of brightness, but appeared different when the illumination was reduced or the speed was reduced.

Design and Pattern


Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Pattern, cell of design

Blog_MarcelWanders_Knotted

Living creatures have evolved as a result of adaptation to daily environment surrounding them. Creators are often inspired by those forms of nature, which is not only aesthetic but also functionally appropriate. So some design objects get to resemble living things. Looking into them deep, we can perhaps find that they both have a powerful element which does not appear on the outside at first glance but still has its influence on the overall appearances.

It is the cell that constitutes the whole body, which also can be called the pattern in design. The knotted chair of Marcel Wanders, made in 1995, shows good example of 3D pattern design. One unit that makes up the chair could have been no more than a twisted line, but it acquired more durability when several units are gathered and patterned under the certain and repetitive rule. (Of course, there was a process of hardening with thermosetting resin.)

It is also noteworthy that a cord, which is not very expected material for furniture, was used to make a chair which can withstand loads over 100 kg. Could this be possible if there wasn’t composed unit with consistent rule? Apart from this, how Teo Jansen could achieve to make kinetic sculpture that shows flexible movement with hard wood? I think a patterned design allow creator to be able to explore the materials and thereby can have its own texture. I would like to mention ‘knotted chair’ as one of the designs that can provide us with vision and tactile sense simultaneously on the basis of its pattern.

To continue with the research on connection between ‘design’ and ‘pattern’, I come to ask first,

“What is pattern?”

Then, look up the dictionary definition of the word-
Pattern is a particular way in which something is done, is organized, or happens; is any regularly repeated arrangement, especially a design made from repeated lines, shapes, or colors on a surface;

The word ‘pattern’ can be regarded as the particular way something is generated or as the regular arrangement that include continuous rules inside. What I can find from those selected meaning of the word is that; whatever we call as pattern has to have regular and repetitive factors, which makes it predictable, organized, and look stable.

So, what does pattern mean to art and design?

It could be one of the foundations that construct the way we see the image as well as deliver it. To explain this, let’s look at a few principles of design. The formative elements such as dot, line, surface, shape, matter can be said to be materials that is used to create image or object. Here, the ways we arranged those material- principles of design- are involving. Some of them are unity, repetition, harmony, rhythm, symmetry, balance, proportion and so on. Each of them, at some point, is related to allowing materials to look similar and coherent. We intentionally or intuitively use those principles for organizing a clear image to deliver our message efficiently. At the same time, our eyes receive those similarity, without even noticing it, and store it as groups in our mind. Therefore, we can realize that discovering the coherent image and patterning it is the basic method how we perceive visual information.

Pattern on 3-dimension

My research have had more focused on pattern in 3D design object than any other kinds of art pattern. It is not only because that the starting point was the knotted chair by Marcel Wanders, but also dealing the pattern in terms of its relation with object’s shape and texture are worth to watch. With the development of technology, more than any other times before, designer can now easily explore the new materials and create their very own way to use it.

Marcel Wander’s various way of using pattern are illustrated well with Knotted chair, Crochet chair, Flower chair, Cybrog chair and Cinderella broke A Leg bed.

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Modern-Black-Bed-480x410Black-Beds

Earlier, Alessandro Mendini used his fabric pattern on the baroque style chair, Magis Proust. By seeing the pattern as ornament, he was marked as the one of those leading the postmodernism. In this case, ‘pattern’ became the mean to deliver the designer’s concept.

Cappellini-Proust-Geometrica-Armchair

Then, Zaha Hadid presented her colorful patterned furniture, Tide, at 2011 Milan Design Week. This work obviously shows the great promise of using pattern in design. The symmetric shelving module that one can create different compositions through rotations on itself allows individuals to build and rebuild the module to fit the space around them.

tide02

Last but not least, I would like to refer that 3D pattern is also opening the door from craft to industrial design. 2D pattern design can be easily processed and completed on the screen while 3D pattern still needs to be experimented by hands at the first stage, especially if it is for the furniture or architecture that should ensure the stability. For example, the Knotted chair of Marcel Wanders is actually known as a result of handwork knot. Creator, as a human, they also make mistakes, sometimes do fail but later approach the point where they can create the most safety and aesthetic cells. This process is happening with hands. So I can see that link between handwork and industrial design is generated if the design happens under the conditions that need to be experimented and proved before it is systematized to be a mass production.

So far I looked through the definition of pattern and the how important it is on the art and design field, especially with the context of design objects. Also I found that how differently each designer handle the concept of pattern. Some of them would use it as their identity, other see it as a way to express their design philosophy, and another can develop it to interact with users.

At the beginning of the post, I made a connection between ‘cell’ and ‘pattern’. Just as the cell breath, nourish and endure the living body, pattern also function as indispensable part of whole (design object). It can be always developing and has endless possibilities, because there are still numerous ways to make a new rules and compositions out of it.

Protected: A commentary on the Lower Level Gallery display design for the STEDELIJK BASE


Monday, February 19, 2018

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It’s all about context


Thursday, February 15, 2018

 

Although being already more then few times now at the Stedeljk museum, it’s always pleasant be here,  environment, the architecture itself and the natural light that create a charming atmosphere all around.We moving towards the so called BASE 1 to see the new permanent installation of iconic works from the collection of the Stedelijk Museum. It occupies the entire new wing of the museum and features a selection of around 700 pieces grouped around historic movements, social themes, and influential artists.

After I’ve made aware about that what I am going to see is going to be like this for the next 10 years, I approached my visiting focusing my attention mostly on the division of the space and the solution founded to display the artworks.

 

rem-koolhaas-AMO-stedelijk-museum-amsterdam-base-exhibition-space-OMA-designboom-07 700-3

700-1 700-2

 

The space allow visitors to experience the collection through an open-ended route.The chronology can be followed on the perimeter, while freestanding walls in the middle create separate sectors highlighting groups of artworks that represent a specific theme or aspect of the collection.

I have this constantly feelings of jumping between a sort of labyrinth in which I can keep choosing different directions but as soon as I taken one, those vertical high walls create a dynamic and cozy environment, almost like little galleries inside a enormous place.

 

The layout display  the collection as a network of relations rather than a presentation of individual artworks. All the artworks do not loose their independence even tough, there are chairs and carpets hanging at the walls, and the displaying of some works are not as we are used to see.

 

I am  wondering about how they bring inside here this massive standing steel walls? And how they organized  works in different areas of the collection…

 

I’ll try figure all this out a little bit more

stay tuned…

700

Is there anything to rely on?


Thursday, November 30, 2017

 It is quite common to notice that we have been focusing on automatizing, and motorising any of our work related physical efforts. As for example, the number of workers in a factory has nothing to do with what it was 30 years ago, and also nothing to do with what it was 100 years ago, and it hasn’t increased for sure. As a paradoxical consequence (that can have also other different causes), it is also amusing to observe that in order to stay healthy, more and more people start to work out, going at the gym. The gym has even become a social environment, where people share their tips and advice, and help one another reaching his goal of physical performance.

 This is what Melle Smets points out in his project: the human power plant. The thing is that according to this “gym” trend, the energy that we produce with our physical efforts nowadays is completely wasted, as we only see it as muscle training; we don’t run on the treadmill to make cold water hot but to get a nice ass. It seems unnecessary to develop how a nice butt is useful to sustain life.  Anyway, all of these machines that are handling so much effort could actually stock the energy to use it afterwards. The human power plant project is a proposal of the use of human physical effort to create the energy that we require in our daily life. In their first case study, they planned a conversion of one building of the Utrecht University into a 100% human-powered student house. On the other hand, in its concrete realisation, the project is still quite utopic or futuristic, as the prototypes are for the moment only to charge a phone or a laptop, and the latest to heat a Jacuzzi…

Designblog

 Going back to human attitude towards effort optimisation, we can also to a certain point qualify this quest for automatizing and motorising any work related effort, as the natural egocentric human condition of wanting to do what we want, and not being a machine, or not being a clone. It can also be directly linked with artistic activity, in a way that it commonly comes from us wanting to get something out of what we think is our singular identity or thoughts. Or the link could also be that art is commonly/traditionally seen as completely useless, when artists are the most passionate about their job. Wouldn’t it mean that we just want to make ourselves useless? We could argue in this way to conclude that we obviously live to die. But then, why not act as a mere gear in this gigantic mechanic world? We can observe to confirm what was said before a relentless research to motorise the perpetual motion we live in, with very contrasted fields of research like Leonardo da Vinci, Nikola Tesla, or more recently Theo Jansen. Of course, their views on this topic are all very different, and even how they consider or see this topic varies. For example, Theo Jansen’s approach absolutely didn’t think of the “perpetual motion motor” side of his creation, he just wanted to create life. And even if the approach has to be understood sometimes in a metaphorical way so it doesn’t become contradictory, these enormous solitary creatures wandering on the beach are tightly close to have the possibility of being independent and to continue living eating wind to make their hundred legs move. So here we see that the difference is about what could be qualified as the artistic approach, that the function of the energy is not necessarily to use for us humans but just to contemplate. In a way, the only energy a perpetual motion motor/generator distributes is to itself, and we can only watch the wheel turn.

 Switching back to Melle Smets, the goal here is not to make a wheel turn on its own. The social and cultural context is privileged, and the aim is to make people self-sufficient in what they require concerning energy; we are the perpetual motion machines. It’s interesting to see, that most of the creators, to find a solution to how to produce energy, will try to find or invent something that is not there or that is not known. And they often argue that the world is your oyster, there are so many things outside that we can take advantage from. What is interesting and funny is to see that after thousands of years of trying to widen the distance between our own self and energy production, there is an actual proposal of an alternative where it is ourselves that we can the most directly take advantage from.

The concept is not even this innovative, in a way that we have always been producing energy with our efforts. Actually we don’t even have a choice not to and it is all we will be doing our whole life. Following this alternative perspective’s idea is tending to not only make us self-sufficient but also self-reliable and as a consequence disciplined. Just like a child to who we don’t learn to become autonomous by providing anything that he would need or want to not think about how he could do it himself. We can notice that nowadays, energy like electricity is so much a part of our daily life norm that having lamps in any room of a house is completely natural whereas a house without any would be linked to a spooky fictional movie. We don’t show to the children what electricity is and can do, we just tell them to not put their fingers in the plug. The point is that what we have to do to start, is to make ourselves reconnect to what we essentially do need in our life. Where does it come from, and how can we get it, (energy wise of course, I wasn’t talking about love).

designblog2

Social Design and Relational Art


Thursday, November 30, 2017

 

“L’art est un état de rencontre” “Art is a meeting state” – Nicolas Bourriaud

When visiting the exhibition « Change the system » in the Booijmans, I wondered how art and design were differently defined when they both answer the one and only same question. At the very end of the show, I discovered the work of Manon van Hoeckel called ‘the laundry’. Manon is a designer, a social and critical one; she « designs context ». That was the very first time that I saw this term used , regarding a design work that had as a result a social cohabitation and that was human-centered in this way. Wasn’t it an art experience, such as Tino Seghal’s work or Marina Abramovitch’s one? How do design and art meet in social/relational situations to create a better understanding of our modern and future world?

 

images4.persgroep

 

In the last decades, through many art movements that raised, two specific ones in art and design have emerged. In art, the relational aesthetic defined by Nicolas Bourriaud as “a set of artistic practices which take as their theoretical and practical point of departure the whole of human relations and their social context, rather than an independent and private space. » In design, a social thinking approach has emerged in the same way, materializing into performances, contexts, tests, always in the finality to contribute to improve human well-being and livelihood. Although these two subjects do not have quite the same purposes, they coincide around the same problems and use the same tools with the purpose of better understanding/changing our world and human behavior.
In current art practices, it is not unusual to visit literally empty exhibitions which display works that turn away from the visual and the visible. Facing these constituent sensibilities, it is sometimes difficult to distinguish the invisible artwork from its exhibition. But let’s say it’s acceptable, because it is art. But what if this happens with design? What’s the result of it? Nothing specific, just an experience. How is it created? What happens? Let’s first have a look at Manon’s work.
As a social designer, Manon creates event, spaces for people to discuss, she creates interaction between humans. In her project for The Boijman’s Museum , Manon actually creates a space where people can come for other reasons than visiting a museum, and also a space to discuss the exhibition itself. As an answer to « change the system », she proposes discussion. But how is her work different from Tino Seghal’s, how is it different from relation aesthetic? Tino Seghal also bases his work on people’s experience of meeting and sharing, the interaction being the piece of art itself, working against the production of an object. Regarding what is relational art, let’s give an other relevant example. Rirkrit Tiravanija is perhaps the most iconic artist of this movement. He moved all the contents of an art gallery storeroom and office into the exhibition space and staged his work in the back rooms; the art consisted of cooking Thai cuisine for his audience. The viewers became active par­ticipants, first locating the backrooms, then consuming the food and engaging in con­versations with the artist and one another, instead of quietly looking at objects in an exhibition space.
So, what’s different from Manon Van Hoecken’s work ? We can nowadays suppose that there exists a correlation between what art and design produce in the way that now they are both no longer results driven, and either of them do not have a specific function/utility (to a certain extent). Regarding both disciplines, the term ‘relational’ offers a more complex understanding than the simple oppositional binary of both art and design – as either socially active or not.
How come design and art became so abstract, looking similar and tending to focus on the human matter so much?
If we had to make distinctions, we might say that regarding social design, as Manon Van Hoecken produces, it is an experience of sociology that enables the designer and the users themselves to better understand how does interaction and human contact work nowadays. Designers then became « expert citizens » and it is more about designing WITH, but not for users. This could be called « Human centered Design », and is definitely very close to relational art.
Regarding relational aesthetic, it is more about taking as its subject the entirety of life as it is lived, or the dynamic social environment (rather than attempting mimetic representation of object removed from daily life, as would be the case in a Dutch Baroque still life). Also, it is important to emphasize that the main purpose of relational aesthetics is not simply to produce social relationships and interactions but also reflect upon society and critique it through the approach of disruption by creating non-produced exhibition and art. Also, participatory and relational art raise important questions about the meaning and purpose of art in society, about the role of the artist and the experience of the audience as participants.
If we look at it from a historical point of view, relational aesthetic are older than social design. Relational art, as we said before, is a term that was created by Nicolas Bourriaud in 1995 in his book « Relational Aesthetic », from his experiences of his artist colleagues in the 90’s. Social design and human centered design are younger, they appear a bit later in time and have become a real subject of interest nowadays. Is then art what inspired design to go into the more performative experience of customers? How does art influence design? This supposition brings us to an other problematic, but from what we’ve seen so far we can confirm two things:
If social design and relational art have the similarity of experience, design tends more to derive analysis and create problematics from it, otherwise art offers another way to experience and create, in contradiction to what is known and defined. Very similar in their forms, nowadays it can be seen how design and art can be closely related. Social design such as human centered design also gives a much more open minded idea of what design is and can be, far from any industrial or concrete problematics.

 

momo5_800

In a project I made myself where I created a fake statue with the words “If you ever wanted to talk to someone, do it here whitestranger@outlook.fr” and waited for people to react by sending me/or not mails.
This project can be seen either as an art piece, bringing strangers and public spectators to help create the work itself. A design, social experiment, about loneliness but also about uses of internet communication.
White Stranger (click here to see the project)

 

Identity and Copy Culture.


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

 

  ‘This art work is designed by one American artist’ ‘ She is one Chinese designer’ ‘This is one typical Dutch design work’ ‘German style‘… No wonder, nowadays, the introduction of the modern art works is commonly and normally to be started in this way : start with identity defining. It seems like identity is something necessary when we are going to know something new. Does it mean all cultural exists have to find one sense of belonging ? Does it mean the original influence from our mother culture background always take the leadership when our brains start to work?

Globalization is like the invisible hand which is moving the modern world to keep going forward, and the mixture of cultures seems like the direct result of  the international moving and communications. Being influenced is different from Copying, but how can we define what is ‘copying‘ and what is ‘being influenced’? Do we have to take the negative attitude when we look at ‘copy’?

Tons of questions may be thought about identity and copy as they have such a close connection with each other. Here, One young artist, He Jing ??? whose art work is ‘Tulip Pyramid, introduced her own thinking and reflections

The Tulip Pyramid by DDW scouts favourite Jing He at the 2016 Graduation Show

about copy cultures. When we talk about who is she,we may say ‘One Chinese  artist’, ‘ The graduate artist from Dutch art academy’ or ‘ He Jing’. Three kinds of introductions may bring three feelings to the public audience,’oh, she is Chinese which means her works must be influenced a lot from her mother cultural background.’ ‘ oh, she was educated by Dutch art education then she may think about art in dutch ways.’ ‘ oh, who is He Jing?’.  She noticed these kinds of questions about identities and then she developed a series of research based on the cultural identities questioning( you can find in her website He Jing). As she keeps discovering about her own art identity, she noticed that there is one phenomenon among China nowadays, which is the industrial copying. For those copied products, what is their identity? Seems like those copied things live in a parallel world where is in the gap of two original identities.

When we back to the copying culture, obviously it’s not a Chinese thing only, it’s a common humanity thing. There are so many examples of ancient cultural copying behaviors, which finally created some unique and wonderful works at the end. Delft blue; The Japanese cultural origins from Ancient China and so on. (The Culture of Copy).

As she develops and researched more and more about the copying culture between China and The Netherlands, He Jing finally created these two tulip pyramid which shows the combination of Chinese copy products and Dutch copy cultures. She implies her own education situation with this tulip pyramid-mixture of two original cultures and their copy culture gaps.

As a new freshman who came to a new culture for just one and a half year, what attitude should I always cary with me when I am facing two different cultures everyday? Apparently, the open mind should always be put first place but how can I take the sprit of other cultures without the directly copying?I think the answer is to get the way and the angles of another culture about how they look at the outside world instead of the shallow images or shapes.

Keep in mind about the originals and embrace new cultural influence as much as possible, get their sprits and melt cultures in heart then turn those into new art institutions.

Gorillas inside a box


Saturday, November 25, 2017

The first indication given to us about this assignment was to select a book based solely on its design. As soon as this information was delivered the first thing that popped into my mind was to find one that would present the most extravagant, out of the box features, so that whatever the next steps to follow would be, the subject matter could not be accused of being boring.

Ironically enough, I chose a book that is inside a box. Which actually was the main reason it outshone its shelf mates, that suddenly looked very serious with their glue bind cover.

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Puzzle box by Ines Lechleitner is an artist book released in 2009. I was momentarily skeptical at the functionality of its green gapped cardboard cover —not that it mattered to my eyes, since the pick was based on unconventionality—, or to put it in a way that fits better the central reasoning that led to my choice, maybe the fact that it would present an additional layer to access its content, or remind the feeling of opening a present, would make it more interesting. Soon, the content justified the packaging: it is composed by two books one being the artist’s work where you can find pictures of a group of gorillas in a German zoo and drawings that explain the movements made by the camera. The second one being a response of different authors to the work carried out. Then, two videos were also included — found as a CD in the book— that focus on the gorillas entering and leaving the frame, and finally, a map of the relations between the gorillas’ habitat, the photographs and videos. The box now seemed like a handy support to carry the CD and the map.

You can find the true reasoning behind the design in the author’s website: «Puzzle Box is modeled after ‘Beschäftigungskästen’, which were designed specifically for apes as an interactive occupation and recreation tool. The apes are expected to learn how to manipulate grains inside the box by pushing them from one level to the next in order to gain access to the food.»

This box was inside the gorilla’s location and is recurrently found throughout the images of the book

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As I mentioned earlier the book contains a response of different authors to the work. It was captured as a conversation between the artist and the authors. When I finished reading it, I imagined myself participating in that conversation. To get more insight on what the artist had experienced over the period of 5 years in which she developed this project I decided to go to the Amsterdam zoo to elaborate my response.

I quickly began to make associations. The humans standing there encircling the gorillas’ cage while expressing their reactions could be similar to the way the gorillas manipulate the Beschäftigungskästen, both actions are driven by the effect, even if in the first case it might be entertainment and in the latter obtaining some food. It is interesting to consider the sizes of those involved in this equation and the movement of this idea which goes inwards in distance.  Us humans look at the cage and touch the glass with our fingers while inside, the gorillas look at the box touching it to get some food. And even taking it further, while manipulating the box the gorillas fell into it, furthering the confinement, satisfying the humans need for entertainment and consumerism now possible through the Puzzle Box in which they lie. Definitely, I noticed how much my perception of the zoo as a place had shifted since I was a child.

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There are five polar notions that get emphasized in the book

we/them

open/closed

active/passive

space/movement

In the frame (onscreen)/ out of the frame (offscreen)

The pictures in black and white somehow make stronger the sensation of two different entities separated by distance. The framing delimits the space in a way that makes you wonder what is around, almost as if each picture wasn’t complete or was a piece of a puzzle. It also happens with the video where you would need a 360º panorama to understand the full set. The pace in which the gorillas are depicted is calm, almost uninterested.

In the zoo, once I spent enough time with the gorillas and my brain ended up getting used to the extreme, overwhelming aroma, I was able to truly concentrate on their movements, realizing how much more aware I was becoming of my own. I felt there was a strong relation between this feeling and the fact that the whole work of the artist (the map, the video, the pictures and the drawings) was to know very precisely, almost memorizing, each step and movement of the gorillas knowing what movement it was, which place were they occupying in space, when they did it, all of it systematically. This is also linked to the book’s design that appears to be calculated, calm and neat, using the same typewriter font throughout the book, and clean ‘one-line’ drawings.

Remembering that humans possess in a 98% the same DNA than gorillas I suddenly felt funny imagining my movements being dissected in a book.

 

Puzzle Book, designer: Ines Lechleitner, Rietveld Library Cat. no: lec 1

Reference work of the subconscious


Saturday, November 25, 2017

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Parallel Encyclopedia #2: welcome in Batia Suter’s head and my interpretation of what that might be. She searched, she found and she took, and now she is giving it back. The book turned into an object that spikes my curiosity, and not only because of her collection of curiosities.
The green cover spoke to me. I picked it up and it spoke even louder. I decided to dig further and at one point it made me want to dress in rubber boots, a jacket with too many pockets and a bucket hat and go off to explore the world. And bring a camera.

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After Parallel Encyclopedia – an almost black-and-white compilation of her personal archive of seemingly random pictures – Batia Suter made a second volume. An artist’s book poured into an encyclopedia-shaped cast. Where Parallel Encyclopedia number 1 contained strictly black and white imagery, number two also allows specks of colours to seep through the pages.

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One might wonder, in a book like this: what did the designer do? It’s Batia Suter’s collection, and her intuition that ordered the pictures. Where did the designer – Roger Willems – drop in? Where did the designer left his mark. Did he had a say and what did he say? Where and if to use colour in this otherwise black and white universe? To use Biotop paper in 90 grams, to give it all a functional feel? To add two red bookmark ribbons?

On might wonder – hidden inside this volume is a parallel world of a parallel world of a parallel world.
One might wander – an encyclopedia of no practical information but visual information, a dreamy answer to an 2000-year old tradition of encyclopedia-making. Another possible answer to this tradition is Wikipedia. Wikipedia suffocates most encyclopedia, but not this one, not Parallel Encyclopedia. This one tells us what Wikipedia can never tell and thank God doesn’t and probably doesn’t even want to. This one is a reference work of the subconscious. Batia Suter’s thematic categories are her own: giving us the suggestion of a story, or not at all – we all make up our stories anyway. She leads us into a great grey and black and white world, different worlds within different worlds, from curiosity to curiosity, from dreams to wonder. She let’s us jump from trees to mountains to griendhout to wolzakverwering and the wall of Hadrianus; Britannia. From fields to Kirchner to winter to bacteria and giving us a neat visual experience whilst doing it.

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Flip.

Page 105.

Workman sprays carbolic powder on a 35-yd long rubbish pile during strike of garbage collectors in London in September 1969. A picture of stacked boats, a woman shopping on the Amsterdam flowermarket. No clue how this works together, but somehow, it works.

Flip.

Page 177.

Verschillende dwarsdoorsnedes van kringsporig hout (es), verspreidporig hout (esdoorn), halfkringsporig hout (kers), mergstralen (eik), mergstralen (tulpenboom), and so on.

Flip.

Page 236.

The moon.

Page 237.

Several spherical objects, mirroring the moon.

Flip.

Page 440.

The entire page is filled with a picture of flowers that remind me of orchids, but apparently are called Odontonia.

Page 441.

The entire page is filled with a picture of geisha girls of the early 1900s. Their kimonos and the plants in the pictures depict flowers that mirror the Odontonia.

Flip.

Page 438.

Several pictures of butterflies, and hands being spread open, resembling butterfly wings.

It’s design is imbedded in it’s content, made to serve this visual feast. Made to serve the hidden narrative. Or the none-existent narrative. It’s not organised in a seemingly logical way, but for Batia Suter, it probably is. She is pretty convincing.

One might wonder – the strays and wanderers, all nicely wrapped in shiny green.

What’s the hand of the artist and what’s the hand of the designer?
They probably used both.
 

Parallel Encyclopedia 2, designer: Batia Suter / Roger Willems, Rietveld Library Cat.no: sute 5

Mondrian, Rietveld, Theosophy.. wait, what???


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Have you ever heard about theosophy?

We didn’t either, but check out this article because then you’ll know how it influenced Mondrian and Rietveld’s work.

 

Theosophy– what does this even mean?

 

theosophy

 

It is a unity of Religion, Science, and Philosophy that combines a variety of belief systems in its search for an underlying universal harmony. Basically, it is everything, therefore you have to be very focused to understand what specific ideas it defends and how is this shown or practiced in art and life in general.
It is also a doctrine of religious philosophy and mysticism (so it isn’t a religion itself), but holds that all religions contain elements of truth.
Theosophical writers hold that there is a deeper spiritual reality and that direct contact with that reality can be established through intuition,  meditation, revelation, or some other state transcending normal human consciousness.
Theosophy has influenced many artists among whom were Wassily Kandinsky, Piet Mondrian, Gauguin, Malevich, Gerrit Rietveld (and some others from De Stijl movement) and Pollock too. This beliefs played a crucial role in the work of this artists, whose works were seemed to search for the understanding of spirituality.
All in all, theosophy seeks to integrate perception and thought, the natural world and the spiritual work, science and religion.

 

How did theosophy influence De Stijl

 

De Stijl magazine was publishing the group’s design work combined with theoretical writings which also contained mysticism. Members were deeply influenced by theosophy which was also an important part of Bauhaus. You can see that in the way they rejected any form of naturalism in favour of a formal abstraction that connected the movement with Russian Constructivism.

De Stijl group wanted to create a new kind of art, architecture and design in order to raise a disillusioned humanity from the horrors caused by World War 1 and as many artists throughout Europe, they attempted to liberate the arts from tradition. They wanted to change art from individual to ultimate, universal. Their vision was based on deconstructivism – reducing the universe to fundamental elements and forms – the vertical and horizontal lines became the symbols of universal harmony, to which were added primary colours red, blue and yellow along with black, white and gray (considered non-colours). Even if you don’t understand the deeper meaning of theosophy, these are the things you can recognize in artworks of De Stijl movement.
Anyways, members were aiming towards geometrical and technical art which would be an experience as a whole. They were trying to give art a spirit of forms and mystification.
What was important for them was purity in architecture, the absence of organic and personal forms. Like theosophists, members of De Stijl believed in the presence of deeper spiritual reality, whereas a direct contact is established through a state transcending normal human consciousness. They brought a sense of material, intellectual and spiritual unity to art, architecture and design.
 

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Theo van Doesburg’s work related to Neoplasticism – a work from Vilmos Huszar

Mondrian as a member of De Stijl

 

His path to Neoplasticism

 

Mondrian intensified gradually his expressive manner of painting and began to have a more and more intensive use of colours, that eventually lead him to the need to depict the visible aspects of reality.
From 1908, Mondrian began to work in search for a truly form of painting. The artist came to the conclusion that the pure, intense, inner colours (the primary colours) and a simple manifestation of the line (horizontal and vertical) could help reach an abstract form of art that would be suitable to the spirit of the new modern age.
In 1917, Mondrian and Theo van Doesburg founded the group De Stijl. Mondrian used this magazine as a vehicle for his ideas on art, and it was actually in the magazine where he defined his aims and the term Neoplasticism. Though Mondrian established his only visual manifestation/painting style: Neoplasticism, based on philosophical and moral considerations associated with theosophy, this name was also applied not only for his work, but also for the art that the De Stijl circle practised in the different areas.
The intention would be to use the form and line to reduce the visible reality to its essence. So, in Neoplasticism, all the abstraction is connected with the reality. The elements are displaced from their visible form, but reflected in an abstract dimension.
As Mondrian himself considered:

”As a pure representation of the human mind, art will express itself in an aesthetically purified, that is to say, abstract form. The new plastic idea cannot therefore, take the form of a natural or concrete representation – this new plastic idea will ignore the particulars of appearance, that is to say, natural form and colour. On the contrary it should find its expression in the abstraction of form and colour, that is to say, in the straight line and the clearly defined primary colour.”

Mondrian uses the basic elements of painting: line, form and colour in their purest, most fundamental state, creating compositions with different lines and planes, verticals and horizontals, neutral and primary colours in a universal visual language that everyone could understand intuitively.
Two years later, the architect- designer Gerrit Rietveld joined De Stijl, which had a significant impact on the Neo-plasticists’ ideas and production.
Influenced by theosophy’s ideas, Mondrian reduces all elements to straight lines that cross and form various sized squares and rectangles and restricts the palette to pure neutral primary colors and black, white and grey. This was his proposal to represent the universal order, rather than the physical meaningless world.

Mondriaan in Stijl 1         Mondriaan in de Stijl_950

Modrian’s texts on Neoplasticism

How is Neoplasticism connected with theosophy?

 

Piet Mondrian was raised in the protestant church and later on, in 1909, joined the Dutch Theosophical Society, which was one of the main spiritual movements in the Western society at the end of the 19th century. This Society was founded in the United States but quickly spread throughout Europe and had an immediate influence on art, particularly in the Netherlands. In fact this influence was so visible that forty Dutch artists participated in the exposition organized in 1904 in Amsterdam for the Theosophical Society’s International Convention.
From this time on, theosophy was to be a major influence in life and work of Mondrian.
In the journal De Stijl [x], Mondrian published some articles about the influence of Theosophy. In this articles, the artist analyzes the role of traditional art that he considers as a consequence of the lack of harmony inside of man (conflict between matter and spirit) and the imbalance between man and nature. For Mondrian, theosophy was the answer to this imbalance. Theosophy principles could, in his ideas, bring consciousness of the self, and as a result, bring the harmony in this relations.
For him, when the consciousness of individuality or, in other words, the concept of spirit emerges, two conflicts emerge with it. The first one would be the conflict between this individual spirit and his physical body. The second one, as a consequence of the first one, is a confrontation between man and nature, generating a ‘disharmony between man and his surrounding,’ or simply ‘the tragic in life’ as the artist considered.
In this way, we can consider that Neoplastic art arises from the same principal as traditional art does- from the perception of an imbalance inside of man. However, Neoplastic art tries to represent an absolute truth directly: the idea that if the artist represents it, is because he knows it, and not just some partial and accidental truth as traditional art seems to do it.
The aim of Neoplastic art is the representation of the absolute, almost like religion. By reaching this goal, he would be able to help the common man finding his inner balance. How? Modifying the external world to another one capable of bringing some inward balance: by transforming the surrounding environment, he would transform the man itself, and consequentially the society.

 

“Art –although and end in itself, like religion– is the means through which we can know the universal and contemplate it in plastic form.” (Mondrian, 1918)

 

Neoplastic art’s objective is to restore in man a balance with his environment, lost when man gains consciousness of his own individuality. Neoplastic art should be dissolved and fused into and with life.
For the artist himself, neoplastic art shouldn’t be limited to painting but rather extends to architecture and urbanism, and in this way make a real change in the environments. Mondrian considered that each artistic disciplines should perform a specific role, and together they should reflect the common harmony of the universe.
Therefore, for Mondrian, painting’s task would be to act as the guide for the rest of the other disciplines and eventually be dissolved, if the task is successful, into architecture, urbanism, life.
We can consider that theosophical beliefs are expressed in Mondrian’s neoplastic work, both, theoretically and concretely, in a constant demand for a true theosophical art.
Art is, in this way, a reflection of the absolute, “the Radiating Center” (as Theosophy calls it), which is the original force, creator of everything (idea that nature and spirit are manifestations of the same original whole: universal/cosmic order).
The artist, thereby, is the “translator” of a higher reality, and his works must repeat the representation of this “Radiating Center”.
Art should reproduce the conflict between opposing elements and the solution for that same conflict. The image of harmony cannot be static, but represented by multiple dialectics: two levels of elements, among which, simultaneous oppositions are produced (line/plane, vertical/horizontal, female/male, color/colorless…) The universal force/cosmic order/ the harmony, is so expressed in the duality between this contrasts.
While searching fot the harmony between opposites, Mondrian aims to help common man access his own inner harmony. By transforming the entire natural environment, the artist would establish the balance and reflect the image of the common origin of all creation: of the absolute. In this balanced environment, the common man can reach his inner equilibrium.

 

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 Composition A, Piet Mondrian (1920)

 

Gerrit Rietveld as another member of De Stijl

 

He was born in Utrecht in 1888. His father was a cabinet maker and when just a little child, Rietveld joined the family workshop. His apprenticeship was steeped in the traditions of the Arts and Crafts movement which can be seen in his early work (first attempts of furniture design).
In 1911 he opened his first shop in Utrecht and started studying architecture. As many others, he was influenced by Frank Lloyd Wright’s architecture. By 1919 he became a member of De Stijl and became friends with its members Huszar, Theo van Doesburg, Robert van t’Hoff and others.

 

What influenced Rietveld’s work?

 

Theosophy played a major role in Mondrian’s art, but since Rietveld was a member of De Stijl too (although he never actually met Mondrian), we can also see the influences of the proclaimed philosophical ideas in his work.
In De Stijl architecture and design, Cubism was again influential but so also were Frank Lloyd Wright’s Prairie House designs, with their asymmetric free-flow of interior and exterior spaces. Despite all that, Rietveld’s ideas were more down to earth and less philosophical that the ones of Mondrian and Doesburg. He didn’t speak frequently about his work. Therefore the interpretation of it is based on the more philosophical tenets of the other De Stijl artists (members were very different considering a way of thinking) and it sometimes seems as if the designer’s voice may have been overshadowed.
Rietveld’s painted Red/Blue chair became the archetype of the movement, it was also the first time that the De Stijl colours, usually used 2D, (on Mondrian and van Doesburg’s paintings) were applied to a three-dimensional object. It was the first major piece of furniture to accord with the movement’s principles – conceived as a spatial composition, conspicuously disregarding comfort, traditional construction techniques and concepts of decoration (built on a series of horizontal and vertical planes, provides a clear expression of the group’s ideas).

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Gerrit Rietveld: Red and blue chair

 

With the Schroder’s house Rietveld created a totally original vocabulary in building construction and in the treatment of interior living space. The complex, asymmetric cubic construction of horizontal and vertical planes and lines encloses and releases space in a three-dimensional equivalent of a Mondrian painting. Linear elements are red, blue, yellow or black; surfaces white or grey.

 

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Gerrit Rietveld: Schroder house

 

A major effect on Rietveld was also Frank Lloyd Wright’s work who was a functionalist and a part of an International style. The most influential details from his work were the flow he produced between interior and exterior and also the use of verticals and horizontals. You can also see that in Rietveld’s last work, Gerrit Rietveld Academie where glass surfaces are made in a way you can see through the building, therefore it merges with surrounding nature.

 

Fallingwater

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Frank Lloyd Wright: Fallingwater Frank Lloyd Wright: Robie house

 

While quickly recognized as a major contributor to the development of Modernist architecture, interior and furniture design, Rietveld’s later work was largely confined to furniture design. Most known examples are his tubular steel and wood Beugelstoel chair, wooden Zig-Zag chair and wooden Crate chair. Among his other design work was the Netherlands pavilion for the 1954 Venice Biennale and a sculpture pavilion in Arnhem, Holland, built in 1955.
His furniture was designed for a mass production to be available to a large audience, even though at the end is wasn’t mass produced nor standardized – no two versions had the same dimensions.
It’s funny how when you see buildings, you mostly don’t think about the theoretical background of their form. Until we started making this research, we were more focused on functionalist features of buildings and which movement or era they belong too, but now we find ourselves thinking: ” Do this shapes represent some philosophical ideas?”

 

To conclude …

 

It’s interesting how the abstraction of Mondrian and Rietveld’s work seems to be so far from theosophical ideas – when you see the chair or a painting you don’t make an instant connection.
Mondrian and Rietveld both seems to try to make art that could reach the majority of people –a painting that would have an universal meaning (Mondrian) and a furniture that would be available for masses (Rietveld) – Art for everyone, art that would make life better. In a way, one can consider it an utopian idea, since the majority of people does not really understand the theosophical thinking … So the question remains: How educated should someone be when experience their art? Or in other words, to what point do you have to be aware of the purpose of the work to have the full experience of it? [x]

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Now you know. Awesome, isn’t it?

a cooperative research by Neza Kokol and Carlota Bóia Teixeira Neto

Frederick Kiesler’s correalism in contemporary art


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Unknown to many, Austria-Hungarian Frederick Kiesler, was one of the 20th century most innovative and peculiar artists. After studying printmaking and painting in Vienna in his twenties his career surged when his controversial stage designs got acclaimed by the art world. In 1923 Kiesler was invited to join the dutch association de Stijl which made him the youngest member of the group. Three years later he and his wife emigrated to America where he amongst other things was chosen to design every aspects of Peggy Guggenheim’s Art of This Century Gallery in New York, 1942. He soon became an artist operating across the ”borders” of the art world, working with painting, architecture and sculpture, usually mixing them in the same project.

 

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During his years of practice Keisler developed his ideas into a philosophy, concerning his conviction that everything is connected and correlate to one and other. Kiesler called it ’correalism’ and defines it as ’the dynamics of continual interaction between people and their natural and technological environment’.  Correlations between objects, color, human experience, environment etc, he believed should be considered, since all these aspects and their relationship is part of a spiritual process which will lend meaning to life.

 

Original design fireside chair

 

As I understand the essence of Kiesler theory’s is to see the whole picture. When you make a sculpture, also consider where it will stand, in what environment. When you make a painting, imagine the whole room it will be hung in. When you design a house, think not only of the actual architectural features it will acquire but also color, furniture and other ornaments. The art should also be stimulated to connect with society, technology and human emotion.

 

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In the contemporary art scene I believe we now see traces of Kieslers ideas of art and design. Maybe not in their original form, but the essence of them; the fact that art should affect something inside of the viewer, in one way or another bring him or her closer to a more meaningful life. As I see it, contemporary installations which indulge the viewer to become a participant instead, have a tendency to bring that experience.

An excellent example of such an experience is provided by Tomas Saranceno’s immense wire-installation, In Orbit, at the top floor of the K21 museum in Düsseldorf. The visitors are invited to walk in a floating landscape of wires, above a three stories drop. The direct, intense feeling of vertigo from the potential drop, as well as the resilient surface the flexible wires supply, provides a breathtaking experience from the very first step.

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The work itself correlate to your every move, by each step you take the ’ground’ shifts under your feet, but also forms a new connection between all the participants. The extreme situation strips you of all previous preconceptions and you are only aware of that very moment, which leads to a unity in the group of participants, since you all share the overwhelming sense of mixed wonder and fright. The sensations stays with you long after you have exited the work and you feel a connection with everyone who have ’felt’ the work.

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Another contemporary work which I also feel strongly relates to the theories Kiesler came up with is Mika Rottengberg’s combined installation and video-work for Münster Skulpturprojekte 2017. On a quite busy street in Münster lies an abandoned shop with a old yellow sign and at first you wonder if you even are in the right place since there is nothing else inviting you in. When you enter you realize the inside mirrors the exterior, the shop is deserted; on the shelves there are some left over articles, a fan i slowly moving in a corner and in a second room a couple of giant inflatable pineapple-rings. While you walk around in the shop a sensation of confusion and discomfort slowly creeps upon you, wondering where have you ended up. Then you find the video. In the furthest room a small cinema with about eight chairs is located and the work is screening on a wall.

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You get launched into a surreal universe with men in suits crawling through a system of pipes, a woman smashing light bulbs, shops filled to the brim with vegetables/lights/balloons, a woman managing a soups trolley as well as another woman working in a restaurant. After the 20 minutes long movie you realize your emotion have changed drastically and you now are in a comfortable space, physical but especially mentally. The weirdness of Rottengberg’s film leaves you with an urge to discuss what you have seen with other spectators which in turn creates a similar community amongst the group of participants as Saranceno’s installation.

 

There are numerous more examples of related works which all share the same core idea of bringing something else to the viewer than just a sight (which of course could be nice/radical/emotional etc.).

What the artist provide is a kind of parallel reality in which all aspects of the work have the same significance; the environmental setting, the colors chosen, the techniques and materials used. Which is the same ideas Kiesler wrote  about seventy years ago. I think it proves the statement that good ideas are timeless and always can be brought into new light in new times, not only by artists but also by designers, architects and other creative professions. Even though artist today might not think about Kieslers correalism when they work they somehow end up in the field anyway.

 

I see your true colours, that’s why I love you


Sunday, May 28, 2017

As soon as I walked to the exhibition, I was faced with two ‘fountains’ if you can call them so. Lex Pott [x], a Dutch designer, a graduate of the Design Academy Eindhoven, uses UV-light and acidic water to explore the “inner colour’ of materials. First fountain is made out of copper, an element that has a green colour when found in nature,however the colour that I saw was orange due to the outer catalysts that accelerate the change of color. Same thing was happening to the fountain on my left that was made out of brass.

 

True colour dome, 2017
The Preservationist

Although I was never a big fan of Chemistry, the project that dealt with exploration of inner, unseen colours really attracted my attention. The two objects themselves are a marvelous visual as well as inspiring method of working. His project has a very close and even straight-forward connection to the Subject – Patina. By oxidizing the metal, the designer creates a thin layer that variously forms on the surface.  Colouring different kinds of metals requires accurate recipes. Pott’s project demonstrates the results of a research on metals and their true colours. By doing such, he reduces the material to its very essence.

 

True colour
The Resplendent

While losing electrons, it seems that the material opens up to the artist and the viewer giving an impression of acquirement of ancient wisdom that was hidden underneath the green surface. I believe that the viewer and the artist have a similar feeling of control evoked by the impression of nature opening its secrets to the human kind.

 

Lex Pott, True colors Dome / True colors Cone. exh.cat.no.4A/B

Observation


Friday, May 5, 2017

A day of observation ; visiting a museum.

To see, watch, perceive or notice

Visiting a museum always end for me daydreaming about other artists. Influenced by the atmospheres of the art and people visiting the museum. So I wrote down my observation and daydreams of an artwork in the exhibition of the Kunsthal te Rotterdam.

Cars, motorcycles, egg, hamburger, portraits and colorful vanitas. Walking into a hall full of pictures; was my first reaction of the exhibition of hyperrealism in the Kunsthal te Rotterdam. Coming closer to this images; amazed by the fact that these where paintings.
In front of a painting there was a man saying to his wife; ’Yes, you can really see that this is a painting, because the artist did not paint it perfectly.’ Pointing out all different kind of lines and spots which where not perfect according to him.
My observing of these paintings was also absolutely triggered. How is this possible? Is this a picture painted over? Is it really not a picture? Also searching for spots to confirm that it are paintings.

Rod Penner Rod Penner

Rod Penner 

 

Passing all the work I noticed all the American subjects. Especially the landscapes of Rod Penner ; painter. Staring at his work I found it very intriguing how he translated the light so beautiful in these paintings. Every shade, light stripe and reflection he paid attention to. He is not only painting the landscape itself but also the atmosphere that is connected to the landscape. Not only the houses/signs are giving a clue to the American landscapes but also the atmosphere itself is very recognizable.

The beautiful light and atmospheres of Rod Penner reminded me of two photographers ; Gregory Crewdson and Tod Hido.

2077 Tod Hido Tod Hido

 Tod Hido

 

Tod Hido is photographing landscape/houses in America. He got a amazing series of photographs called ‘Homes at night. Tod is using long exposure and most of the time the only light source is the light from inside the house. He is also searching for very specific moments and houses that are making this series so great.

Gregory Crewdson  Untitled__Merchants_Row__08large

Gregory Crewdson

 

Gregory is photographing cinematic landscapes in small towns of America. He is making beautiful images where he is influencing the light and the scene. It is very interesting how he and his team are building up these scenes and you can see that in his documentary Gregory Crewdson : brief encounters.

Inspired by a day of Kunsthal te Rotterdam
Hyperrealism ; 50 years of painting.
Exhibition from the 25th of January till the 5th of June 2017.

Hidden treasures


Monday, February 27, 2017

 

Mondrian Secret
Mondrian secrets by Miguel-Ángel Cárdenas

 

I felt a sudden burst of nostalgia when this work first caught my eye. It is pretty clear why; this assemblage piece is mainly made out of toys, which are easily connected to the idea of childhood. The work is very colourful, but all the colours are slightly faded. I do not know if this is because of the age of the work, or if he used these slightly faded colours on purpose. Maybe it was the light of the museum.

The work consists of tiny plastic objects, which are partly covered by an orange layer of more plastic material. Two donut-shaped objects are attached to the orange layer. The orange layer reminds me a lot of a life vest. This life vest association gives this layer another layer of (probably unintentional) meaning. The whole assemblage is attached to a piece of wood, which makes it look more like a painting then like an installation. The Stedelijk museum apparently thinks the same, because the work is classified as a painting.

The toys are put in order by their colour, which makes the work almost satisfactory to look at. I start to wonder what kind of objects are hidden underneath the parts that are covered. Where did the artist get these objects from and why did he choose these specific objects? The work reminds me a lot of a dream I used to have as a child; a swimming pool completely filled with toys. I realize that this is the main reason why the work is interesting for me, and why it made me feel nostalgic.

After making up all these associations I looked at the name of the piece. The piece is called Mondrian Secret. And suddenly, the whole work changed. The orange layer is representing the painting, and the toys are the secret insides of a Mondrian painting. The painting is faux, because it hides the true nature of the work.

The creator of this piece is Michael-Angel Cárdenas, a Colombian-Dutch artist. The media he uses varies a lot, from drawings and paintings to video installations and assemblages. He is the most well known for his video work. When he came to the Netherlands in the early sixties, he brought with him a lot of new developments in arts. Art movements like New Realism and Pop Art where not really active in the Netherlands. Important themes in his work are sexuality and his Colombian background. If you want to read and see more of the artist, read this article or watch this catalogue.

Earlier, I wrote a post about Ron Arad’s Concrete Stereo. A similarity between Mondrian Secret and Concrete Stereo is the way the surface is approached; both are covered up or hidden by a different material than the core of the work. In Concrete Stereo, the fragile sound system is hidden by a thick layer of rough concrete, giving the work another meaning and feeling by adding a layer. In the case of Mondrian Secret, the playful toys get hidden away by a layer, that is representing a painting that already exists. In the case of this work, the meaning of the actual Mondrian work its referring to changes.

We associate Mondrian’s work with mathematical precision. Cárdenas’ interpretation hides a layer of playful, colourful plastic toys.  The surface of the painting is supposed to represent something that hides the “true nature” of the painting.  A bunch of toys and plastic objects, organized in order of the rainbow colours. Put together with the same precision as Mondrian painted.


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