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"photography" Category


content vs appearance?


Monday, January 30, 2017

In high school, my teachers always thought that the content of a book was more important than the appearance. I had to choose my books based on the texts inside of those. Opposite to what I was asked to do high school, in this Basicyear I was asked to choose a book on its graphic design. I was pretty surprised when I was told to because I am totally not used to do that. I liked the idea of it immediately. At the same time, I actually did not really get why we had to reflect a book’s appearance until we had this guest presentation of Elisabeth Klement, a teacher from the graphic design department in Rietveld. She showed lots of books where she did the graphic design for or just really liked. She told us that the content of a book is dependent on the looks of it and also the other way around.
So when I was wandering through the library, this specific peachy/sand/pink colored book caught my attention immediately. I remembered that Elisabeth showed this one in her presentation. I took it out of the shelves and saw this nice bold font on the front saying: ‘From A to K, Aglaia Konrad’

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The book is like an encyclopedia. In an alphabetically placed order, you go through a list of words which refer to the rapidly advancing process of urban globalization. The content is focused on the relationship of society and spaces and how they change. On the cover of the book, the letters and words A to K are spread playfully over the cover. The A and the K are echoing behind the title as big geometric shapes which remind me of modernistic buildings from the past 50 years. graphic designer Linda Van Deursen made the decisions about the fonts, the cover, and the initial layout. She created an architectonic feeling in all these choices. The co-designer of the book is Eva Heisterkamp, a freelancer who got this job from Linda because she thought the job would suit her.

Aglaia Konrad is an Austrian photographer. She has a fascination for architecture, urbanization and especially their transformation. This leads into rough photographs of abandoned buildings, unfinished constructions and city infrastructures without any human beings involved. She experiences architecture and urbanization as something overwhelming. Something elusive. It is not simply about architecture but about trying to understand space and how it becomes nature itself in at a certain point. She studies the signs and codes, actions, representations and meaning of the architectural system.
Last year she had a solo exhibition called ‘From A to K’ in Museum M in Leuven. Paired with this exhibition she decided to publish a book included all the terms referring to her studies in alphabetical order. The photos featured in the book are her works from 1950 on till now.

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Linda van Deursen acclaimed international fame. Together with Armand Mevis she established the graphic design studio Mevis & van Deursen in 1986. Linda Deursen has been head of the graphic design department at Gerrit Rietveld Academy from 2001 till 2014. She is a critic at Yale School of Art since 2003. The agency has done great things. For example identity projects, organizing events, exhibitions. One of their more recent projects is the logo and identity for Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. They were awarded for several art prizes as the Amsterdam Prize and the Grand Prix at The Brno Biennial
Recently they also design the printed version of the magazine South as a state of mind: DOCUMENTA 14.  A magazine which is being published four times biannually till the opening of the exhibition in Athens which is paired with documenta 14. The magazine could be seen as a manifestation included critique, art, literature and research.

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Eva Heisterkamp was a student of Gerrit Rietveld Academy, she graduated in 2007 in the TxT department. Joke Robaard was head of the department back then. After having worked for Mevis & van Deursen for four years she now became head designer of Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam. I was especially interested in her role in the whole design project I was wondering how much she had to say about the layout and division of the content. She answered me all my questions clearly in an email.

After analyzing this book the past few weeks, I could tell that the design of the book made the content stronger. Using Times Ten and Univers as main type fonts is very convincing. The fonts are formal but also a bit playful because they are a bit horizontally stretched. The empty space between the words refers to the emptiness of the decayed cities. The repetition of the words in alphabetical order refer to the repetition of modernistic buildings and the recurrence of urbanization. Every page has a vertical line placed on the left side, which accentuates the vertical aspect of modernistic cities where all buildings are raising to the sky. The book sometimes still seems under construction like cities themselves are. At one page you just see a row of O’s on the left side and a picture placed over what used to be ‘ the rest’ of the word which starts with an O. The pictures are most of the time black and white except for some pages. Eva herself decided which pages she wanted to be in color and which ones to be in black and white. There is also another book which is all printed in color but less editions of those were published.

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Aglaia selected the pictures per chapter. She communicated this to Linda and Eva. Eva told me that through the whole process a lot of things changed and she could decide a lot in the design process. For example this case she told me that the font size of the essays were smaller in the beginning. In the last correcting round, the authors of the texts disagreed with the font size. The whole layout shifted, which made it very hard to finish the book in time. I find it very remarkable and a bit funny that the title refers to an unfinished alphabet because the design itself also seems like ‘unfinished’. Eva noted that here and there are some mistakes been made in the design, but I think we will find it out ourselves.The content, the appearance and even the process were constantly progressing. It all was endlessly in juxtaposition. That’s why I think content and appearance are always dependent on each other.

 

Aglaia Konrad, from A to K /Rietveld library catalogue no : konr 2

Retracing, I swear I use no art at all


Friday, November 13, 2015

retracing

I enter the space and I know my mission.
I know that Today is my lucky day.
I’m heading up for something that interests and feels good to me, only one item is required.
It is an especially pleasing and reassuring occasion because I know what this place could do to me.
I love and hate this place.
As an example I know that I don’t know much, and this, adding a bit of curiosity, could keep me here for a couple of days.
Entering here I am well aware that words can trick, seduce, redeem or amaze people.
I remember that words are doors, that books are sleeping souls and that this open graveyard was once compared to a labyrinth, which indeed it is a sneaky way to describe a prison.
But today I’m blind from any content and this is my luck.
Thousands words laying down like disarmed soldiers, sleeping giants.
I’m blind and that’s the reason why I am wandering between bookshelves touching each spine, trying to use a different sense.

In this way I find the book, or the book shows itself to me.
Only by touching I read its title.
I open it  and I  feel the ink on its pages, the different kinds of paper used. It seems an attempt to remember something lost,it presents pictures in various format, it looks like dialogue between material. I still don’t know what this lost message is, after there is a text that I have not read yet. Anyway I am going to explore it now, trying to retrace it.

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Artist Rein Jelle Terpstra,
Book Retracing
Publisher Post Editions
Design, Studio Joost Grootens

17:45 12-11-2015

I am starting my research, I flipped twice every page of the book, still haven’t read the few written pages at the end. I am not doing so because I think it will probably be a sort of description of the work, and I would rather focus on the first part.
Like when facing a magician, you don’t want to know the trick from the beginning.
As well I want to keep being blind all those words cause this is why I choose this book, my research method.
Within its covering major capitals that protrudes through the grey linen cover, I can feel a dialogue, and I want to follow to it carefully.
It seems we are facing double track, series of thick deeply back matte pages are followed by glossy, light and shining ones, it is such for all the length of the book.
I figure out that the big thick black pages depict what it must have been a slideshow projection.
projection
In the dark of the room you can recognize the size of 35mm colour film slides projected on a wall, in the background emerge some objects like a desk and a chair. I have no clue what this slideshow is about, the diapositives depict snowy landscapes, flowers, tables.
The photos seems unrelated and the only thing I can feel is a taste as nostalgia and loneliness.
After few pages, this dark thick and deep side crash against a bright, clean and light one.
This new part is showing also some 35mm diapositives, but this time, thanks to the properties of the paper and the print, the images are clear and easy to watch. Still they are presented as part of a slideshow, and sometimes images are cut in half, leaving a white space before or after them.

Bright

For the whole length of the books these two part keep switching, dark and light pages alternate themselves, here you can see how.
If content of the pictures seems random I notice that the photos of one section reappear in the other, the slideshow must be about these 35 mm presented in the white side. My feelings are now confused. I feel like facing a reality (each photo) and being driven from a clear to a dark side of it continuously, as if we were inside a paradox,or like facing a duality a transition.
Like going form consciousness (white and clear pages) to oblivion (dark and blurry ones),from reality to memory.
All images show familiar, personal or peculiar places. I don’t know why the author made this double track, I don’t know why these and not other photos are in it and I don’t know why in this order. I need to know more, I wish I know more.

02:21 16-11-2015

I read the end of the book, everything sounds so funny to me now.
I discover why the book was and is so special to me, why I did chose it and indeed why I was so confused by the way is designed.
As described in the internet “Retracing’ is part of a wider investigation into perception, memory, photography, and the possibility of imagelessness. Rein Jelle Terpstra is working with people who are about to lose their eyesight. He has photographed images that are valuable to them on Kodachrome slides, with the promise to describe the prints after a few years very carefully in words, in an attempt to invoke the images in their heads through language. Earlier Terpstra made a slideshow installation with multiple projectors in which the light images of ‘Retracing’ slowly blend”.
The book that I chose blindly turned out being made for blind people, and it’s content try to describe how an image can disappear.
It simulate how our memories work but it is also an the attempt to save them. In fact Rein chose to make visible something impossible to visualize, to describe the process of disappearing while at the same time reverting it. She crystallize memories in order to give them back to their owner, to change the destiny of a memory while showing us how it can and does fade.
I said it sounded so funny to me because in a cynical way I think that my choice couldn’t be more natural.
Retracing came to me because of my research method, but the real magic lay in the fact that its design has been able to translate the content of the book into a material form. The design of the book, starting from its cover, where the letters of the title are almost invisible and only “vaguely looms out at a certain incidence of light”. The cover already speak about its content starting a tautological circle, the thickness and the quality of the paper, different for different papers and its printing methods.
Every element sustains the concept behind the books giving it a physicality.
Every detail is a confirmation  of the central statement and it strengthen its power.
I wish I know more about who designed the book, I know that his name is Joost Grootens, that he lives in Amsterdam and that following what internet says should look like this:

joost_grootens_portrait

 

01:32 18-11-2015
I still think how nice it is that a book can speak in so many ways.
For example  I have always appreciate old books, probably because you can feel that somebody (and not something) made it.
You can feel that the personal touch overcome its production, and I can wonder how much work and attention is behind every page.
In this way the page itself is becoming a medium behind the text or the information it is presenting. It feels that reading while touching such a book goes beyond its text.

22:24 19-11-2015
Today we had a meeting regarding our researches. I had more info regarding Grootens, for the entire meeting I had in my hands another book he designed, actually his own book, designed by himself for himself,
and it is GREAT.
I realize I should start a new post regarding this book but I will just say some words about “I SWEAR I USE NO ART AT ALL, 10 years, 100 books, 18788 pages of book design”, (in short ISIUNAAA).

ISIUNAAA_000_cover

First of all, it seems to me as the most rational and efficient work-related autobiography one can person can eventually make, for what I saw so far at least. In it are described all the works Joost made in the last 10 years, first presenting various charts regarding how his projects evolved, with whom, when and how.
As well he show a timeline about how each book or project was connected with others, describing why they were made or how they started, he present a map of the different studios where he worked, which and how many different kind of paper he used, all the kinds of binding methods, typeface, pictogram, pattern, grid and colour he chose for each book.
Here I decide to post some of these schemes and charters to make my amusement understandable.

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The book is a masterpiece of order and functionality, but without losing an intriguing physical effect.
As for RETRACING the book can speak for itself about itself without the use of words, intact in the last part Joost present some samples of the 18788 pages he made, but with a trick. He reverse the order of each page so where it should be written “apple” you will read  “elppa”, this on order to make the reader look at the design without the possibility of reading its content.

00:35 23-11-2015
I found myself thinking a lot about ISIUNAAA,and I am amazed about the attention the author placed in his book, as for the control he has over it and the power of a systematical method. I think Grootens must love his work and in his book his passion manifests powerfully. RETRACING is a vivid example of it and ISIUNAAA is its symbol. It is like an old book, the attention in making it help to create a new channel of communication.

3:09 30-11-2015
It is more than a week that I am collecting memories about the book I saw only for one afternoon.
In the last week I went to the city looking for Grootens magical book, no one has it but I finally found it in Denmark.
It arrived yesterday and I can’t escape from it.
This is the end.
My research end with the beginning of a new one.
I had one more proof how much books are powerful, how much they can speak depending on how much attention they received while making them. I understand that an almost maniacal approach can be useful if it explores carefully the possibility to best way for express an idea and I intend to use this approach for my future researches.
It is important to remember that the focus and attention in the phisical presentation of a work is essential for increasing its power and strength. I am very glad all this happen, I am glad RETRACING pushed me to RETRACE, claiming awareness screaming beneath an almost invisible but powerful surface.

Rietveld library catalog no : ter 1

 

There is no future, we create the past.


Monday, December 1, 2014

3 During the visit at the Boijmans Van Beuningen’s, between all the dresses who can melt and the one who construct themselves there where an UFO. Three little canvas on the wall of a red room , hidden by a giant costume referencing to the solar system. These three pictures were the work of Phyllis Galembo, the sample of an all life research about the ritual costumes and masks in Africa and the African Diaspora. This work was specially interesting not by the subject or the strong visual effect who drop out of these images but because it’s presented in the exhibition -The future of fashion is now- How can we related the future of fashion and a research about traditional costumes in Africa, who exist from centuries? We can relate this question with the work of Pablo Picasso who has been influenced with the first exhibition of african’s sculptures and masks in France and revolution the art history, but now is it still accurate? What is interesting about these traditional costumes is that they construct a bridge through the past and the future, pieces of art who travel between the ages, but the future of our own civilization is to look back in the past of other’s one or to build our own, now.

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Phyllis Galembo is an American artist, fine art photographer. Her work is now related from more than twenty-five years at the African masquerade and ritual clothing. her first travel to africa was in Nigeria in 1985 since she travel through the west and central africa and regularly to Haiti. She document with simple and sober portraits these ritual clothing/art pieces without adding any meanings, keeping them in there own environment. This is a really important part of her work because these costumes are already meaningful in a lot of different themes (religious ceremonies, secret society, rituals, spiritual meanings…) An other big part of her work is to create a relation with the members of the different tribes and then be able to be in contact with these sacred objects. Here we find another interesting relation with the exhibition at the Boijmans Van Beuningen’s. The relation between the creation of a new area for the fashion designer’s and the work of Phyllis, who don’t create a new idea of fashion but put in the podium an ancestral art. The attention of the spectator is fixed on the clothing on the pictures relate to the meaning of the exhibition and not the pictures themselves who are the work of the artist. The projector should’t be pointed on the creator of these art pieces, or is it the collaboration with the photographer who make them important for this theme -The future of fashion is now-

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These pictures were presented in the section “The (re)definition of the human figure”. It was the topic who interested me the most in the exhibition and also the one that disappointed me the most. The theme is so large and for me unxploited at all. Only the work of Pyuupiru (Tokio) “Mercurius” and the “Akata Masquerade” from the american photographer was relevant, even if my only wants was to see in real the costumes on the pictures.
The african traditional masquerade costumes are for me a door for a mystical world and also a question about the definition of the human being. These costumes are more than a redefinition of the human figure but a way to escape totally this human aspect, physically and spiritually. And maybe lead us to this question, why i was interested by this part of the exhibition, What is it to be human, Just a concept, are we just animals or is it something spiritual that we should be aware of, or search for?

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Untitled : September Issue


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Untitled September Magazine, by Paul Allman

 

In the book Untitled September Magazine by Paul Elliman designed by Julie Peeters, you can find about 600 pages of glossy magazine, including scans from Vogue amongst other brands that make the book indefinable in the first place. You have to go inside and try and read another kind of ‘text’, that is not said in words, but images, textures, and relations.

Note: Whilst working on the research, I made a box to transport the book, as transporting this big soft book without damaging it is impossible, there is a picture below. The box is a case of wood with felt on the inside, and the quote from ‘A September magazine’ (seen below) was laser-cut on the inside of the lid, in case that someone loses the paper. Before I started researching the book, the first instinct I had was to build the box, as a way to get more attached to the book, before getting into the details. The laser cut was added later on, as I thought it would be a nice addition to the box.

Untitled-2 cufsa Untitled-2
Untitled-2cufsa

The book was published in 2013, inside you find a collection of scanned pictures from magazines, which is important for the perception of the details of the images themselves. With this you can also even sometimes feel the texture of the print. Paul Elliman collected the images for many years, roughly 10 years. However, according to colleague Julie Peteers, nobody is really sure of how long Paul has been collecting. In the end, Paul Elliman had this collection of photos, as he is a designer/typographer, and assembled them.
Before the book was published, the images were presented in a different perspective, namely an exhibition of 2 posters. For example, a poster designed by Paul Elliman called I can no longer drink Tea, seen below, published by Colophon and Casco, as a contribution to the exhibition Latent Stare at Casco, Utrecht (link).
The book itself was a part of an exhibition by Paul, hosted in the MOMA in 2012, and the book was presented as one of the objects.

 

 

He exhibited the Paul Elliman at MOMA book lying on the floor

lying next to a brick with the same measurements as the book. The effect of this is that the nature of the book is not a book anymore, but it has transformed into an object that is treated more like a sculpture of a book, with insides physically visible as details of a sculpture.

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I can no longer drink tea, Paul Elliman for Casco

 

Paul Elliman joined with Julie Peeters to put all these images together. In the beginning there were a lot more images, but they had to select images one bye one, to determine which pictures would make the cut. The major work was that they put the images together one by one, and make decisions about what details, rhythms, forms, or psychological relationships would exist or were created. At the first glance, the book is very thick, which is also the reason for the name September Magazine, which comes from a concept belonging to Vogue. Vogue would always publish their thick winter issue in September, which resulted in Julie and Paul deciding to imitate this magazine structure. For example, you have foldout pages of certain images that are similar pages to that of the magazine in Vogue. Unlike a magazine, the structure is very different. There are no constrictions, descriptions, texts, or information anywhere on the pages, as the pages are exclusively close up shots of picture scans. However, uncharacteristic photos in the book are sometimes seen, like pornography, or ‘disgusting’ images. That gives a different tone to the book, totally different from a fashion magazine. And after a time, after seeing relationships in the pages, it is like seeing storyboards between pictures that create a rhythm from one picture to the next. Because the book is mostly about fashion, humans, and society, Paul and Julie managed to reshape the human form as it where, with strange oppositions.

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After studying and ‘reading ‘the book many times, you see types of languages or feelings that you can interpret in your own way, each their own. There are parts of shapes and combinations of close-up parts and bodies, put together in a certain way, that create movement. It makes you want to flip the page, until you have seen all the images. The only piece of text that was found in the book was a small quote on a note between the first pages that supports this feeling:

It lives, it breathes, it gives off – fragrance?
I don’t know what it gives, a vibration that
we can not name because there is no name for it;
even when my patron said “name it”;
there is no name

-       HD, A September magazine

To conclude; Untitled September Magazine is a collection of images of magazine scans details that are put together in such a specific way, that you start to see relationships, patterns, and rhythms that together form a unique feeling of an exhibition, rather than a normal book.[x]

 

Rietveld library catalog no : ell 1

 
if you want to read more on paul Elliman [link]

A Photograph Revolution


Sunday, October 19, 2014

 

Among all of the recent books in the Rietveld Academie library, Boy Politics particularly appealed to me for its very peculiar aspect and design. It is a bit damaged and looks very breakable which gives it a feeling of preciousness, emphasized by the fact that it is a unique copy. At first I had decided to go see what it looked like because the title was very evocative to me and seemed like a topic I would want to read about. I am interested in the theme of gender and particularly male domination in different cultures and have often questioned it in my work last year in my art school in France. The boy figure, what is expected from a boy and how deeply these expectations and behaviors are attached to a culture and collective unconsciousness.

This book was my first glimpse of the tip of the iceberg that are Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos’ collaborative projects.

 

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Boy Politics, Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos

 

Marc Roig Blesa and Rogier Delfos are two former students of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. Both graduated in 2009 ; Blesa from VAV and Delfos from graphic design. They have been working together ever since between Barcelona and Amsterdam. From 14/05/13 to 07/06/13 they held an exhibition at Rietveld library where they exposed a selection of Blesa’s secondhand books in a window display, opened at a certain page. It was a mute and powerful visual essay of the figure of the boy throughout images from the 1920′s to the 1990′s. Later on, two other former students of the Academie (Anton Stuckhard and Andrea Sergio) designed Boy Politics, a book that archives this exhibition in a very efficient manner that, to my opinion, is really coherent to the way Blesa and Delfos work. Without any fuss, they encapsulated the spirit of what was the starting point of a larger project that Blesa and Delfos have been working on ever since : « Werker ».

 

Boypolitics1

 

Werker magazine is a long term project and concept that asks many questions and got more and more complex over time. There are 8 different werker projects but usually more than one edition by project.

The artists define them as « contextual publications about photography and labor that inquire into the possibility of formulating a contemporary representation of work » They are all mute analysis of a situation that they try to depict in a most objective manner as possible. They are often the following or addition to an event (exhibition, lecture…) like for Boy Politics. Werker 2, for example, was realized for the exhibition « 1979, A Monument to Radical Instants » in the Virrena Centre de la Imatge of Barcelona (2011), dealing with the issues of daily life in crisis of working class young men. Knowing that photography is the medium that communicates best the essence of a situation, Blesa and Delfos have realized a very accurate observation of several situations.

 

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An example of that accuracy is the « Cinema Diary » edition of Werker 6 (that you can find in San Serriffe book store, along with other Werker issues. It is « a collection of photo diaries that reflect on the current working conditions of the youth through self-representation and amateur photography. » It is the summary of a young artist’s (Matthijs Diederiks) side job at a Pathé cinema. In this small book (x) from which the cover is handwritten by Diederiks, you can find an extract of his working contract and meaningfulness in the lost time of a very boring job.

 

Werker is the story of how graphic design and art meet through photography (amateur photography, secondhand books images, internet pictures…) aiming to deliver a message : Images have power and that power is into the wrong hands, the people must take it back. Blesa and Delfos are indeed strongly politically engaged with revolutionary ambitions.
Let’s focus on « Werker 7 : the language of revolution ». This exhibition followed by an edition of newspaper (once with and once without image) was inspired by the words of Ariella Azoulay in a lecture she gave at the museu d’art contemporani de Barcelona in 2011 in which she did an analysis of Egypt’s revolution through images from the internet (you can find her lecture here : x). Werker 7 questions the revolutionary image, the revolutionary language, the role of mass-media in all this and the function carried out by photography in construction of a global revolutionary language. All the images chosen for that project were found on the internet.

 

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Werker takes its name from the « Worker Photography Movement » :  a group of amateur photographers that appeared in Germany in the 1920’s, following the steps of the first socialist photography experiences in the USSR which extended into the rest of Europe, the USA and Japan. The first group of amateur photographers to use the camera as a tool to fight class-struggle. When I found out about this origin, the work of Blesa and Delfos came clear to me to its full extent. Werker 3 is a « political kitchen calendar » developed within the « grand domestic revolution – user’s manual », a long term living research initiated by casco office for art, design and theory in Utrecht. it is a call for students, artists, domestic workers (and so on) to contribute to the collective gathering of materials. A call for amateur photography as an observation of domestic space. The assignment was « Think politically of your domestic space and contribute to Werker 3 ».

 

Werker-3_h900

 

Finally, I found in the « Cinema Diary » an extract from the book Der Arbeiter-Fotograf from Willi Münzenberg (1931) that I thought was very relevant to Delfos and Blesa’s approach, aims and tasks.

« Photography has become an indispensable and outstanding means of propaganda in the revolutionary class struggle. (…) For an illustrated book is easier to read (…) than the lead article of a political daily. Photography works on the human eye (…) the bourgeoisie caters for the mental laziness of the masses and also makes a lot of money. (…) Much more important is the political effect (…) a skillful editor can falsify every photograph into its opposite and can influence the politically naive reader. (…) The revolutionary workers of all countries have to realize these facts very clearly. They have to fight the class enemy with all means. Just as the workers of the Soviet Union have learned to make their own machine-tools (…) the proletarian amateur photographers have to learn to master the camera and to use it correctly in the international class struggle. »

Delfos and Blesa’s aim and ambition : an anti-propaganda revolution guided by photography.

Rietveld library catalog no : roi 1

Can one have a conversation with an artist who is no longer living?


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

 

DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY DIY

front page

 
HOW TO MAKE A CATALOG
 

Sterling Ruby [x] / Robert Mapplethorpe [x]

Designer Rutger Fuchs, living and working in Amsterdam [x] [x]

 

Prep time: 1-2 months
Cooking time: 2-3 months
Total time: approx. 3-5 months

 

copies : approx. 1000 [x]

 

Before you start you need to collect a few people to work with.
Besides that you will need:

-       Corporate identity for Xavier Hufkens [x]

  • Typeface: Swift* by Gerard Unger [x]

-       Pictures of art work/photography

-       Pictures from the exhibition [x]

-       Exhibition notes by Sterling Ruby

-       Essay by Ed Schad

-       Gold coated mirror board (spiegelkarton)

-       Red ink

-       Printing Press

 

When you have found just the right team you collect all the images and structure them. Arrange them as you would hang the exhibition. Make sure that the pictures correspond to eachother. It is crucial to recreate the dialogue between the works, as seen in the exhibition. (A tip: start out with the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe and make Ruby’s works react to that afterwards – it works for me, but play along until you established the dialogue within.)

 

Then you add a good portion of graphic skills and mix it all up. When that is done, go through the content once again. Does it give you a feeling of entering the actual exhibition? Does the pictures relate to each other? Is the answer yes, please continue to the following step. If not, please go one step back and rearrange until you are satisfied with the result.

 

Now comes the difficult part – time to press the cover. Here you will need to add a lot of patience and some overwork. First you start out by printing the red title on the front cover. Print it twice to keep the typeface in place. The material is very easy to damage, so be careful to avoid scratches when you uses the printing machine. When the title is printed on successfully and you are happy with the outcome you let it dry. Leave it to dry for a couple of days to make sure the ink is completely dry. (Tip: try to avoid touching the red ink while drying. It might ruin the cover and you will have to do it over again.)

 

After this you end up with the final result, which should measure approx. 21,4 cm. broad, 26,4 cm. long and 1 cm. thick. This size will make it more suitable for shipping to collectors, friends etc.

 

Hope you’re happy with your result – enjoy your catalog!

 

* Swift (1985) This typeface has proved its worth in corporate identities, magazines and newspapers and occasionally in books — it is a versatile type and can be used in a wide range of circumstances. It is a striking type, with large serifs, large counters and letters that produce a particularly strong horizontal impression. This means that words and lines in Swift are easily distinguished, even where there are large spaces between words, as can occur in newsprint. Swift’s large, robust counters were designed to improve legibility particularly in newspapers. It was designed in the early eighties, when papers were less well printed than they are today, and its special features help it survive on grey, rough paper printed on fast rotary presses. Today it is used more often outside newspapers than in. The current Swift (1995) is an improved version with technical and aesthetic enhancements, and has been expanded into a family of twenty-four variants.

 

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BONUS INFO

A catalog representing an exhibition [x] of Sterling Ruby (American artist 1972) engaging with the photography of Robert Mapplethorpe (American photographer 1946 – 1989).

“Can one have a conversation with an artist who is no longer living? What is the nature of autobiography and biography? Why is psychoanalyzing Robert Mapplethorpe so compelling?”

These are some of the questions Ruby has been working with towards creating a whole new line of works.

all_rights_reserved_xavier_hufkens4MAPP-522-1980

 

“In a way, one can say that, while Mapplethorpe captured surface transgressions, Ruby’s response has been to take the inside outside and shove it in our faces.”  [x]

 

exhibitionSterlingRuby2

 

The catalog itself catches your eye right away with its reflecting golden cover and the red stained typography in the front. I wanted to figure out why especially this shiny cover caught my attention and found this phrase online:

“We have long been obsessed by shiny objects – from the latest glimmering gold iPhone to the sheen of a pair of high heels. … It is humbling to acknowledge that despite our sophistication and progress as a species, we are still drawn to things that serve our innate needs–in this case, the need for water.” [x]

 

Rietveld library catalog no : map 6

The different similar.


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

William Eggleston’s Guide.

Photographer: William Eggleston.

Author: John Szarkowski.

_______________________________________

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Brohm Areal.

Book concept: Joachim Brohm

layout, typeset: Heike Nehl_moniteurs, Berlin

_______________________________________

 

William Eggleston’s Guide is an intriguing photography book. the pictures come from the first one-man show of color photographs ever presented at The Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the Museum’s first publication of color photography. The book i am going to talk about is a reprint of the original from 1976, the books are very similar accept that the new plates have been made from digital scans from William Eggleston’s original 35mm Transparencies.

  The first thing you probably notice is that the book is bound in a textured cover inset with a photograph of a tricycle and stamped with yearbook-style gold lettering. this makes it noticeable when let’s say it’s laying on the table, it is hard to overlook and invites you to open it. The book starts with a essay by John Szarkowski on coloured green pages with thick black letters. After the essay follows the series of 48 photographs from William Eggleston’s home town and surroundings. On every page there is one pictures on the right and a small description on the left. The photographs are completely isolated from each other. The thing that struck me was the placement of the pictures on the page. Although most of them are central placed on the page some of them are placed in such a way that they could continue on the blank paper. Overall the design is a bit bland and not to exciting.

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When I was in Germany, I went to the “Museum der bildenden künste leipzig”. In the book store of the museum I came across a book from Joachim Brohm and printed by Steidl called ‘Areal’. This Photography book reminded me of William Eggleston’s Guide, and i immediately saw a connection between the two books, so i bought it. Joachim Brohm undertook a photo-urban project of long-term observation. for roughly a decade, from 1992 to 2002, he took photographs of the same location- on the outskirts of a german city as it was being redeveloped from a 1950′s commercial/industrial district into a gentrified post-industrial services center and living area. In a meditative return, Borhm cartographically captured the premises, their buildings and materials, chronologically documenting the changes and developments during this period. Brohm’s pictorial idiom-characterized by a dissolved center, layering and compositions referring to the continuation of space beyond the picture’s limits-is both documentary and deconstructive. So where ‘William Eggleston’s Guide’ photographs seem too continue on the pages of the book, the photographs in ‘Areal’ refer to the continuation of space.

What I found interesting is the way you can see this in the book design. ‘Areal’ is a very “clean” book with big images of which most are placed in landscape, So you need to turn the book too see them. underneath the images there are numbers existing out of the year the photo is taken followed by to others. In the middle of the book there is a index with a overview of all the  numbers. I like how the two books work together, although there is not a real connection between the two, they feel really similar, content-wise but also design-wise. There is a certain emptiness or void that fill these books, if you open them you get a kind of sad feeling inside but it is hard to figure out what that is. Like a cross between melancholy and sentimental, but not only the photographs give you this impression but the whole design of the books as well.

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Rietveld library catalog no : egg 2

Fiction and Non-Fiction


Monday, September 1, 2014

fiction and non-fiction

How fiction and non-fiction communicate with each other has always been at stake in my work. I work with an intimate approach of filming, I am interested in exploring how as an artist or video maker I can relate to my own reality, more precisely to the people from my surroundings. I made few videos that dealt with my family for instance.
In my work Playing the Father, the Son, I tried to reconstruct a story from Marcel Pagnol with my father. Through the process of filming I realized that I was mostly interested by the act of making, the experience of trying to construct a story and the interaction between my father (as the subject of my film) and me (the filmmaker). In the editing I decided to reveal the making of scenes, the “behind the stage” and other conversations that my father and me would have around the fictional dialogues. The characters of the book were mixed with the characters we embody in real life, these two realities were ambiguously confronting.

Screen Shot 2016-11-2372dpi

I am telling my father that I like him through the dialogue of Marius, the character of Pagnol’s play. Play movie on Vimeo

...film still from 'Playing The Father, The Son' ©2014.

 

Autobiography in its broadest sense

Autobiographies, meaning self-writing, is a genre of the Modern era that emerged in the 18th century, influenced by the humanists ideas and followed by the romantics of the 19th century. At these times, the self and the individual were considered as the center of interest. In its tradition, autobiography was a quite narrow genre reserved for bourgeois, well-educated intellectuals. It was reserved for people having the ability to write, read and considered as being of importance for their time. Through history, as education, this genre become accessible to everyone, from every background in the written form but also in the art field.

The autobiographical project implies notions as authenticity, subjectivity, reality and fiction. We will see in this text that these concepts have been profoundly re-evaluated in the mid 20th century, changing the perception of the world and art.

We can see nowadays a revival of the autobiographical practice with artists as Sophie Calle [x] or Maiwenn [x] that I will refer to in my thesis. Committing themselves to a life narration, incorporating intimacy, personal stories, they take part in the innovation and the contribution of the development of this practice.

In my thesis I like to use the term “autobiography” in its broadest sense, to open it to a genre where art from many disciplines plays with this act of narrating a life story. I like to reconsider the traditional aspect of this practice, question the perception of this tradition and its relevance, to finally think about the necessity nowadays of artists to embark on the autobiographical project.

 

cover_thesis2_shaded download this thesis by Erika Roux
all rights to this thesis are property of the author © 2014

 

 

The studio of Karel Martens


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

 

I had my worries walking around the book shelves in the art book shop San Serriffe. I didn’t know anything about art books how to look at them and how to look at the design.
I skipped though some books but didn’t find them interesting. Then I saw a cover that caught my attention. I didn’t know the artist but I was enchanted by the simplicity of the graphic black-and-white book cover with Japanese text on the side and the title ‘Full color’. The size of the book felt a bit small in my hand, handy and easy to flick through the pages.
I turned the first page and discovered a colorful photo showing a bookshelf filled up with paper rolls and used fruit boxes properly containing more papers. The photo only shows a small part of the room but on the following pages the panorama of the room which turns out to be an art studio is shown. Page by page I was guided into the head of a graphic designer’s studio.

 

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It turned out to be the head of the Dutch graphic designer Karel Martens. He is specialized in typography, working with prints and books.

After his studies at the School of Art at Arnhem in 1961, he became a freelance graphic designer.

Since 1977 he has been teaching in graphic design at his old school in Arnhem and at the Jan van Eyck Academie in Maastricht. He is now working as a supervisor at the master-program Werkplaats Typografie [x] together with Armand Mevis. This program is based on practical assignments and self-initiated projects. It also works as a meeting place for graphic designers.

 

The book ‘Full color’ which is showing Martens’ studio was published on the occasion of the exhibition KM, Ginza graphic gallery in Tokyo in May 2013 [published by Roma Publications].

With the information about the artist and his work I started to look deeper into the book.

The photos by Johannes Schwartz are divided into 4 parts by the graphic designer Julie Peters together with Martens himself.

 

 

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The first part contains photos from the artists’ studio. They seem to form a long panorama, cut up and organized so you see some parts of a room at one photo and the second part of the room at the next photo. This way of organizing the photos gives you the impression of flashbacks and even more if you already know his work.

The next part is Martens’ archive, collected in boxes from the bookshelves. Here you look directly into the boxes which contain sketches, illustrations and prints of the artist. If you look at the prints you’ll find some of the shapes recognizable. When you flick through the book you get the impression of a system of colors and shapes which are being repeated. An example of that could be the small industrial metal pieces which shapes are to found on some of Marten’s prints. It seems like the editing of the book creates some sort of pattern – just like Marten’s prints.

 

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The third part is a close up of Martens kinetic work with clocks seeing from behind. A study about composition and color, by printing a dot pattern on two glass disks and attaching the disks to the second and minute hands of a clock. The chose of photographing the clocks from behind is again a way to show the process from his work.

The last pages in the book are writings by David Senior and Martens him self. The text is in English and Japanese describing the project around the book and the work of Martens.

One thing I was wondering about was why Martens choose to have a graphic designer on this book when he himself makes books. I asked Johannes Schwartz about that and he told me that the making of this book includes a close co-operation between all 3 artists. This book does not only work as a documentation of an artist. Not only the contents of the book tells about the artist and his work but also the editing is very important.

The result is this fascinating portrait which gives you a good insight knowledge of Martens’ visual language.
If you are curious for more please check one of his other books “Karel Martens: printed matter/drukwerk, 2nd Edition” which contains a big amount of exhibitions, art works and articles he have been taking part in. This book gives you a good insight into Martens’ environment and way of working too.

Rietveld library catalog no: marte 1

cover back

Wolfgang Tillmans : One’s Own Master


Monday, December 9, 2013

Wolfgang Tillmans, (born August 16th, 1968), is, perhaps, known today as one of the most renowned contemporary fine art photographers. He is known as the “documentarian of his generation”, and is much regarded among his peers and contemporaries.

If you have ever encountered Tillmans’ work, whether that might be a single photograph, a spread of his photographs published in a magazine, a book or an installation, the ‘taste’ and presence of the artist himself is inevitable.
It is clear in the presentation of his work, that Tillmans ignores the traditional separation of art exhibited in a gallery from images and ideas conveyed through other forms of publication and presentation, and more importantly is giving equal weight to both.

wolfgang-tillmans-installation-view-serpentine-gallery-london-c

In an interview with Nathan Kernan, Tillmans is reported saying:

“I guess I could have an easier life if I didn’t care so much about all the different manifestations of an image, if I didn’t care about making the prints myself or in my studio, but somehow I see that as being part of my work, and the time spent dealing with a print is also time spent with the work. I understand my work better through this process.”

What stroke me at first as surprising and unusual, was that the artist is designing a book, or better to say is containing his own work, that at first might not have had the intention of being presented in that format. That is actually quite innate to Tillmans.
Through a more dedicated research and engagement with his work I have come to realize that it is quite natural for me to grasp that he, in fact, does design end edit his books himself.

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Concretely, I have found myself acquainted with three of Tillman’s books: Burg, Truth Study Centre and Neue Welt. Burg being the first of the three was published in 1998, and Neue Welt the latest, published in 2012.
All of the three, were published by German publishing house TASCHEN.
Although one might think that having such a big house as TASCHEN publishing your work would almost completely strip you of your creative role in the design of a book, Tillmans stated in an interview [link to full interview], that on the contrary, he has full creative control over the design and content of his books.

The a fore mentioned book, Burg, is a bit larger in format than the latter two, which, on the other hand, incidentally almost completely resemble each other. They were published with the gap of eight years, however if we judge purely by “outside” traits, Truth Study Center and Neue Welt are ‘fraternal’ twin sisters.

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Unlike Burg, they are both soft-covered and their front cover is completely wrapped with a single photograph, and the author and the title are stated in the same white colored typeface, although the font size of the Truth Study Center is significantly bigger than that of Neue Welt. At the bottom center of the cover states TASCHEN, the publisher.

The spines of the books are, also, both white and use the same typeface, as that of the front cover.

The back cover is, in both cases, a different photograph than that of the front cover.

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In spite of the slight differences, all of the afore mentioned books seem to share the same design principle. They either start or finish with an accompanying essay or an interview on Tillmans and his work, with the text pages being ‘interrupted’ or ‘accompanied’ with smaller scaled images of Tillmans’ work as if to kind of visually demonstrate the written content of the text, that being the case in Burg and Truth Study Center. The two mentioned, as well, end with listings of Tillmans’ biography and curriculum vitae, bibliography and words of acknowledgement and gratitude.
However, the newest of them, Neue Welt seems to have ‘cleaned out’ the ‘unnecessary’

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information even more, as only the very last page contains publishing information.
What is, also, unique to Neue Welt is that this book has both front and back cover flaps inside which is printed the index of all of the book pages. Except for the pages with the interview, in this book there is not one single spread that does not contain photographic image, from the front to back cover.

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Tillmans does not view books as collections/ archives of his work but as exhibition space in themselves. Neue Welt is constructed and should be viewed more as an installation of Tillmans work than a regular book. Whilst browsing through the book (Neue Welt) the white space of the paper becomes equivalent to the white walls of a gallery/ museum. Tillmans designed the book in a same manner he would curate his exhibition. All of the photographs are carefully scaled and placed, not only to be true to the artists style but to give them proper space and interrelation to bring out the best of them and to create a strong work as a whole.

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Interacting with the Neue Welt the holder starts to relate to it and think of it as a sort of portable exhibition.

The way it is designed, the viewer is not only challenged to engage with each singular picture or a narrative that is usually expected in photo-books, but with the connections Tillmans creates between the photographs. Having that in mind, holding his book in your hands feels almost like a privilege. The same kind of privilege one feels when one sees an exhibition of an artist’s work.

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Engaging with these books, for me it was very interesting to see how they become a work of art in itself, through process of design. Although, as a viewer you have the liberty to observe every single image in depth, it is in a way impossible to ignore the whole structure and rhythm of a book as a whole. The artist’s language and modus operandi is inevitable. I ascribe this to the fact that it was the artist himself who designed his books.

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During my studies at the Rietveld Academie, I have myself had the chance to be a designer of my own books, and it was whilst working with the photographic content of my own that I learned how differently does this content work in the medium of a book. The format and structure of a book give the content a new meaning and experience than observing it as single, or even series of photographs printed and pasted on a wall.

I am of the opinion, that it is the artist personal involvement and connection to the content, while designing it that creates this special flavor of the book and it would be interesting to see the direction in which book design would go if more and more artists were designing books on their work themselves.

More on Wolfgang Tillmans and Neue Welt:

http://tillmans.co.uk/

http://www.americansuburbx.com/2013/01/review-wolfgang-tillmans-neue-welt-new-world-2012.html

 

Rietveld library catalog no: til 3 and til 1

Neue Welt has unfortunately not yet been acquired by the Rietveld Library, but is author's own.

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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Rietveld library catalog no: magazine

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

OH LA LA I WANT YOU


Monday, May 13, 2013

this time i dont have time for pretty small talk my eyes are hurting i slept i dont know 2 hours been at school drawing and making stuff all day even though im still sick and should be in bed but i cant cause assessments are coming soon. besides i read my last text and even though it was also written over one night i still kind of got ashamed cause it felt so pretentious and i hated this side of me that always pops up (stomp on it!!). so i just wanna find something quick to get this shit done, so what do i write about fine ill write about japan, i like japan, japan is interesting japan is fine. but i forgot to borrow the book of course so i have to make some shit up i guess? or what do i do
or wait i can go into the library online from my laptop at home while laying in bed in my pyjamas eating icecream awesome.
japanjapanjapn what do i find i want something crazy something wild to prove that i’m not boring or pretentious or just to have fun and not think too much while writing i guess now i find this book about araki and i guess that could be something cause i really hate that guy. sexist disgusting fuck. i remember when me and sara did our art coup in gamleby and he was one of our main targets.
here’s what happened: we snuck out early in the morning, completely overexcited and got into the school before everyone else. then we put up the speakers with the music blasting loud, and all the pictures of the most disgusting slimy sexist art ever made rolling in the worst slideshow made in history, BAM on a big screen in the entrance hall. (not that it actually was the worst slideshow made in history, i think rather that it was one of the best slideshow ever produced by humankind. only the pictures were the sleaziest).
it was araki micke berg araki araki anders zorn all these sexist artists (araki) portraying naked passive women as muses, all rolling around in our awesome slideshow to the sound of the most sleaziest sexist singer of them all: ULF LUNDELL.

the song was OH LA LA JAG VILL HA DIG /
 
OH
LA
LA
I WANT YOU

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YES THAT’S RIGHT
when the first students entered the school early in the morning they could hear the music and see the flashing lights from faraway. it was like a bomb

and we were invincible

anyway, araki. i still really hate that guy.

Rietveld Library cat.nr: arak 2

 

What does it mean?


Sunday, April 28, 2013

If you start a research without the desire to find anything does the result have any meaning? I think the purpose of this last research was to assemble all the pieces. Find a sense to this sometimes automatic, sometimes random, book hunting. When you are finally looking for the meaning behind your actions, I deeply think you actually limit yourself. Think about looking for the ultimate solution to all your trouble is probably one of the most stressing action. This time I walk around this books with actually no desire to find anything. Your eyes go around with this emotionless sensation toward the object you are looking at. Of course this is an assignment so I tried to respect the rules. Look for the words my other research led me too. I knew before entering this will be pointless.

 

Them let the meaning behind and let’s act past forward. The art section is now open to me. The first choice I ever did during this assignment is them accessible. And there is actually nothing that I can find today, which match more word in my head. This a book about Jacques-Henri Lartigues. This is a name I for long hear, but I could not related any image to it. And if during the past assignment the purpose was to describe our research, as a results it is here in the content that the sense appear. Why this book sounded interesting to me in the first place is quiet easy to understand. The name remind me of something. The tittle is french as well and probably could be link to some nostalgia i felt them. But if all the element are quiet random and actually boring the content offer an ultimate and unexpected resolution to the research.

 

Jacques-Henri Lartigues, have been an amateur photograph during all his life. From the age of 8 when his father offer the young boy, his first camera. The desire of taking image never left Lartigue. It is though only as a painter that he was well know during most of his life. The picture stayed a passion. An habits practice and repeat as an amateur. The meaning was kept by himself only.

 

The black and white image reveal a pure and simple beauty. Because at any moment this poet had no idea of the work he was making. It is as a “Flaneur” that he keep wonder around taking image after image out of the reality. There is nothing else to say from here, my choice might not been issue from the word it should have been, but the results couldn’t be more relevant.

But why to my eyes this is the case is not to explain. I discover trough a random research across words and envy, something I’m really glad to have in my hands. A piece of a life I never knew of. A unique expression of poetry as my eyes can read it.

Rietveld Library cat.nr: 761* lar 2

Paul Schuitema


Sunday, November 18, 2012
When I presented the designer I selected to write about to my teacher, and mentioned the fact that it was difficult to find information about him even at the libraries, he asked me to think of what made me chose Paul Schuitema and not one other of his contemporaries like Moholy-Nagy or Piet Zwart.
Actually the answer is quite simple. When I first entered the exhibition I was very impressed of how the museum chose to present his work, as if it was a work in progress in his studio. The presentation consisted of repetition, cuts, different papers, drawings, different tryouts, and sketches, all very obsessive and concentrated, almost like a mechanical machine.

 

Of course, all of this made sense immediately as I read that he lived in the time of industrialization and mass production after World War 1 and was inspired and worked with the ideas of the Russian constructivism, the Dutch DeStijl, German Bauhaus and “New Objectivity”. But still, first I was a bit startled. I tried to look for something else because I thought, like my teacher also said, that photography is as such an autonomous medium so in not very many cases it can be seen and understood as design. Than I understood that he uses images as “Applied or Useful Photography” – cutting and organizing them with pieces of text, creating a sort of collage for posters and advertisements – using the techniques and aesthetics of Graphic Design.

I knew he had links with the Bauhaus and the “New Objectivity” movement and I found the names of the other better known designers of his time, but there was nothing mentioned about Paul Schuitema. Finally, after reading about all the theories from Weimar, I found some scanned pages from the english vesion of the book “Visual Organizer”.

Soon I discovered that he was not only a graphic designer, but also a furniture designer, a photographer, and a typographer. He studied Drawing and Figurative painting at the Academie voor  Beeldende Kunsten in Rotterdam. He was a member of Kurt Schwitters’ “Circle of New Designers”. In 1931 he designed the poster for an exhibition at the Stedelijk Museum (which displays names such as  Moholy-Nagy, Herbert Beyer, Karl Teige. Lajos Kassak, Jan Tschichold, Piet Zwart, Cesar Domela and himself) and yet despite the seeming fact that in his time he was a well known advertisement designer, today people seem to have forgotten him.

 

       Exhibition Poster       Berkel  Berkel

 

In the early ‘20s he had to perform building-jobs to support himself. This is the moment when he got in contact with the working class. This was soon to be a big influence upon his works. Berkel is mentioned as being the first who gave Schuitema the opportunity to work on graphic design. And here comes the moment when the photographs he uses becomes as important as typography in advertising a product. At first he worked with professional photographers, but because of their ‘artistic’ approach they couldn’t catch the simplicity of the subject as Schuitema wanted it, so he had to learn to use the camera, and all the techniques included, so he could get rid of the decoration and aesthetics and created his own photography.

“If you become more of an expert yourself, and if you are also creative, your work will only get better” Schuitema once said.

 

  Photography

 

His contemporaries understood his wish to abandon any form of decoration in his prints, and saw his works becoming as sober and direct as he himself. Schuitema used the spatial effect of text by printing one on top of the other (only san-serif’s), simplicity, asymmetry and contrast such as horizontals, verticals, and diagonals, juxtaposed. Applying narrow, bold, small or big letters, mostly red, black, white, and sometimes blue, colors he managed to create dynamic covers. In relation to this process his images are not only illustrations or symbols or decorations, which accompany texts, but represent an organically linked body of work.

“You sought automatically for unity of text and image. This is also the reason why you printed the letters on the photo, then you got at least one optical occurrence. A red text on a black and white photo, a black text on a red picture.”

PUSHING THE LIMITS


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

 

We didn’t ask the school, we sent Linda (Linda Van Deursen, head of graphic design department, red.) a mail to say what we needed, but yeah after that I don’t think we had any contact with the school again.” Niels smiles.

I’m sitting in the studio of two of the leading fashion photographers in the world, that of Auschka Blommers and Niels Schumm, sipping a coffee that Anuschka made for me.

“Well, it was our idea to use Rietveld students”, Niels explains when I ask them who decided to make the reportage, “It was the Art Director who wanted a street casting and COS was very sceptical to it at first. But it’s always a bit tricky to go out on the streets to find models; they are always staying only for a few days in the country or can’t make it for some other reason. So it was easier for us to pick students from Rietveld. Besides it felt more like a real group, closer to us somehow. We all knew about each other, so that makes it easier to work together.”

What we are talking about is the latest collaboration Anuschka and Niels had with COS, a smaller brand originally an offspring from H&M, with their new lookbook for 2012.

So they started with a casting, asking and selecting fifteen people from the school, of which ten pictures were chosen to be viewed by COS, who then picked out seven of them to be in the magazine.

“But yeah, they see something else than we do” Anuschka explains, “where we see portraits, they see too much blonds. Or too pail skin. Or not enough guys, and so forth.”

 

I find it interesting that Anuschka and Niels, being former students and employees at the Rietveld, are doing a lookbook for a commercial fashion brand where they make use of Rietveld students without consulting the academy. In this way, Rietveld is portrayed almost as a product, rather than an art school.

 

But let’s go back a bit. It all started 1996, the year Anuschka Blommers had her end exam show at the Rietveld Academy (Niels graduated a year before). There she met Job van Bennekom, he saw her work and was immediately impressed and wanted her and Niels to come and make a photo series for a new magazine he was working on.

“YOUR work? He saw your work? Here we go again!” Says Niels laughing.

“Ok, our work then”, Anuschka replies smiling. She heard that joke before.

“We’re like a married couple, fighting over little things”, he explains, “not knowing who did what or said what anymore.”

Anuschka and Niels were working more and more together until one day they couldn’t tell who made which pictures anymore.

“It’s ridiculous really, we got to that point were I would help Anuschka set up the light in the studio, and she would hold the camera and take a shot. So which name should it be under the picture? Foto: Anuschka Blommers, Light: Niels Schumm? That didn’t work.”

“So we started to work together as a duo and eventually you forget who did what. You start to believe that you did a lot more than you actually did!” Anuschka fills in.

They are very used to each other, one picks up were the other one is finishing a sentence and they easily slipp into jokes and laughter.

“So anyway, it was Jop who one year later introduced us to Viktor & Rolf for an exhibition some 15 years ago”, Anuschka says.

And that’s where it all started for Anuschka and Niels, they took their first step into the fashion industry and haven’t stepped out of there since then.

“I mean, we were basically doing what we did at the Rietveld, taking pictures of our family and friends, but the only difference now is that they wear big brands like Comme Des Garcons.”

“Then why did you want to do fashion photography?”

“Well we didn’t!” they both respond.

 

 

“We didn’t know anything about fashion or clothes or brands. We really had no clue! We just kept doing our thing, but we did it with the models wearing their fashion couture instead.” Niels says.

“We have some influence while taking the picture and printing it in a magazine, but what I find fascinating is that media then picks it up and it can go anywhere, it gets its own life. We don’t know what’s going to happen”, Anuschka explains.

“For instance last year at Queen’s Day, I actually met a woman who sold me one of my first pictures back to me, without knowing! She kept it for 15 years! That is amazing”, Niels says.

But Anuschka and Niels don’t just do portraits and fashion, they have also done work with still life photography, something that Niels was doing a lot in his Rietveld days, whereas Anuschka mostly did portraits back then. When asked what they prefer to do now they tell me that it’s the opposite: when they work separately on private projects Anuschka is the one trying out still life, whereas Niels is doing more portraits.

 

 

In their collaborate work they are trying to step away from Photoshop by taking surreal photos of objects floating, or tricking the eye, by only using lights and angles. For instants The Cube was one of the first photos that Niels wanted to make. He got a camera at the age of ten, and it fascinated him then how the perspective changes when you look through the viewfinder, so when you take the picture it never is quite the same as you saw it in reality. This notion he carried with him, he wanted to challenge this illusion by taking a picture with a professional camera, arranging this impossible cube.

 

 

“There was actually a young couple at our last exhibition at Foam, where the girl asked the boy; How do they do that?, and the boy answers; Photoshop, of course! We both were like Noooooo!”  Anuschka laughs.

It is fascinating to see how they try to make a real thing look like something that’s not real, like this impossible cube that looks like a cube from one angle and from another angle it’s just pieces of wood. So it’s very much about that, about this non-Photoshop. With little gestures they want to turn around the meaning of the image.

 

 

“You should always go back to yourself, and stay true to what you do”, Anuschka says in the end of the interview, smiling vaguely as if she’s possessing a secret that she knows already, and that we all have to discover for ourselves.

 


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