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the orthogonal allegory of browsing


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

 

BrowseMap-sketchIMG_3148-2

 

This is a search that started as a response to the 'Orthogonal Allegory Thesis' I found at the the essays page of Designblog. It shows the dynamic of my browsing, dealing with the facts I bumped into, as well as the associative impulses that coincides with it. I tried to translate my sketched browse history into a text version, to make it more readable ! If you click it, an interactive pdf. version will create that experience for you.

mutating ideas


Monday, May 5, 2014

DSCN3714_redu

IMG_4158_redu

Blue drawing

 

I’m interested in taking forms and colours from the world around me and then making objects and drawings which share a similar form or colour. I was interested in the post “shades of blue” by George Kratochvil. A colour chart by Ignaz Schiffermüller, made in the 18th century, to ‘distinguishing between blue’s in the nature’, was the inspiration for a small sculptural work of blue abstract forms. Schiffermuller began by observing the shades of blue in the nature that he observed as a biologist and made an abstract representation of them in the making of his colour chart, which takes the shades of blue into the form of rectangles in a grid pattern. Kratochvil then observes the colour blue, the shapes in a grid pattern, and transforms it into his work. I now come and look through the design blog and am interested in the colour blue, I search for this keyword, open the post that has been made and comment on it. I also observe the shapes of Kratochvils sculpture and have created a drawing which uses them again with the colour blue. The use of past artworks as inspiration causes ideas to mutate in strange and interesting ways- thus is the use of this blog; to provide a library of ideas and images of which to take and re create things from. The drawing I have posted today is part of a dialogue that was started in the 18th century and now exists in a digital way on a blog where you are reading it and entering that dialogue.

chaos and order, architecture and linguistics


Monday, April 14, 2014

unnamed-2

order_redu

chaos_redu

I found the blog post “Chaos and Order” when I was looking at different tags on the design blog. I thought the tag and title “Chaos and order” seemed interesting and I started to read the blog-post.
The text is based on the Dutch architect and graphic designer Hendrik Wijdeveld’s exhibition ” To plan the impossible” [x].

Henk Wiljdeveld had a romantic viewpoint with a focus on nature and the universe in his utopian architecture. His project “Chaos and order” [x] was a proposal for an alternative expansion of Amsterdam. He wanted to protect Amsterdam from chaos from Randstad. In his plan Amsterdam as a perfect star shaped city with green surroundings from the city centre to the edge. He was searching for an universal model of urbanisation.

The blog-post “Chaos and order” starts with:

“Chaos and order in its most extreme form can be used as a formula for practically everything. From the beginning of time to the death of universe.”

” Chaos and Order” also refers to the Saussurean constructionist’s who believe that you cannot understand a word until you are aware of its opposite. To understand order you need a understanding of chaos. Saussure is the father of modern structural linguistics and he means that meaning is constructed by the use of the language. It is not fixed. Saussure divides the sign in the categories, the signifier and the signified. The signifier is the actual word or sign while the Signified is our idea of the concept.

A lot of focus in the blog-post is on the Universe and life/death in relation to order and chaos. To grasp this huge questions is not simple and I tried to relate the idea of chaos and order on myself.

If you see “order and chaos” from a personal perspective chaos and order are essential elements of daily life. It is impossible to have order everywhere. Chaos is somehow always present. It is as if you are just able to focus on order for some elements of your life at the same time. When you focus on one part and create an order other parts will be in a state of chaos. A very literal example is an article I read about that it exists two types of people the type who is spending a lot of time on cleaning and therefore can find everything fast and the type that is living in chaos but does spend a lot of time looking for things. Both types are spending the same amount of time but some are creating order and others do search in chaos.

Massa


Wednesday, April 2, 2014

The meaning of political issues in modern society is overwhelming, and the policy influences on Art as it has never done before. As far as we are able to refer our reality, that we have now, to the images of the past, we can clearly understand our society’s statement. De Stijl by 1.1928.8 “Wendingen Beeldstatistiek / Sociologische Grafiek” depicts a lot of political and sociological drawings mostly based on issues of the beginning of the 20th century. Supposedly, trying to fight everything old and well-established. The in that issue well-presented artists, show without hesitation a wide range of problems, by using sociology and statistics as a way of inspiration.

What i like the most about them is their honesty to themselves and the impudent way of story-telling. Also the graphics themselves are impressive a lot more than modern one’s as i think they creates their own value. Everything what i mentioned we can fully see in Franz Wilhelm Seiwert work “Massa” . Of course something will be still missing, and that’s why i like it the most, because being truly political, it stays neutral in a certain way. The word “massa” basically means “crowd” and what we see in the picture it is a crowd, but what is crowd seen as a political issue? 1922~Masse_(Franz_W_Seiwert) Massa becomes more than just a synonym, it gives it much deeper meaning, you don’t need leaders, bombs etc. to show the initial blind and violent power in the world, when people become pixels, being strong and weak at the same time. It is also amazing example how title can develop the whole idea.

I think everything that makes it so simple and scary strikes me the most, and of course in that case it works extremely well, but I also can not help but notice the value of the other pictures in that exact issue and most of them being drawn by different artists from different countries somehow relate to each other, and that is amazing as well. have a look…

Wendingen 11-9 1930 Rijksacademie Amsterdam

The CMYK Colour Model


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

the CMYK colour model is short for cyan-magenta-yellow-key (black) and refers to all colours as mixtures of these four process colours. so, within this model, a colour would be described through the quotient of cyan, magenta, yellow and black that can be found in the mixture.

the CMYK colour model is predominantly used in the printing process and is often referred to as four-colour printing (which corresponds to the four inks used). in order to fully understand it, it is vital that we examine another colour model named RGB (red, green, blue) that is used in display devices such as computer monitors. so, whatever you see on a screen is in RGB. however, these colours can only be viewed with the aid of natural or produced light – making it impossible for documents to be printed as exact copies of what can be seen on a screen. this is why these documents must have their colours translated into CMYK prior to sending it to the printer.

all the heavily paraphrased information above seems to make sense on a superficial level, but in fact i find it all extremely perplexing and difficult to grasp. unfortunately i never learned the complex language of science and since it is awfully strenuous to translate a language one doesn’t understand, here is the even-more-technical-side explained by someone who seems to know what they are talking about:

“When two RGB colors are mixed equally they produce the colors of the CMYK model, known as subtractive primaries. green and blue creates cyan (C), red and blue creates magenta (M), and red and green creates yellow (Y). black is added to the model because it cannot be created with the 3 subtractive primaries (when combined they create a dark brown). The K, or “key,” stands for black.” (taken from here)

subtractive-colour_redu

upon my investigation, i found that the aspect of the CYMK colour model that i found most compelling was the simple fact that a countless amount of colours are but a mixture of four: cyan, magenta, yellow and black. this thought was inevitably on my mind for days proceeding my research.

 

//

the idea for a translation of the CYMK model came to me when i was listening to Billie holiday’s  1941 version of “am i blue?” over a cup of coffee. it started me off on a long trail of thought which went a little like this:

blue? blue?! how has blue come to mean a sad & melancholic mood or person?

although the colour blue is used to describe a specific feeling, colour can also be used to illustrate mood or atmosphere – for instance – in less direct ways. this is apparent in art, music, poetry, prose… but why do we associate certain moods or meanings with certain colours? and more even-more-generally: why do we often have the urge to illustrate colourless things through colour?

i am extremely fond of the randomness of this occurrence  the randomness of the colour blue (with all its different tones) being chosen to represent something that is beyond blue literally, as a colour, a sensory experience…

 

//

i had the idea of translating the CYMK colour system in a way that i made each colour (cyan, yellow, magenta and black) represent something different. and so i did. i decided that i was going to translate this system into a system that determined the “colour” of one’s day. first, i made a list of things that tend to have an effect on my day. then i selected the four that i felt have the most influence on the “mood” of my day. i proceeded to make them into questions (which can be answered on a scale of 1 to 10):

- how happy/satisfied are you with yourself today? (C)
- how well rested do you feel? (M)
- how good does today’s weather make you feel? (Y)
- how similar is today to yesterday? (K)

each of these questions substitute C, M, Y, and K accordingly. and when answered as a numeral value (from 1 to 10), i have the percentages i need to make a colour with the aid of photoshop. the system i’ve created is therefore a colour-determining tool.

i decided that the colour i’d silkscreen would be the result of my answers to the questions the morning after i created the system. my answers were 5, 5, 3, 1 and made into percentages as shown below:

 

 …and “the colour of my day” beside my silk-screened circle version:

 circle_redu

 

//

i knew that to develop my project further i’d have to send this survey around and ask people to fill it out. therefore, i made an online survey using a survey-making-website (which can be accessed here):

 

this website organized the data which i later used to determine individual colours for each of the 40 people world-wide who answered my survey on the 12th of december, 2013. i mapped out all 40 colours to illustrate the colours of one day, according to the answers of 40 people:

colour-system_redu

 

a problem i encountered on two occasions was that if 10 (being absolutely) was the answer to the last question: how similar is today to yesterday? (K), then the colour would be entirely black. since the other quotients would be cancelled out, i didn’t want this to happen. so instead, i set the percentage as 95% rather than 100%. even though both appear to be black anyway, i like the idea that there are still undertones of colour. and although it did not stay completely ‘honest’ to my original system – at the time i thought it would be a good compromise.

 

//

after i was done with the poster shown above, i decided to design a survey of my own (which i would put online and use if i were any good at computing):

i think through this translated colour system, i managed to play on the randomness of colour representations, but also create a functional and fun system (which also has the potential of becoming interactive).

colour-system_total_redu

 

The Blind make the Blind See


Monday, December 9, 2013

When I walked along the bookshelves, trying to find the most interesting book in the entire library (which is quite a task I have to say), the first thing I noticed that I was not able to read the title on the spine of one of the books I was passing. Usually I would just pass by the book, like people pass by signs written in a language they do not understand, besides, I am not interested in books which are not worth adding the title on the spine of the book. It is almost like the designer tries to tell you already that it is not worth it.

Though the title was on the spine of this book and it was in English.

The reason why I could not read the title of the book is because the title is written in braille. Not in the way of feel-able braille but in big and small dots. The dots are printed in silver on purple, reflecting the light in the room which makes it even harder to ‘read’ or recognize the text.

So I decided half consciously, half unconsciously to take the book from the bookshelf to take a closer look at the cover. I reached out to the book and grabbed it from the shelf. Because I am right-handed the first thing of the book I see, when I pull it from between the other books, is the backside. (Provided that it was not placed upside-down or backwards on the bookshelf, which was not the case here.)

Help me, I am blind - cover[3] Help me, I am blind - cover[2] Help me, I am blind - cover

 

I now realize that it is a pity books are to be read from left to right. Since then the front of the book is on the left side of the cover. Because of this and the fact that the majority of the people is right-handed, you will always see the back of the book first when you get it off a bookshelf. Most books are designed with the thought that you will see the front of the book first and the back last. If you experience the book the other way around, you get answers before you even have questions, causing you not to be interested in looking any further.

So I grabbed the book from the bookshelf with my right hand. Unintentionally already reading the back of the book, which contained both the title, the writer and photographer of the book. So when I turned the book in my hands to the front it already was not a question anymore what this previously so intriguing text in dots on the front of the book meant. Though what I immediately noticed when turning the book in my hands was the nice manageability of it. It has the size of a small purse, a slightly bit smaller than A5 paper format, which makes it very hand-able.

I personally always appreciate this very much in a book. I do not like to read books which are so big you can barely hold them or so small you can not even hold the pages without covering at least a quarter of the page with your thumbs. In my opinion reading a book should be a pleasant and comfortable activity, independent of  the content being pleasant or not. Unless, of course, it was the artists specific intention for the book to be not comfortable or pleasant in its physical appearance.

Help me, I am blind - side.jpg

 

Another thing I noticed, when turning the book in my hands, was that the cover was filled with one big picture spread over both the front, spine and back, keeping the three connected as one. The picture slightly being out of focus suggests the view of a sunset with an object reminding me of a curtain partly covering the view. Also this raises questions, it being partly unclear about what you are seeing. You can quite clearly recognize the sunset though the object in front is raising questions as ‘what is this object?’ and ‘where are you when this object is in your view?’ The last thing I noticed before actually opening the book was that the sides of the papers were black, matching the dark design of the cover well. The black edges keeps the book together, prevent the book from splitting up in paper en cover.

 

two-dates

When I opened the book on the first page, I was confronted with two numbers divided by a short horizontal line. When taking a closer look I found out that those two numbers stand for the passing time in the book. The texts in the book start on 12/05/2009 and ends on 08/06/2009 covering 27 days of  the southern hemispheres autumn and the northern hemispheres spring and summer. Every single day in that month is represented in the book. First by one or more pictures than by a text. These pictures (by Heidi Specker) from Australia are given another meaning through the texts (by Theo Deutinger) from Rotterdam.

The Book is build up in such a way that you are first confronted with one or more pictures, allowing you to find your own connection with and between those pictures. All these photos cover a spread, only allowing you to take in one photo at a time. While looking through these photos there is never one clear answer to the question what connects them. Is it a subject? An abstract keyword? Or just the day those pictures were taken?

Take A Quick Look Inside

The groups of pictures are followed by the texts, which always start with the date and the title on top of each other divided by a short horizontal line. All the texts start on the right page, leaving an empty white page on the left. This empty page is very pleasant when going through the book since it allows you a deep breath after those very informative photos. The content of the text seems to be based on the photos without any further knowledge gained from the photographer. They start right from what you see and develop into a more personal description from the writers perspective.

The book ends with the photo from the cover (which turns out to be an airplane window) and the text:

‘For a moment I totally forgot why I am on this Lufthansa flight heading to Frankfurt. Or isn’t it me who is flying? Suddenly I have the feeling that I have never been to Australia at all.’ – 090608, Evidence

In this way Christoph Keller both brings back and abandons the distance between Heidi Specker, the photographer, who was there to experience Australia through making photos and Theo Deutinger, the writer, who experienced Australia through the photos and his texts.
For more information on the designer Christopher Keller have a look at this: [link]

Rietveld library catalog no: spe 1

ART, A LINK TO HISTORY


Monday, December 9, 2013

 

1979 was the year of victories, revolutions, delusions and cultural innovations; it was the year of the end of the Pol Pot regime in Cambodia, the year of the independence of Catalonia and Basque country, the year of Francis Ford Coppola’s „Apocalypse Now“ and the year of the invention of the IKEA Billy bookshelf.

 

But why do I all of a sudden care about this particular year? Was that year mentioned in the news lately? Or did something happen in that year that I have a connection to?

 

The year 1979 got my attention through the “Werker 2″ Magazine I found in the “San Serriffe” Bookstore [x] in Amsterdam.

 

werker2_magazine

 

Werker 2 – A magazine edition designed by Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos for the exhibition „1979, A Monument to Radical Instants“ curated by Carles Guerra in 2011 in the Virrena Centre de la Imatge of Barcelona dealing with the issues of daily life in crisis of working class young men.[x]

 

With photographs and texts selected from secondhand publications – printed enlarged in blue-white – they show us the history of young men at work,  of unemployment and of protests. In the very special way they stage the pictures in the magazine, it becomes very obvious that photography was and is still a medium that communicates the essence of a situation.

 

Skimming through the pages of the magazine I get roped into the images and texts and I am interested to learn more about the historical context.

 

Why do these old photographs fascinate me so much that I want to know more about them? And would it be the same if I saw them in an ordinary news paper? What is the link between design / art and history?

 

A lot of artists or designers are dealing with these kind of questions. In our time, in which everything is well designed and life is getting faster with every new technical invention, our eyes are used to being attracted to things that look nice and are easy to get.

 

That is why it is getting more and more important that art and design connect with history and trigger people with unusual visual elements into getting interested in whats happening all over the world, about history and its connection to today, since a lot of people don’t even read the newspaper anymore. They don’t bother reading long articles anymore, especially if the layout is unattractive and uninviting.

 

Not only Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfons are dealing with this issue. Other artists since the post-mordern movement, like Ai Wei Wei, El Anatsui and Allan Sekula who also appears in “Werker 2″ magazine, are discussing political events with photographs and philosophical essays.

 

Such political photographs or artworks have there own language which is mostly stronger than just an article in a news paper, because the artists automatically point out their own view on happenings in a visual way. This brings the topics and concerns closer to the audience. It is often so, that we feel more connected to things as soon as we see that these things bring up emotions in other people to which we can relate.

 

werker2_magazine3

 

By zooming into old secondhand publications and combining text with images, the two designers Blesa and Delfos display the line between the different worker-movements during the 20th century. They take us on a journey through history in a very atmospheric manner. This intrigues me. The blue-white colours take away the old notion about the photographs and translate them into a modern design. With this simple „trick“ they show us that history from back then is still fundamental in today’s daily life.

 

To me, this issue of the “Werker” Magazine makes it very clear that design is very important – if you want to reach people, arouse their interest and trigger their emotions, the layout is very decisive. Don‘t just string together texts, add some pictures and that‘s it. Such a design is outdated in the present media world. But if you present your content in a form which is entertaining and at the same time visually attractive, you will not only attract attention, but also lay a bridge between a interesting topic and an interested audience. I think that Blesa and Delfos have mastered this challenge in their “Werker Magazine”[x] in a very succesful way.

 

werker2_magazine2

Rietveld library catalog no: magazine

NINETY-ONE BOOKS IN ONE


Monday, December 9, 2013

Books. They are there. Just there. As long as I can remember. Starting with Maan, Roos, Vis (Moon, Rose, Fish) and Wie heeft er op mijn hoofd gepoept? (Who shitted on my head?), learning the alphabet, learning how to read. But there is another way of looking at books. a total different kind of books. How does the book look like and why. Why is it done the way it is, why does it work this way and why did they do it.

Design.

When we were looking at the books in the library of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, this was the book that got my attention. “Boy Politics”. It’s the color of the cover I saw at first, the grey, green color. Typical Rietveld I would say. Now when it’s lying next to me in the room, it’s almost like camouflage against the wall. Maybe this color is something we inherit from the Rietveld because the designers of the book, Anton Stuckhard and Andrea de Sergio both graduated last year at the Rietveld from the Graphic Design Department.

boypolitics 1 DSC_0407

Second thing you see: the way of binding. Screws. Good combination with the title I would say.

Boys. Strong. Screws. Politics. Connection.

On the cover there is only text, 5 narrow columns next to each other. The title is pretty clear in a simple fond. The cover is the index of the book but on the same time every number in the columns is related to another book. The front and the back cover page form the index together. Because it’s simple and clear you get immediately a lot of information. There are ninety-one numbers, relating to the other books and twelve different themes.

Science. Education. Work. Family. Hygiene. Sport. Media. Art. Sexuality. Murder. Music. Fight.

When you turn the book around there is in the right upper corner a small text.  It tells about the makers of the book, they didn’t design the book but they designed the presentation from which the book results. Marc Roig Blesa (2009, VAV, and Rogier Delfos. They work also together at the “Werker” Magazine. It’s a contextual publication about photography and labour that inquires into the possibility of formulating a contemporary representation of work [link].  While reading the small text you find out that the whole book is made out of ninety-one other books, the other books related to the numbers on the cover. The pages out of the books they choose are a visual essay analyzing the historical and still present instrumentation of the figure of the boy. All the books used are from Roig Blesa’s personal book collection, published between 1920’s and 1990’s. These books were presented at the Rietveld Library, organized in conjunction with the Marginal studies, a workshop by Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos at the Graphic Design Department. In the vitrines they presented the different books, opened on the page you see now in this one. So in a way, the design of the presentation was determent for the book. In between the different subjects there is again a thin paper with the index on it. All the books in the vitrines had a number, these numbers are the numbers related to their place in the index.

253324_584267184938477_1406346908_n

The pages are printed on a bit bigger than A3 format, but they are folded in the middle so the size of the book is kind of A4. The folding of the copied books and the folding of the A3 paper isn’t the same. It’s done that way that the left page of the first book becomes the right page of the new book, and so they form a new page with the second book. The difference between the images is very nice, they change from black-and-white into color and back again. Because it are all copies from the old books, they couldn’t choose them self which images would be color or black-and-white, but the rhythm in it is great. On the side of the pages you have a folding line and not a cut, you can open the page and see the copied book page in total. When you flip one page, you have two different books next to each other but that’s something you almost don’t recognize.

Boypolitics1Boypolitics2

The different size is what you see immediately but the subjects are the same. Also the switching between text and images makes it interesting to look at. On the top of the page there is on every page a small white line and on the bottom there is only black. Just to make sure that you see that it all are copied pages. Reading for me was a bit harder because the language of the books is various. German, English, Spanish, Dutch.

The image language in the book speaks strong, for me at least. The way the different books (Werker and this ‘catalog’) were putted together, forming a relation, made me curious how the rest looked like. Because the text that’s on the pages isn’t complete, you mainly focus on the images. As said before, a visual essay. While relating to the year the books are made and the photo’s it was for me a playful and inspiring way of trying to understand a bit of the boys history. The size, the weight, the coloring, the screws, the simple idea of only photocopies turned into a book, makes you want to hold it in your hands and really understand it.
In a way I think that the designers of the exposition were the main designers, they were the ones who provided the inside of the book and related the images. But without the strong outside it would have remained only a temporary presentation. The designers of the book found the perfect solution in translating it.

The ideas & steps behind making ‘Haphazard’.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Analyze a book which is interesting because of its design.
So the book needs to be interesting, apart from the content. I discovered that it is almost impossible just to take a book because of adesign however interesting it may be. The content and design are often so closely connected to each other.

With this book it was different.

The first reason why I took it: the cover.

I had really no idea what the book was all about and I also didn't understand the title. No, I just took this book because of the cover. Between all these 'regular' books, there was this one book with a cover made of cardboard. Cardboard? That seems interesting to me.

René Put [x], the graphic designer of Haphazard, told me that you can not ignore the cover.

‘When you see a book, it starts with the cover.’

‘As a graphic designer, you have to deal with a lot of choices by designing a book. The content and form are in my opinion connected with each other. The content always plays a role. Which material is used by the artist? Which ideas the artist wants to tell with the book?’

cover Haphazard

The manner of binding confused me when I opened the book. The way it is bound, on the right side, gives you the idea that half of the book doesn't need to be seen. That it is a secret, hidden.

‘As a designer I’m always looking for inspiration. Once I had seen an Indian account book, this is a long flat book. The idea of having this pile of papers, folding it into a new object, fitted well with the work of Ellert. Ellert is always looking for the border between 2D and 3D objects.’

‘Someone in Den Haag bounded the book. He made four dummy’s for us. We were really content with the last one, the one as it is now.’

‘They call this a Japanese way of binding. But actually a Japanese binding is different because there are more whole in the cover. There are just two holes in this book cover. Afterwards the book is bound by hand in a system which keeps the pages all together.’

‘This is maybe a funny fact to know. The whole research for the book cover, took the most time but cost also the most money because bookbinding is a handicraft.’

binding Haphazard

I have the idea that there's a link between the paper which is chosen and the work of the artist. The artist, Ellert Haitjema, is working with natural materials and material he has found in the streets. This paper looks like recycled paper. Not glossy, it has a more natural look.

‘It’s always a search to find the right paper. Here we’ve chosen for uncoated paper. In this case it was necessary because not all the pictures were in a good quality. To compensate this problem, it’s always a good idea to use this paper because the effect of the bad quality is less. The pictures become also more an unity when they are from different sizes/qualities, all printed on the same soft paper.’

Haphardize_0034

‘This quality of this picture was not really well. That’s why I doubted to publish this one. In the end, we changed it a lot to get it how it is now. There were to many good arguments to place the photo.’

 

Isn't it a pity that some pictures on the middle of the page, are folded?

‘The pages are turned and that’s also why they get folded. In this example you can see why, on purpose, we’ve placed some photos in the middle of the page. By folding there will be another image then by seeing the photo on the whole page.’

Band 2 Haphazard band 1 Haphazard

‘The cover and the papers inside the book are folded. What we wanted to create when the book is lying on the table, is that the cardboard will end on the first page inside the book. By folding the book, the paper will move, by moving the paper you get a nice cutting edge.’

snede achterkant Haphazard

‘At the last moment I thought of adding something to the cutting edge, it needed to become an experience in itself for the book. We decided to add five colors of grey, so called PMS colors or Pantone colors. These five different colors are printed on the back of the papers inside the book. Now you can see a nice variation of colors in different grey tones which are an experience for the book in itself.’

grijs verloop achterkant Haphazard

‘This book needed to be an object in itself. Just as the objects which are shown within the book.’

‘The good thing about the picture on the back of the book cover is that it shows how the function of this book changed by using it to carry a plate of glass.’

‘The idea for a photo like this (on the back of the book) occurred while we were designing the book: the book needs to be shown as an object itself. This photo for the cover was a bright idea, thereby the whole book design was completed.’

achterkant Haphazard

What I wondered about, when I took this book out of all the other 'normal' books, was; how is someone making a book like this?

For instance, when you're a graphic designer, what kind of steps do you make during the process of designing such a special book. At first, I thought there was no direct link between the design and content of the book because from the design you couldn't get an idea of the content.

In the end, I know better. When you take a closer look, you see that there's a link, off course, but a subtile one. Graphic Designer René Put let me see what is all necessary by making a book. Which choices need to be taken and which ideas are behind all these steps.

‘In my opinion, you can always go back to the book when it is a good book.’

 

Rietveld library catalog no: hai 4

In & Out of Amsterdam


Sunday, December 8, 2013

This sparkling red cover with white arrows  caught my eye in the library.  There won`t be more colors in the book (except for photographs). I don’t mention it as a regretful. The retraint use of colours in the book emphasize both the cover and the inside.
cover

The cover is giving informations on the topic (conceptual art), the location (Amsterdam  and further links) and the period (1960-1976).As an object the book is pretty thick especially because of the choice of the paper. The cardboard of the cover is like wrapping the book which is bound separately with a black textile.
The book is dealing with conceptual art.
This field is generally using a lot of words to translates the works. In that case, graphic designer´s purpose is to communicate the ideas in the most efficient way. To reach this point they have to find a visual language to lead the reader in the way they consider as the most interesting. Here the structure is pretty clear. The book is comfortable as an object (as mentioned above) and comfortable to read.

This is first due to the black bold letters and central texts. Then the colors of the photos are softened and finally the white paper is not too bright.
Now we´re sure the reader is not confronted to practical difficulties the designers still have to focus on how to relay the information and find the balance between text and image.
Divided in chapters, the book first talk about the raise of the conceptual art especially linked with artist who have been working in Amsterdam. Then the book become more visual presenting artists through their works (mostly photos).  So when the book comes closer to the artists and conceptual artworks it becomes visual when you probably expect more text and informations.
The reader can easily spot the chapters because of the blank left page facing the title written in bigger letters on the right page. The first part of the book is about conceptual art and does not focus on artists so much. To illustrate the ideas developed in the texts and make them understandable images are included.

DSCN1661
The text placed in the middle leaves a lot of white space next to it. This is used to add  details that are not directly part of the text like information concerning a photo or references. There is only one single typeface used. The only difference is the size of the letters making the text more or less big according to its importance. So this book is really trying to explain the content in an organized and comprehensive way.

DSCN1658 copie

 

In the end of each chapter is an index and everything is gathered together in the end of the book in a bigger and complete index. This index also contains pictures to be in harmony with the rest of the books logic and design.

 

Index
Then we come to the second part of the book based on specific artists. Here the text gets smaller and is present on the first left page of each artist´s chapter only. This because after using a lot of text the reader should be able to have a sensitive and personal approach to the artworks. The presence of the text is only to provide informations that can not be translated through images (biography…). So that we can focus only on the works themselves.

At this point we only have pictures to understand. But still we are not facing the real artworks so the photographs and the graphic design can decide how to introduce them.
First because of the angles and the distance, then by the size of the printed picture in the book and the choice to select colors or not, finally by the order of the presentation and the links created between the chosen images due to their positions towards each other. That’s all the explanations the reader has.
With this system the graphic design leads to a certain way of looking at the artworks while they still give a lot of freedom to the reader.

 

Point of view

In my opinion the visual communication of this book makes its topic clear and understood but still asks a bit of interest and subjectivity from the reader who has to experience the book (exactly like in an empirical process)  to get  knowledge from it.

Rietveld library catalog no: 706.8 che 1

Khhhhhhh


Saturday, December 7, 2013

I was browsing through the list of books acquired this year at the Rietveld Library and I came across the title “Khhhhhhh” by Slavs and Tatars.

Interesting title that made no sense to me and therefore made me curios and furthermore choose the book for my exploration and design research.
Now I know that Slavs and Tatars (S&L) is an artist group and this book is a combination of research and study alongside giving a written lecture and investigation through the book which was published in connection with their exhibition on the topic which the book investigates [X].

Before starting the exploration of the book, to be clear about who S&L is, this gives a pretty good hint: “Slavs and Tatars is a faction of polemics and intimacies devoted to an area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China known as Eurasia. The collective’s work spans several media, disciplines, and a broad spectrum of cultural registers (high and low) focusing on an oft-forgotten sphere of influence between Slavs, Caucasians and Central Asians”.

Looking at the book the first thing one notice is of course the cover – afterwards turning the book around, feeling the weight in your hands and looking at the back.

Khhhhhhh, cover

The cover consists of the K and the H’s from “Khhhhhhh” scattered over a picture of a room that looks like a mosque. The letters are in a sort of bad computer game-like font with a thick white border and a filling of grey/silver’ish screen noise. Strange combination which immediately intrigued me and invited me to open the book and look at the inside.The way the letters are scattered is of course a choice which have been made, like everything else in the book, and the way these letters are scattered is no different. They move up and down in a rhythm that divides the cover into sections. Also the effect of the font adds to the feeling of them moving.

The book is slightly bigger than A4, half a centimeter on each side and has a thicker cover but still not hard, which gives it the feeling of a catalog more than a book-book.

The back of the book is a continuation of the mosque room with a big white print on it of an open mouth with the two sentences:”Mothers Tongues” and “Father Tongues” written under it.

Khhhhhhh, cover and back

By looking at the cover and the back you already get a feeling of what the book might be about. Something with letters and a strange pronunciation of /sound from this “Khhhhhhh” + the mosque, the strange print of the open mouth which almost goes “AAAAAAHHHHH” at you, the inside of the mouth with foreign alphabet symbols and finally the Mother Tongues and Father Tongues indicating, again, language and inheritance of tongues/pronunciation.

Opening the book there is no first page with information about the publisher, designer, year or anything, but on the opposite page there is the table of content written in Russian and English opposite of each other as if there was in a way some kind of comparison between the two languages. Maybe the book is about language? The paper is thicker (115 grams), a bit yellowish and has a really nice smell.

As you can see on the picture, the book has chapters and sub chapters.

Khhhhhhh, content


The following page is a Russian text in fat black lettering and two translations of the same text in English and I think Czech. The text says:” Genghis Khan, me you midnight plantation! Dark blue birch trees, sound in my ear! Zarathuse me, you twilight horizons! Mozarticulate me, dark blue sky!” – by Velimir Khlebnikov. I found it interesting that the two first letters in Velimirs second name are Kh. Also Genghis Khan was the leader of the Khan clan in Mongolia from 1175.
Before moving on to the rest of the book I would like to add a quote to give a shorter and probably more precise introduction to the book that might make more sense than what I’m able to explain: ” the book is;  A reconsideration of pedagogy, progress, and the sacred role of language via the perspective of a single pesky phoneme, [kh].Khhhhhhh explores the thorny issues of knowledge versus wisdom and the immediacy of the oral versus the remoteness of the written word thru a fireside chat around sacred hospitality, Velimir Khlebnikov, and numerology.”

After this starts a long investigation of the phenomenon Kh which I, before reading this book, had no idea was a phenomenon in language and how it undergoes different names and symbols in Semitic, Cyrillic, Turkic and Arabic alphabets. Because of the different languages each page consists of an English text, the translation in Russian, pictures from Slavs and Tatars exhibitions and beautiful drawings of the Kh in different languages and in which direction these symbols are to be drawn.

Khhhhhhh, alphabet Khhhhhhh, pages

The choices which S&T has made for this book helps to pass on the investigation/research feeling and works almost like having a wall with a lot of sticky notes and pictures on it. They make this work without being confusing, which very easily could happen, by dividing the pages into sections. As in the table of content, the pages inside the book are divided so the left, slim column is for the Russian translation, most of the rest of the page has the English text and then you have pictures, illustrations and alphabets/symbols scattered over the rest of the page, with descriptions of each picture under each picture + footnotes. Busy, busy pages! The graphic of the lettering becomes more like a picture on the page than a text. Still everything is framed and kept inside a border of approximately 1,5 cm.

Khhhhhhh, pages

There is a lot of information on each page and the drawings, the texts, the translations and images are placed differently on each page so when you turn the page you have no idea what will come at you. As mentioned before this could give a very confusing experience with the book, but instead of being confusing it just keeps you really interested and curious.

S&L them self says in an interview that with their publications they: “Attempt to resuscitate the sacred character of language, from the devotional act of reading to the ritual of the printed word”, – which might be why the book design is how it is,  jumping up and down and moving on the pages as if it was the spoken language with it’s rhythm, different heights and lows and not the printed word.
It is almost impossible to describe the book with words, especially written words, which funny enough makes so much sense considering what the book is about.

Khhhhhh pageshift

To indicate that the book moves into a different area in Appendix A, the pages changes completely and the background is a big photo.

Khhhhhhh, Appendix A

And the same goes for Appendix B, which is the last chapter.
I would really recommend you to have a look at this book and Hey! ….
It’s super easy because they even have a free pdf version uploaded online and on all their other publications www.slavsandtatars.com

 

Rietveld library catalog no: slav 1

Moving Forward


Monday, October 28, 2013

Daan Roosegaarde has been one of my favorite modern Dutch artists since I saw him once in the TV show De Wereld Draait Door, where he discussed his work Crystal, Marbles and Dune. This is because his way of thinking and working; he combines art with technology and tries to improve the world. Especially the first work, Crystal, caught my attention right away: thousand and one light rocks that interact with people: the lights functions as a ‘digital campfire’, each crystal contains an LED light charged via a power mat. People can move them, add them and even take them with them, once they are moved the basic breathing of the crystals changes. The lighting behavior of crystals moves from ‘excited’ to ‘bored’, keeping visitors curious. The lights become social and people can share their stories about the lights. He said himself: you can share or steal them and sharing is the new having. I think this is a good point because in light of the economic crisis and the earths resources running out we have to change the way we life now and make a new world and I think sharing is a good way to solve a lot of problems.

Crystal

His side-specific art installation Dune is also one of my favorites and is the work I have chosen from the Stedelijk Museum. A landscape of ‘Wuivend Koren/Waving Wheat’, which interact with human behavior; your motion and sounds. To watch, walk and interact. The work is made of large amounts of fibers with lights in it that brighten according to the sounds and motion of passing visitors. A new way of making a futuristic nature in relation with urban space. Nature and technology together. I saw this work on videos before I saw it in real life in the Stedelijk and that is a world of differences. By interacting yourself with the art work it makes you feel part of it and that gave me a really good feeling. The sight, the sounds, the lights, the change of it made it really special for me and is the reason why I really like it. The work was shown in museums in Amsterdam, Rotterdam, London, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
The specifications are: modular system of length 100 cm, width 50 cm, variable heights. Hundreds of fibers, LEDs, sensors, speakers, interactive software and electronics; variable up to 400 meters.

Dune

The last couple of years Daan Roosegaarde had a lot of publicity, his works has become more known, he was a regular guest on Dutch television on shows like De Wereld Draait Door, has won this year Danish Index award, which is regarded as the most important design price, for his work Smart Highway, he has his own studio called Studio Roosegaarde with establishments in the Netherlands and Shanghai. Last summer 2013 he was a guest of the Dutch talk show ‘Zomergasten‘ which was really nice. This episode of ‘Zomergasten is the reason I became a big fan of him and his work, because that was a good way to really get to know him and his ideas. ‘Zomergasten‘ is a Dutch television program broadcast every summer, in which about ten known people, writers, artist, politicians, scientist are invited. They are allowed to show videos or fragments of videos of things that are important for them, inspiration wise, learning wise or which they have found intriguing there whole life, and talk about with the host of the show.
After watching the episode I was really happy, because what he showed and talked about where things I am also interested in and it made me think and philosophize about. I have made some links of some of the things he showed because I though was really interesting:

(Mobiel Bellen 1999)
An interview of Frans Bomet about the use of mobile phones in 1999. It’s in Dutch and no subtitles. What funny is about this video that it shows how fast the world can change, almost 15 years ago not all people had a mobile phone and didn’t even want it and look at the current situation everybody has a phone and more important the way it’s used now, a lot of people can’t life without it.

(Solar Sinter)
A video of the work Solar Sinter by Markus Kayser. He made some kind of machine, a bit like a 3D printer, which absorbs the sun light which then goes through a magnifying-glass and then gets sprayed on sand which becomes hard because it crystalize. So you can make sculptures with only sun and sand, so imagine the possibilities, maybe in the future it can make houses in the desert.

(Ameisen, die heimliche Weltmacht)
This is maybe the most intriguing nature documentary I’ve ever seen: Ameisen, die heimliche Weltmacht (2004). In the Zomergasten episode they only showed fragments but this is worth to watch completely. I had already seen it on a BBC nature documentary and watch it again after the Zomergasten episode. For me this show how much we as humans still can learn from nature and other animals, the way the ants work together, it looks like their ‘city’ is built by one designer, one mind, but of course it’s made by a million ants.

I think the reason why I feel attracted to Daan Roosegaarde is because his way of thinking, most of the time his works are ideologies to change the way we, as people, are living now. He really tries to change the world. I think that that is very important in this time. There are so many problems and in many ways you can say we are destroying the world, and I think that art is a good platform to change the point of view of people, and make people aware of problems in the world. Daan Roosegaarde is one of those artists, he is an innovator.
Are we moving forward, are we evolving as people or have we stopped evolving and are we becoming more human or machine? We got to raise our angle of view, to learn, to grow and make the world a better place. Human and inventions have lived for years together and I think it becomes one (humans and technology), because if you look back in history, humans always have tried to improve themselves and improve life, like fire or the wheel; those are inventions, improvements of life. Technology is part of human’s evolution. We got to work together as one collective.

Grayson Perry


Monday, October 28, 2013

From the big design collection of the Stedelijk museum, I could point out a few pieces which I like a lot. Still, by having the limitation of choosing just one, I had no trouble remembering this one big pot I’d seen on my way. Not that I especially like ceramics, (nor shiny pots I would say) but for some reason this specific one got all of my attention in a completely positive way.

Strangely familiar was the name. From Grayson Perry. I thought: never heard of it, but in fact it looks strangely familiar to me. These drawings on it were telling a lot, making sense.

IMG_66581

After this first innocent impression, the investigation process started. First of all, as I cannot deny, I googled it – images. An amazing work collection appeared. I was happy already with my selection. I found out very quickly that apart from ceramics Grayson Perry also makes tapestries. Also it was easy to understand he likes dressing up as a woman.

Research went on for long, and still I know nothing of him. He has his name on a few book covers, is active on discussions about art, culture, education… Made a 3-episodes documentary for channel 4 in which he introduces 6 tapestries and discusses the idea of taste held by the different social classes in the United Kingdom. It was very successful, and won the turner prize in 2013. In 2002, Stedelijk made a solo exhibition with Perry´s work.

I went through one of his books: Grayson Perry, portrait of the artist as a young girl, a biography written by Wendy Jones. I found a lot of interest on his childhood, full of fantasy. He tells about his parents and sister, how they got married and divorced thanks to the affair of his mother with the milkman. His father left the family, which he takes as the event with biggest impact on him and his life; his stepfather violence or his teddy bear, which he sees a bit as a God.
Later on he studied in London, had lot’s of fun and lived in squats.

Grayson Perry has an alter ego, Claire. She is the kind of woman who eats ready-made meals and can barely sew a button. He likes to dress up like a girl since seven. Nothing ever made him stop. But Perry says that he is not pretending to be a woman; he is just a man in a dress. He is married and with a daughter born in 1992.

One of the reasons that made me identify this much with his work is that he likes to make things that he finds beautiful. Not with a big idea behind it, just in a spontaneous way. I think as well that sometimes is nice just to enjoy art, with no interpretation or understanding.
Grayson Perry thinks it is sad that in contemporary art the craft work is getting a bit lost. Like as if the concept is all. On this I agree with him, if it is all about concept, than why is it art and not philosophy? This way most philosophers are doing great works of art every time they use an object to explain their idea. I like to look at an art piece, and together with the concept to see something personal of the artist, that he actually did himself. Perry finds it very interesting about Duchamp and his urinal and all, but that is quite old now. It was new to point at a random object and to say it is art, but not anymore. Also that the question is not about what art is, because we’ve seen already everything can be art. This way the question becomes ‘’what is the good art?’’. For him a good concept is not enough. He compares it with a film that has this great subject but not good visuals and sounds. It might make it a good film, but not a good work of art.

In the end I think the reason why he is so famous is that he provokes other artists and people in general, somehow in a conservative way; but very cleverly, it is hard to criticize or contradict. Also he always speaks his personal opinion, but at the same time he justifies it very well, as if he is praying to people for some new art religion of esthetics and craft work, easy and accessible. He is going back to the old way of looking at art, the beauty of shapes and colours, and the feeling it gives to people. Instead of giving confusion which is after explained with the concept. I see it as the difference of drawing and illustrating. Before works of art were like a drawing, which tells the story by itself. Now it became like illustration, of a concept which should most of the times be told together so that you get the complete picture. Then again it is all a matter of what each identifies with or to find a good balance.

He will give lectures about the state of art on the 21st century on Reith Lectures from BBC radio 4, October or November 2013. I give everyone the advise of taking a look at his work and the things he wrote and says. Enjoy!

I am telling Grayson Perry’s opinion based on this interviews:

Scattered Matter


Sunday, October 27, 2013

 

 

ES Sandberg1

 

The picture shows a manuscript called ‘Lectura sub aqua’, part of the series ‘Experimenta Typographica’ from 1943 by Willem Sandberg.

Sandberg, a Dutch graphic designer, typographer and long term director of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam was forced to hide when the German occupation authorities discovered that he was involved in the resistance. While concealed on different farms, Sandberg produced graphic works out of the materials he found there – utilizing collected quotations – that correspond with his view of the world.

The chosen manuscripts states: ‘La propriété c’est le vol’ – property is theft. The slogan is a quote from the French anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudon, taken from his book from 1840 ‘What is property?’. Proudon was a French politician, largely considered to be the ‘father of anarchism’.

I find Sandberg’s manuscript an interesting starting point to ponder the relation between content and form. The repetition and graphical variations that he applies on the inherently strong political statement seem to point out the link between the visual appearance of the statement and its content. Moreover, I find it an compelling artistic choice to break down the phrase into a simplistic formula, eliminating all parts of the syntax apart from ‘propriété’ and ‘vol’, making the phrase into an undiluted juxtaposition of two nouns. I feel that the two words not only strengthen each other, but also get the message on a high conceptual level.

Sandberg’s work reminds me of some of the text works of Lawrence Weiner. Weiner started this conceptual artistic practice in the 1960′s/70′s utilizing brief phrases, statements or words combined in formulas put up on walls. I see quite strong analogies between the ways that the two creators employ typography as their medium, in spite of coming from different eras and creative practices. In the 1960′s and 70′s, when Weiner evolved as a conceptual artist, his work was considered extremely avantgarde. Looking at Sandberg’s work from 1943 gives me a new perspective on Weiner’s wall pieces.

ES Lawrence Weiner

As many of his statements manifest, Weiner is an artist strongly rooted in the present. At the event of the opening of his current solo show ‘Written on the wind’ at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Weiner stated: ‘Time is looking at the sky and realizing that it moves.’ I always enjoy making connections between art works from different eras or fields. Discovering references between Weiner and Sandberg was nice, because it points out once more that there is no inherent difference between ‘applied art’ and the so-called ‘fine art’ that Weiner would belong to, if you would obey those categories. I don’t know where that difference would lay. I find it intriguing that once one decides to devote time and attention to art, it becomes inevitable to realize that similar tendencies have been and are present throughout art history, also crossing between fine arts and applied arts. Artists and designers work on certain ideas and develop certain styles that keep influencing each other, while those ideas keep gaining visual, symbolic and historical meaning with every new era they enter.

One could say that Sandberg and Weiner share the way that they use language and – more specifically – typography as their medium. For some years, I have had a huge interest in the relation between the content and the form of an art work. To me, Walter Benjamin genuinely sums it up: ‘Beauty is not the object and not the shell, but the object in its shell.‘ The relation of the object and the shell is a very relevant question for myself and my own artistic works. If I was asked to chose one source of inspiration for the rest of my life, it would be this one.

The reason why I have chosen to compare the works from Sandberg and Weiner is my interest in the question how phrases change when their visual appearance is changed. What I like about conceptual art is its power lying in the mere thought. In 1968, Weiner manifested some view points on conceptual art in his ‘Declaration of Intent’: ‘The work need not be built.’ I can just agree with that. I can say that I find the relation between Sandberg and Weiner interesting with regard to the different fields they come from (applied art versus fine art), the different times and the different working methods. Both of the artists’ works inspire me to think about the relation of the content and the form. It furthers the understanding of Weiner’s work to hear him talk about it – e.g. the fact that he considers language sculptural. Weiner also states that his works are to be understood as gestures – which are immediately understandable, so they become language, too.

Weiner and Sandberg are interesting examples, because both of them chose for the immediacy of the language, while at the same time playing around with different colours and graphic variations. Also, by using language as a tool or medium, they put a concrete thought out there, which comes off as quite forcing compared to other media like painting or sculpture, while at the same time it leaves a large space for personal interpretations and associations. I like the directness of working with language, but also the openness.

Weiner always works with the same typeface – a very simple mono-space font designed by himself. As he states in this 2008 video: „I don’t like Helvetica, because (…) I find it a clumsy typeface. I don’t know if I find it clumsy because of its association or just aesthetically clumsy, but I try to avoid it.“ By creating his own font, Weiner avoids standardized visual appearances. His wall statements seem to get carried on to another level of visual meaning through the font they’re set in and to gain additional meaning by the way they are molded by their appearance. But even this typeface seems to be perishable, as the artist reveals: „It seems to be functioning for a while and I guess, one morning, I will wake up and it will have entered into the culture in such a way that I’ll try to find another typeface.

Super Nice Witteveen High Chair by Gerrit Rietveld


Sunday, September 29, 2013

 

images

I have chosen this object  because I didn’t realize what was his main feature at first. Which made the object very mysterious for me. It looks like a chair but I thought it could also be one made for kids (the gate would protect them from falling and the table help them eat). And their is also a hole in the middle of the seat! So I have come to the conclusion that it is a high chair toilet. I love this object because of all the colour Rietveld used. I thought  the lines present on all the file of the chair  make it look very graphic. It reminds me of the tribal art which consists in painting their bodies with lines. As you can see on the picture represented below.

images

My opinion could be a little extreme but I cannot stop thinking that this chair looks like an instrument of torture. It should be comfortable to welcome a child but it is raw wood, and there are no cushions to absorb to body. The vertical and horizontal bars also vaguely recalls the prison world.

torture wre

In fact, this chair was made for Hendrikus Johannes Witteveen Junior, the future minister of Finance who was born in 1921. It is almost identical to the original one, built in 1918.
According to museum experts the Witteveen chair is important because it is the first example of Rietveld’s use of primary colors, a key step in the development of his Red, Blue Chair, considered as an icon in Dutch art history. Even in our school, a lot of students have fun and try to make their own one. Some friends have it on their balcony! Rietveld designed it in 1918, under the influence of The Stijl movement that he has integrated in 1919. This chair is painted with the primary color palette added black, white and gray and a touch of yellow, so specific to this movement. Initially designed with a natural wood finish, Rietveld gave it these colors later, in1923, after officially joined the movement.
What’s The Stijl? It is an “avant-garde” movement, founded by Theo van Doesburg, with the active participation of Piet Mondrian. will destroy the Baroque through the use of colors and “pure” forms in dynamic equilibrium, as visually weightless.  According to Marek Wieczorek “most of its members envision a utopian environment through abstract art, universal harmony in the full integration of all the arts”.

 

In addition to being a designer, Rietveld was also an architect. I have chosen the Shröder house to illustrate it. I haven’t visit it yet but I already have some really good echos. It was Rietveld opinion that sleeping, eating, bathing (in short, whatever people do at home) should be conscious activities that require a certain amount of effort : letting down the table or making up the sofa bed. Rietveld also was of the opinion that the size of the room should be in agreement with the time spent there. The ideological approach of this house lead a strict view on architecture. Truus Shröder was the ideal client : after the death of her husband, she ask Rietveld to built her a new house. It was the first house of Rietveld which was an exuberant experience for him! He came to a type of design which does not strictly define a space, but instead lets it breath by means open and closed planes, varying lines, colour accent and incidents of light. In this from all sides asymmetrical composition, the transition  between inside and outside are fluently and surprisingly.

RietveldSchroderHuisPhotoErnstMorits   images (1)

Rietveld had deeply left its mark and is always present around us (I know it’s a little easy to say that because we are  studying in one of its architecture but whatever …). His manner to rethink the space make that he will be remembered !

Abstract Language of Space and Light – the Metaphor of Perception in Space for Correspondence


Saturday, August 31, 2013

 

Melancholia_rietveld graduation show2013Ji Sun Nowh

 

I discovered through writing this a new aesthetic language through the “way of looking” and the combination of possibility and imagination latent in it. This tends toward the potential unknown reality. The artist has an insight to see through various worlds and this inner eye allows the artist to experience the

other world beyond reality. Melancholia03_ Jisun Nowh_redu The work created by this artist is the very gateway leading us to this place across time. Through the operation of thinking and recollecting, we are able to bring out the invisible time and space, experiences, reminiscence, and subconscious. What I have attempted to represent using a metaphoric form of visual language is the faint outlines of the invisible beings, the lingering ambiance of light, and the emotional respiration coming from the stream of subconscious, all experienced through the mutual perception of time and space.

Melancholia04_ Jisun Nowh_redu Melancholia02_ Jisun Nowh_redu
My work intends to be vacant and open rather than to express many things. This is to induce the viewers to read the work as a reflection of their own experience and sensibility. I found that architecture and art consist of the inner abstraction and the perception of light and I have experienced the process of the works in this thesis that starts from the convergence of form, line, color and sensibility and develops into sculpture, painting and building involving space and light. The combination of form and color awakens the sensibility inside this. I tried to enable a more direct visual experience and bring out the abstract forms to the real space in order to substantiate them.

The geometrical Melancholia01_ Jisun Nowh_redu forms in these works are  imaginative spaces waiting to be filled with serene experiences.
I brought this abstract language form into my work and it will be originate from the restoration of imagination through the “way of looking”. I wish it did not remain in the state of merely reflecting the inner space but rather to be continuously reborn through various interpretations by being read as different stories and experiences.

text by Jisun Nowh [graduate student department of Inter Architecture]

 
Pdf-icon Download my thesis: ”Abstract Language of Space and Light;
The metaphor of perception in space and light for correspondence
 

A story of…


Monday, May 27, 2013

Beginning of a story tree
1683,
mentioned in printers
forgotten for many winters,
The scabbard?
The millboard?
no CARDBOARD!
paper?
no
heavy-duty paper!
The Kellogg brothers,
and by the others,
being used
being wrapper
flaked corn cereal shelter,
heat-sealed bag
for when you need to bake,
than being named
not to be ashamed,
“the brand”
by demand.
Kieckhefer Container Company
“hmmm good idea”
money!
honey!,
being use more
even offshore.
After all,
the way of carton being swerved ,
Being observed
Being tested
Being developed
being differed,
Containerboard
Folding boxboard
Solid bleached board
Solid unbleached board
Binders’s board,
being bored?
Ok,
let’s talk about
CCM,
two paper type paper,
higher grammage
problem?
no!
advantage.
The strength!
like sandwich,
line
wave
line,
brown
white,
poorness
majesty,
till 20th century,

(more…)

Not all boys dream of being kings, not all girls dream of being queens


Sunday, May 26, 2013

 
The intimacy of Grayson Perry´s drawings and the DIY characteristic
of punk and queer movements

 

The first time I came across Grayson Perry´s work happened on the same week I had a discussion with my classmates regarding minorities and the quantity of women inside the art academies X how many of them do we actually see in contemporary art galleries and museums.
Not only for briefly getting to know his beautiful works, but I was mostly glad to hear he was a successful and Turner Prize winner artist who also happened to be a transvestite. He made it out there despite for his choice of appearance or behavior and above all: his body of work does speak about all of these matters in a very subjective and personal way.
I hadn´t thought or researched much more about Perry until I visited the Hand Made exhibition at the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam with the Foundation Year. For my surprise the centrepiece of the exhibition was The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman, by Grayson Perry.

The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman is a tomb in the shape of a ship, which has been cast in iron, a floating reliquary that is forever earthbound. This, he says, is the tomb of the unknown craftsman, dedicated to the many thousands of artists over the centuries whose work survives but whose names will never be known. The political and whimsical aspects of the work promptly awakened my curiosity and interest in his art, so I decided to start researching about him.

Perry is mainly known for his ceramic pottery and tapestry, where he combines classical forms with his drawings and sketches. The drawings have a strongly autobiographical aspect, often depicting himself as Claire, his feminine alter-ego, and his teddy bear, Alan Measles, as a representation of the father figure, always providing comfort and affection. Many of his works picture sexually explicit content and for that reason they have been raising harsh criticism among art critics. But Perry habitually portrays the life of the working class as well as inciting discussions about minorities, sexuality, class and race. He has said, “I like the whole iconography of pottery. It hasn’t got any big pretensions to being great public works of art, and no matter how brash a statement I make, on a pot it will always have certain humility… For me the shape has to be classical invisible: then you’ve got a base that people can understand”.

Looking closely to the drawings on the pottery and trying to understand what they wish to communicate I could not help but think that their guerrilla-like motto and storytelling elements reminded me of the punk zines and the DIY (do it yourself) aesthetic of the punk and queer movements. In my mind, the way Perry uses the form of traditional vases as a free base and platform for the materialization of his thoughts immediately related to the intimacy and freedom of speech of the hand made booklets.
The hand made zines played a very important role in the punk movement in the late 1970s. Through the making of a zine one could express his own or a group´s principles and spread the word while being able to escape from the control of the publishing companies and media. In my opinion the exceptionally underground aspect of it is what provided the freedom necessary for the makers to loosen up from any possible apprehension regarding public judgment in order to feel welcome to express their most genuine political thoughts. I can recognize this very same bravery and freedom of speech in Perry´s drawings.

For Perry art should be able to communicate to the public and not only to the high-class art related intellectual minority. He also reflects on crafts as a form of art and in an interview to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, he mentions that craft and art are greatly linked and that is actually one great thing about it. Craft by definition is something that can be taught to someone else, you can teach someone how to throw a pot and they can become as good at it as you. Whereas art is very much linked to an individual vision and it´s not necessarily something that can be taught. One can be derivative and take up someone elses vision but he won´t ever become that person.
Perry calls himself an artist and craftsman and he makes use of crafts as a solid and clear base for his art, a base that becomes a tool for the expression and carriage of his message.
Not surprised I discovered Perry was involved in the Chelmsford punk scene in the late 1970s, he lived in squatted houses and at some point shared a house with the pop singer and transvestite Boy George, who became an inspiration for him. He is also the father of Flo, a 21 years old girl, and the husband of the author and psychotherapist Philippa Perry.

PIETER STOCKMANS THE GUY WHO FELL IN THE PORCELAIN


Saturday, May 25, 2013

 

 

Could craft be seen as art, or the other way round? Is it even possible to combine these two?
According to the broad work of Piet Stockmans, the answer seems to be clear. 

Pieter Stockmans is a well experienced ceramist, born in 1940. He worked for the Royal Mosa Maastricht, taught at the art academy Genk and the Design Academy at Eindhoven. From 1989 he started to work as a freelancer, which he is still doing these days. Al the work he makes, is a signature for himself. Piet is devoted to his work, and this devotion/passion is what brought him to the level he is working on now, you could almost say he is obsessed with the material so he knows the qualities of it. He searches for the essence, the edge in his designs, in material, and in function of the object after this, the material became the way of expressing himself. He thinks from the possibilities that the china is giving him. Not only the possibilities, but also limitations are an inspiration.

     

 

 

His tableware is an experience, its light, thin, sophisticated, fragile, beautiful, elegant, clean and minimalistic. A cup becomes something more than just a holder for your drinks, as soon as you touch it, you feel the fragility, and the almost sharp edge on your lips. Next to his spotless tableware he also has other projects, he exposes his work in several museum, does projects for public spaces, he designed the tableware for the prince of Monaco for instance, he sells fabricated works in stores and still does handmade. Just recently he cooperated with star restaurants and master-chefs. This collaboration was very valuable for both of the parties. The plate should be a compliment to the dish, it should replenish each other. Instead of just being an tasteful dish and a nice designed plate. These two things come and work together. With this kind of corporation you clearly can see that Piet changed the approach, of something we take for granted as an everyday routine, into a certain appreciation.

 

 

 

 

Is Piet Stockmans an artist, a designer or an ceramist? And according to the Boymans van Beuningen ‘handmade’ exposition, what is his relation to that? 

He strives for authenticity in his work, that is of main importance and also he tries not to loose himself in the technical advantages of nowadays so we can label him as authentic. What is it, that his work expresses. Piet is searching for new possibilities and challenges which is important. His approach towards his own work is very artistic. It becomes autonomous. What I found also interesting about it, is that how far can you go if we talk about art and design. With his tableware, is it not art because it has a proper function? Does art have a function? In his philosophy comes forward his way of dealing with a process or way of thinking. In which, hopefully, we all can recognize ourselves.

 

His philosophy,

“Creation is founded on doing, not thinking;
the act of making, brings forth ideas which in their turn give rise to other ideas;
gradually, along the way, strange as it may seem, decisive choices are made.
Like the automatism of the plowing farmer,
or the habit of prayer,
or the recital of mantras,
or else the repetition of an everyday gesture.
It is a search for simplicity, for calm, for physical well-being.”
Piet Stockmans 

 

For the outside world it can be hard to define the work of Piet, because you can organize his work in three parts, artistic, craft and industrial. For Piet himself those lines are thinner then we are experiencing it, he is continuously moving between them without any distinction from each other. The things is when he is designing for an tableware project it can inspire him for any kind of new work: the evidence that each part is closely related. I think we have to take in account what the artist is trying to say with his works, what is the purpose? What is the thought behind it? What is the artist willing to express? And last but not least how does Piet think about it himself? He says, “I am a designer,  because doing one artwork doesn’t make you an artist” which is true. I find this a modest profiling. In case of Piet Stockmans, I think if we not divide his work in several segments, and see it as one, Piet is in my eyes definitely an artist, and also a designer and also a ceramist.

 

http://www.pietstockmans.com/

 

Interview Piet Stockmans (in Dutch)

History repeats itself.


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Does this mean you make the same mistakes twice?

Do we re-live our past but in a different atmosphere?

Can we see our future in the history of time?

It is surprising how the sum of the past and the future can result in the present. As well as in the last book I’ve chosen, I have the feeling that two different time spirits come together.

The layout and especially the letters used on the cover of this book are very old fashioned; the use of soft orange dyes in a round shaped fond combined with a black and white frame. A frame which reminds me of origami class where at least six women with the age of forty-five and higher are sweating over a piece of paper trying to construct a whooping crane. But the picture of the cover doesn’t correspond to my slightly ironical conclusion at all. It is a picture of two wooden beams with beautiful shapes on the end of each beam. The shapes are perfectly opposite so that they can fit together as two pieces of a very complicated puzzle. It looks very modern, like something they use in high tech vehicles or space ships.

 

At present, the title began to dawn on me. It said: ‘The art of Japanese Joinery’, made in 1977

 

After a small peek into the content of this book, it occurred to me that it was filled only with old Japanese ways to attach two or more pieces of wood together. Not in the prefab-style we attach stuff these days, but on the most exquisite, caring and futuristic way possible. I felt for a moment so angry at our IKEA society where everything has to be cheap so you can buy a new sofa every four years, not caring about old handicrafts and their gift to make the most refined details. Details of such beauty that you have to suppress the urge to dismantle your closet only to see how it has been made.
The tender approach of something so simple as to attach two pieces of wood together reminds me of the first book I had chosen, where Nabokov describes individual letters of the alphabet in the way he experienced them.

Affection, or at least attention, for stuff we work with everyday, like the feeling of a specific letter, a symbol or a construction, is very rare these days. We don’t seem to have time to notice these small ‘gifts’ in the rush of everyday life. So next time you go to the library, go with an open mind and grab the very fist book that draws your attention. You’ll be surprised what comes out.

Rietveld Library cat.nr: 694.1

Color in Relation to our Lives


Friday, March 29, 2013

A bright pink page of the book drew me to it. It was lying in a showcase in the Stedelijk Museum amongst many other objects and flyers, but the brightness of the opened page made the book stand out. On the left page you could see a picture of an Indian girl sitting behind a table. On the table in between her hands was a small heap of bright pink powder, almost the same color as the bindi on her forehead. The page on the right was a page of bright pink textile.

This book (put together by Nikki Gonnissen and Thomas Widdershoven) shows works and gives a feel of the work by Fransje Killaars, a dutch artist who graduated from the Rijksacadamie in 1984. In the beginning of her career she mainly made paintings, but it is her later work, her textiles, which attracts me most.

I read in an article about Fransje Killaars that she is fascinated by the power of color, the relationship between people and textiles and the way textiles are bound up in daily life. I was able to take a closer look at the book in the library of the Stedelijk Museum and I was surprised to see how much more attractive Fransje Killaar’s work is portrayed in that book than for example the images on Google search. It was then that I realized that like Fransje Killaars I was not only fascinated by the power of color, but especially the combination of colors in our daily lives. Seeing Fransje Killaars’ textiles transforming an old attic

space into a bohemian paradise,
or seeing her carpets thrown over a washing line hung amongst palms

seems to play much more on the imagination rather than seeing the fabrics placed in the middle of a white clean gallery space.

In a gallery space the work is merely about colors; about the contrast between them and the brightness that a color can have. Yet for me the excitement comes when you find bright colors in someone’s kitchen, when colors pop up amongst plants, how sunlight can give a color different shades and all colors on the knit sweaters of the Rietveld students in the winter.

 

I caught myself playing around with this fascination on my guilty pleasure.

Instagram

I try to eat an orange every day, but before I get to peeling it I like to take a picture of the bright orange against the clothing I am wearing that day. I have realized that by doing so I put a frame around a moment or literally make a snapshot of the moment. It may be only esthetics, but for me it is quite a luxury that you can find such esthetics in everyday life.
The combination of color and the sense of touch is another element, which I find rather appealing. Holding the skin of an orange against a green, wool knit sweater, running your hands over a an orange shag rug or a purple suede dress is often much more exciting than looking at the same colors on a 2d canvas. Do not get me wrong; I have nothing against the great color field painters, who can use colors in a fragile and moving way. These painters succeed in translating emotions into color, into paint, but when it comes to the exuberance of a color or the contrast between them I think this can be best portrayed in a more hands on manner.

The brightness and the vividness of the use in colors in Fransje Killaar’s textiles seem to be more about the celebration of life, about the joy that a blotch of color can add to every day scenery. The use of color in her work is about the beauty of variety. It is not without reason that a mixture of joyful and interesting people is referred to as colorful. The pink page in the book was what had grasped my attention, but the comparison made with the girl holding the same color pink in between her hands and a trace of the color left as a dot in between her eyes is what made me linger and look at it more carefully.

To find expression


Tuesday, November 27, 2012


What are colours and where do they come from?



 

Isaac Newton


Isaac Newton was born in 1642 in England and was amongst others a physicist and mathematician. He began exploring what colours were and where they came from in his twenties. With the help of a prism that he put in front of a ray of sunlight Newton could project a rainbow spectrum. To be certain that it was not the glas colouring the light he then added a 2nd prism into the path of the spectrum to see wether the colours would change.

This led him to the understanding that light alone is responsible for colour. He discovered that colours are light of different wavelengths and that white light is a mix of all colours in the rainbow spectrum.

 

He also invented the colour wheel by taking the colours refracted from the prism and placed them in a circle based on the mathematical calculations of their wavelengths. This made the primary colours to be arranged opposite their complementary colours, for example yellow opposite violet. This made the complementary colours enchant the opposing colour through optical contrast.

The circular diagram became the model for many colour systems and his research was the beginning of what we know of light today.

 

My interpretation of the project was to get a better understanding of light and also therefore the lack of light. I wanted to have an experience only for me instead of doing a work that would tell something to others. So I decided to do an experiment where I would instead of using the light use the lack of light and try my living as a blind person for a day.

How I came to this conclusion is because of Isaac Newton and his thirst for knowledge. I could not stop thinking about how he had been in his room, doing experiments. If everyone would do that, what would happen then? What would I like to try, to find out?

When I decided this is what I want to do, I tried on a scarf to cover my eyes with, found a long enough stick to walk with and then when it was time I took the items and used them to partly disable- partly help me. My work ended up being me walking blind to school, sitting in the classroom on presentation day and just listening to everyone, taking pictures of everything with my camera and finding my way to the toilet, which was the hardest part. After class my friend Susanna led me to an empty room where she filmed me talking and also when I took my blindfold off. The film I will show you is the part when I take the blindfold off. It was a very hurtful experience for the first couple of minutes.

Hurtful in the way that you could not focus on anything other than yourself and the pain. At the same time you appreciate what you have so much more. To be in a state where you are robbed of something, of one of your senses, is an awakening as much as it is a new beginning. My day as a blind person was a day of anger, chock, surprises, frustration and appreciation.

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I think that my way of working with this project was very fruitful for me and also opened my eyes for a new way of thinking. I have realised that my works do not need to be telling for anyone else other than me. If they do it is just an bonus. I also liked the exploring of my emotions in regard to what I am doing and also try to just “be” in the state you put yourself in and to experience it fully. It can also be a product of importance.

The Silkscreen print I did was Blood red and it relates to my project in the sense that they

both were an act of me corresponding with myself mostly. The day we got the assignment of the Silkscreen print I decided I would do the colour of menstruation blood.

I really liked this assignment and the fact that we had a long time to work on it. The fact that we got to discuss our works also adds as talking is a just as important part as working, a lot of the time. If you are afraid to say something I think often it is because you are afraid that what you are doing is wrong. What you need to know is that nothing is wrong instead what you are doing is right, and that your friend that is doing the exact opposite of you is also right. When you speak up you get a chance to grow and see your work in a new light and maybe then the work can also better from it.

 

Miniatures by Sheila Hicks


Sunday, November 25, 2012

 

(born Hastings, Nebraska, 1934.) Painter, Textile/Fiber/Weaver, Artist.
 
 
At the Stedelijk Design exhibition my attention was quickly drawn to the textile area were a lot of gripping works was exhibited. Most of the items appeared very autonomous and were presented as art displayed in frames, on glass tables or hanging down from the ceiling. Probably the smallest section of pieces (size A4) made of colorful weaved threads caught my attention – they were made by the American artist Sheila Hicks.
It is hard to say what it actually was that dragged me into her small and actually very simply and straightforward made artworks. I had the feeling of looking at a continues (paintless) painting with numerous layers. I was sure that something interesting had to be hidden behind those threads and probably made by a person with a lot of experiences and an interesting background.
The Stedelijk has written an appealing text on the wall about textile as art and how the industrial movement has influenced the textile scene and how the old stereotype that textile work was women’s work has changed through the time.

Sheila’s woven textile pieces are attractive because I neither could categorize the style or the period. Something in them looked familiar but at the same time like something I had never seen before, I consider it like a hybrid of different cultures and nationalities, emphasizing the use of different materials. The way it was presented was also interesting, in small frames, side by side. Very organized and strict but the threads stood out very randomly in a way. I really wonder why Sheila Hicks made these small miniatures and to understand that my research is based on her biography and her history.

 

Sheila Hicks is educated in Fine Arts at Yale University. She started as a painter and turned her carrier into weaving and working with fibers – from 2 dimensional work to 3 dimensional work. Her miniatures (the ones in the Stedelijk) reflect her past as a painter as you can translate them to weaved paintings. These are works she has done through her whole career, besides that she is well known for her big weaved sculptural installations and wall decorations.

 

In her studytime one of her professors was Josef Albers, the Bauhaus master who had settled in The United States because of the pressure of the Nazis regime. Albers was the director of the Department of Design and transplanted some of Bauhaus ideals to Yale University that is reflected in a lot of Sheilas earlier work for instance the patterns, her choice of colors and the geometry and abstraction just like the classic impression of Bauhaus.

With Josef Albers [x], Sheila worked in a kind of color laboratory, and did extensive research on materials, plastics, paper, wire and plaster, that could also be one of the resons why she often weave different objects into her work. Since the 1960′s, Sheila trained in the modernistic Bauhaus tradition, as a unique way of mixing autonomous art with the traditional craft of weaving. In an interview she says: “However, when I was at Yale I had exposure to art history. I took ‘Art of Latin America,’ with Dr. George Kubler, and I chose to write about textiles because he had given a lecture showing beautiful old Peruvian mummy bundles.’’ Those textiles, she recounts, made a strong impression on her. She realized she needed to find out how they were made — not just how they looked. “At that point, Albers — Josef Albers — saw me struggling in my painting booth on improvised looms that were not looms; they were just painting stretchers that I used to tie yarns into tension, and he said he would take me home and introduce me to his wife.’’ His wife was Anni Albers [x], who is perhaps the most well-known textile artist from the 20th century. Anni Albers was a former bauhaus student and helped Sheila with a lot of work in the beginning of her carreer. I believe that her past as a painter and her influence from Anni Albers/ Bauhaus tradition could have caused Sheila Hicks  – through her whole carrier – to continually make these small, straight forward, minis/miniatures beside her other work (3 dimensional). Notwithstanding that, Hicks played an important role in the transformation of textile art during the 1960’s. Textile artists changed the dialogue and understanding of textiles as sculptural pieces in addition to two dimensional works.

The story tells that Sheila is always carrying a loom – and every time she has a moment she starts weaving. As written above I find a lot of her miniatures look very ethnic, and that is probably because she has traveled a lot through her live. In the late 50s Sheila went to Chile, Mexico, India and Morocco and worked with different Local Artist. There she was inspired [x] by their weaving techniques, color theory and architecture.


To understand and try to experiment myself (right image above). I found this old loom and tried to weave a miniature my self and totally understood why you can get addicted to weaving. In a way it is very meditative and when you first get a grip on it – it is very uncomplicated and just a pleasure to do.

I also found this book at the Library of the Stedelijk:

 

 

A book of Irma Boom called ”Weawing as a methopor” with her collection of her miniatures. The book displays over fifty of Sheilas woven textile pieces
Not that this research should be about Irma Boom, the maker of the book (graphic Design) But she need also a cadeau. The book is amazing beautiful, and present all Hicks miniatures in a very nice way. All the pieces are presented in a beautiful layout – a nice red line through the book (e.g.colours) so you almost feel like looking in someone’s sketch book. The Book stand out very personal. I can only recommend you to go to the library of Stedeljk and check it out and have a look in all the other books. A new book was recently published on her textile installation at the Mint Museum’s Atrium [x]

Sheila Hics miniature is a constantly sidework through her life. I would translate it to weaved diary paintings. It is impressing!!

 

Wouter Dam – Unexpected way of working


Monday, November 19, 2012

Organic but still fixed, Simple but far from boring. Soft curved and sharp edges. The not expected material for this fragile form. Not as visible as it should be, standing low and unfortunately not visible from different sides. You would not place this object directly in the design section of the Stedelijk Museum but after research I could surely place it better in its context. After telling people which object I chose a lot of them didn’t remember the piece. A pity because it’s beautiful but also logical because of his hidden position. I couldn’t say directly why I was touched by this object but after some thinking I noticed it refers to my interest for curved forms, layers, shadows, inside and outside and the material clay.

When I started my research. I directly found out that Wouter Dam was a student at the Gerrit Rietveld from 1975 till 1980 what made me directly more motivated and interested for this research. Accompanied and guided by Jan van der Vaart, an influential ceramist for the Netherlands  famous for the new design of the famous tulip vase., Wouter Dam explored shape and volume which he would continue during his career. Unfortunately there is not much more written about this time in the Rietveld Academy. From 1985 onward he was able to make enough money to live from selling his work, allowing him to spend more time in perfecting his technique. His early work gives an impression what his later work will look like. After his first phase of still recognizable vases, the vases started more breaking the symmetry but still suggest a latent ability to contain. In phases of 5 years you see a clearly development, every step is logical coming out of the one before.

Wouter Dam concentrate at the space the works take over. He doesn’t decorate his objects but focus on the form of his ceramics. He begins his abstracts sculptures on the wheel, although you don’t see this in the first glance. First he makes 10 to 12 cylinders which he then cuts open and join together in another way. Sometimes it’s a technical challenge, to make sure that it is perfect but still an example of hand-crafted workmanship. It is hard to stay close to your original creative idea and produce it. Sometimes he put more time in making the correct supports to make it than the actual sculpture itself, but critical for good results. Another technical challenge is finding the perfect stage of hardness to assemble the sculpture from the clay rings.
The colors of his works are soft and sensual chosen to enhance the shape. The colors are slightly added in different layers to find the perfect suiting color for the form and do the most for the light and shade. In his previous periods he uses only one color for his forms but now he sometimes add a little bit of another color too but only support the already existing lines.

What was also interesting for me were the different connections and impressions people made after seeing his work. Some describe it as a forms inflated by air like a sail filled with wind who billow and swell. Others refer it to human forms, feminine forms, popped cocoons or wooden boats crashing in the waves. There isn’t a direct mention. He strives for a vague memory of a real thing, just a hint. There has to be enough room for the viewer to let his imagination run free. That is for me a good reason to explain why this object fits the design section of the Stedelijk Museum. I can see this object refer a vague memory of vases. Vases of his older work but also vases of other artists. Modern times give you more the opportunity to think bigger and extremer than round vases. By putting this object in the design section you give a hint of the period we live in.

His work is mainly bought by collectors and museums sold in private art galleries for all over the world and he is notable popular in Tokyo. I can’t wait for his next steps in progress they don’t look big but for me it is an interesting thing. So I hope to visit on of his galleries soon.

Grayson Perry – Strangely Familiar


Sunday, November 18, 2012

 

I had walked around the design exhibition of the New Stedelijk for about an hour, when, after rows and rows of Swedish cutleries, german engineering and dutch design homes, my eyes fell on a piece of pottery by an English artist. His name was Grayson Perry and the work was Strangely Familiar, a ceramic vase acquired by the museum in 2000, contrasting quite a bit from the otherwise dutiful and rather dull exhibition. The vase show blue human figures engaged in sadomasochistic sex over a background of British suburbia. A sentence is written upon it: ‘DADDY DON’T HIT ME, MUMMY STOP HIM...’

 

 

A few years back I studied archeology at the university of Stockholm, and for me the most inspiring part of the studies was antique art. The evolution of art in the early centuries of history, in Sumeria, Egypt and Greece is a favorite subject of mine. When I see the pottery of this contemporary artist I recall the faces of Achilles and Ajax, playing a game of dice on the black-figure pottery of 6th century BC Greek painter and potter Exekias I saw at the Vatican Museums in Vatican City. Grayson Perry pays heed to this tradition and the images on Strangely Familiar remind me of the bacchanals, and is not far from the courting of young boys, often shown in both black- and red figure pottery painting. His splashing text, as recited above, also goes back to the way Greek painters wrote text on their pottery.

Perry discovered early on that he was of a masochistic nature and at the same time a transvestite, which reflects in a lot of his work. His earlier works where in film, but as the medium failed him he found it more interesting and effective to use ceramics, tapestry, metal-works and other applied art forms. Here the beauty and usefulness of the work hid the underlying layer, which sometimes would be sexual or violent, but always and more importantly a vehicle for criticism; comments on social injustices and hypocrisies. Here I find the explanation of why we find Grayson Perry, the artist, in the design exhibit of the Stedelijk. He is surely an artist, and a well-read one at that, but his works are in the field of applied arts. They are essentially meant to be used and useful, in the same way Greek artist made vases that were commissioned by the wealthy families.

Although this is an interesting distinction, that in fact places Strangely Familiar directly in my path, I don’t think that Perry’s vases will ever be used as such. I believe they are works of art in their own right, and the reason we find them alongside teapots, telephones, Bauhaus and De Stijl is a question of definition, and Perry’s choice to work in traditionally applied art forms.

At the same time it is argued that art and design has moved closer to each other in later years, and that they in some cases are indistinguishable. An artist can easily work as a designer, while a designer successfully creates or uses art in his projects. That this is a later development I realized in the halls of the design exhibit, where the visitor moves through rooms chronologically and thematically ordered to show works of great design. As the rooms become more contemporary, I feel there is a certain shift, from usefulness and immediately perceived function towards less obvious designs, that are more autonomous. It is in this last room I find Strangely Familiar.

I am drawn to it, at first by the likeness to a dear subject of mine, the Greek vases, but then I am intrigued by the subject matter of the vase itself. At this moment I haven’t heard of this artist, but the work speaks volumes about him. When I later read about him in the library, I learn of his life as a cross-dresser, artist and art historian. He has practically become a hold house-name in England, and apart from his own work, he writes books about art and curates shows for museums. In 2002, the Stedelijk held a solo exhibition for him, which in turn made him a Turner Prize-winner the year after. He accepted the prize while in his cross dressing-persona Claire.

 

Further reading and video:
"The Thomb of the Unknown Craftsman"; Grayson Perry in the British Museum until 26 February 2012

http://www.channel4.com/programmes/in-the-best-possible-taste-grayson-perry/4od

 

Supplementary Design Show 2012 /Stedelijk Design Highlights


Monday, November 12, 2012

17 Rietveld's Foundation Year students visited the "Stedelijk Collection Higlights /Design" in the newly opened Stedelijk Museum. Marveling at some masterpieces of Interbellum design or surprised –a little further– by the Scandinavian design some of us know so well from our grandparents homes, we arrived at the last part of this "Depot Salon" wondering what a 2012 selection of Design could be.
Researching contemporary design we composed the "2012 Supplementary" which we present in this post. From the exhibit "Stedelijk Collection Higlights /Design" we all selected a personal best and made it the focus of the researches published as part of the project "Design-in-the-Stedelijk"

 



 


Poster No. 524 The Deconstruction of the Contemporary Poster


Sunday, November 11, 2012

For three months, Rianne Petter and René Put (teacher at Graphic Design) collected posters hung throughout the city of Amsterdam, a total of 523 different posters. They carefully studied and deconstructed this collection according to their most important features, researched certain elements such as text, image, color and composition, isolated and then reconstructed them to create new images. Poster No.524 makes clear how a creative research process works, and is designed so that more generalized meanings about posters and visual culture are made visible. Jeroen Boomgaard and Jouke Kleerebezem’s texts both deepen and contextualize Petter and Put’s individualistic approach, while at the same time exploring the historical meaning of posters in public space (including a history of poster design since 1900) [x]

The book > Poster No. 524 < presents their researches, revealing how a creative process unfolds, how art operates in public spaces and how one goes about creating a visual identity.

Material related to the project will be on display at the Rietveld library from Monday Nov. 26th till Dec. 5th /2012. The project was developed at the Research Group Art and Public Space at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie and the book is published by Valiz. They pursued this research with the support of a grant from Fonds BKVB.

Variations of the Incomplete Cubes 2D, Sol Lewitt


Friday, November 2, 2012

Sol LeWitt  „ Incomplete Open Cubes“:

In the 1960s, Sol LeWitt began to investigate the cube, one of the most basic geometric forms.

He started with the question: If you take an open cube and systematically subtract its parts, how many variations are possible? LeWitt identified a series of 122 unique open cubes with three edges (the minimum number needed to suggest three dimensions) to elven edges.

 

A choice is always a limitation.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

 

 

Guy Rombouts

 

Guy Rombouts (Geel, 1949) is een Belgisch beeldend kunstenaar.

Hij is opgeleid als drukker en heeft in de drukkerij van zijn familie en voor het Nieuwsblad van Geel gewerkt, tot hij in 1975 voor het kunstenaarschap koos. Sinds de jaren ‘70 werkte hij aan alternatieve communicatiesystemen. Zijn fascinatie met taal en letters leidde in 1983 tot het Drieletterwoordenboek.
Sinds 1986 werkte hij samen met Monica Droste (1958-1998), met wie hij ook trouwde. Samen met haar ontwikkelde hij het Azart-alfabet, met letters die een vorm in een lijn, een kleur en een geluid combineren. Op basis hiervan maakten zij een aantal, meest drie-dimensionale, kunstwerken. Het eerste werk waarmee zij bekendheid kregen buiten de kunstwereld, was het ontwerpen van de Letterbruggen (1994) op het Java-eiland te Amsterdam.
Ook na de dood van zijn echtgenote maakte hij werken, waarin het Azart-alfabet wordt gebruikt, zoals de Lettertuin (hersteld in 2006), bestaande uit betonnen “letters” in Burcht (Zwijndrecht) bij de Schelde.
Er bevinden zich enkele werken van Rombouts in het Museum van Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen (M HKA).

 

 

Azart alfabet

“Monica vond de naam Rombouts niet universeel genoeg. In een oude Franse tekst was ik het woord Azart tegengekomen. Dat woord kan verwijzen naar het alfabet en – via het Franse hasard – naar de arbitraire relatie van taal en werkelijkheid. Daar konden we beiden mee leven.” 

— Guy Rombouts

azart alfabet

 

A choice is always a limitation.

 

 

(more…)

[kh]


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

-Slavs and Tatars

Slavs and Tatars was born in 2006, devoted to the polemics and intimacies between the east side of the Berlin wall  and the west side of the Great wall of China,  in easy words ‘’Eurasia’’. The  group explores time relations between  Slavs, Caucasians and Central Asians, groups that belong those lands.

The beforehand mentioned collective has mainly language , architecture, politics, mystical stuff, etc… as the main focuses of their researches, practices and magazines,  but is possibly through the multiplicity of languages  around  Eurasia by which  Slavs and Tatars build connections between disparate subjects as new ideologies ,old histories and  some  places, is by this way that some cultural affinities and geographical identities arise from unexpected  places and  never minded sources . Its is by their great interest in language by which their work take place in the public space, trough institutions or media, to the public sphere.

Slavs and Tatars interest in Eurasia  because its relevant role politically, culturally and spiritually , It  position belonging two continents make  languages there played a big role in a practical, historical and sometimes  sacred way, (they point to some old  an recent mystical protests which are reflected in the changes of affinities and differences until nowadays).

Khhhhhhhhhh

In this edition  Slavs and Tatars seeks for  the changes of language ,across Eurasia ,from a close and personal  perspective, but at the same time understanding it  from a discreet distance. Their phrase  ’’ Times are changing , consequently the scales we use change ‘’ takes a real meaning with the idea of substitution which examines, rethink and self-discover  the role of mysticism in social revolutions, metaphysics of protest. It is under the name of ‘’ Khhhhhhh’’ by which they try to show these changes.

x, ? , ?  or  ? ,  all these belong  [Kh]”  but with almost different graphemes, sounds, roots and roles. We can considerer [kh] as a linguistic totem  who plays different iterations in different  languages across Eurasia, To begin I think is important to understand the phonetics of [kh], it begins in the  vocal tract , in a rasp over the throat ,is at this friction  where [kh] ends and other letters begin.

It is remarkable the role that [Kh] has in different languages, I can describe like an example the Persian word for house— (khaneh)— begins with [kh],  while other persian words also related to ‘’shelter/house ‘’  has the the [kh] like a beginning or beside it, okhraniat (to protect), kholia (care), khibarka (hovel) … khlev (cowshed [Kh] followed by [l], produces an entirely different meaning to a [kh] followed by [r]. Changing the [l] of the Russian  (khlam, junk), into an p [r: junk is sublimated and becomes (khram, shrine).

In some historical points languages get richer. New words brought by foreigners, neologisms forged by common parlance, among many others, It is at this point that [Kh] suffer certain transformations and get the acquisition of new multiple meanings. Certainly some ideas and stories from foreign lands bring new symbols, whose with the time becomes in letters , those  will have an  inherent correspondence between the sound—or shape—of itself (the letter )and its meaning, One example could be the eight letter of the Hebrew ”?” (chet), which in other languages becomes in almost  different symbols and letters, as examplesi can show:   Syriac «, Arabic ?  and Berber ?,  Greek Eta H, Latin H, Cyrillic ?, the remarkable part of this is that these letters are always regarding at some point to their real background, Hebrew ?  (chet),  like in the Hebrew these are positioned in the 8th position of its respective  alphabet.

serpentine (click over serpentine)

At this last point I would like me to show 2 names of interesting importance in the changes of languages across Eurasia, especially in the early 20th century, Velimir Khlebnikov  whose work connects cultural roots and linguistic ramifications, he did experiments with consonants ,nouns, and definitions spelled out in a simplest form, there  are some of its 1920s essays who mark a clear line  between what we considerer old readers and new, his work was classified as hermetic, incomprehensible:

The sun’s rays in the dark eye
of an ox
and on the wing of a blue fly,
like a wedding’s line dance
that streaked past above him.

And Rudolph Steiner, who searched  for a language of thought. He was looking for the process ‘’from the figure to the thought/ form ‘’, and how our bodies will be able to make a real union with one or another kind of being, something similar to this last statement could be turning the reading normal book into a manual and lately into an artist book, according to him it will lead to a ‘’high level of spiritual insight’’.

“Style, however, requires continuity of thought. Anyone setting out to write an essay and to write in style ought already to have his last sentence within the first. He should in fact pay even more attention to the last than to the first. And while he is writing his second sentence, he should have in mind the last but one. Only when he comes to the middle of his essay can he allow himself to concentrate on one sentence alone. If an author has a true feeling for style in prose, he will have the whole essay before him as he writes.”


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