Skip to Content Skip to Search Go to Top Navigation Go to Side Menu


"exhibitions" Category


How deep can we go? – The conflicts about problematic issues


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Deepwater – A work created in collaboration between Studio Wieki Somers and Thomas Eyck in 2016. It immediately caught my attention while I was walking through the exhibition of ‘’Change the System’’ in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The work is simple, yet very impressive. It has a strong design in contrast to the other works presented in the same room. Deepwater represents a vase which is a collection of the design ‘’Still Waters’’. Thomas Eyck commissioned Studio Wieki Somers to design a series of objects with the theme “water”. These series are five glass vases and each form a poetic interpretation of the water cycle. The vases represent a topical theme regarding the problematic relationship between humans and nature.

 

LTVs_WiekiSomers_05_Deepwater, Labadie

 

The Deepwater vase is made out of glass filled with oil floating on water. In the centre of this vase a stem with leaves is represented. The oil refers to the disrupted human actions like the results of the ecocatastrophe ‘’Deepwater Horizon’’, this was an industrial disaster that began on April 20, 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico. It was a big explosion of the drilling platform Deepwater Horizon. Studio Wieki Somers and Thomas Eyck wanted to show how conflicting the values are that ascribe our recourses.

But who are Studio Wieki Somers and Thomas Eyck? During this research I posed myself the question what the relationship is between them and why they want to make on the problematic issues of our world society. I also got so inspired by this specific work on the oil problem, that it motivated me to question and think of ideas on how to solve this problematic issue much further.

Back in 2000, Wieki Somers (Dutch designer, born in Sprang-Capelle, 1976) graduated from the Design Academy Eindhoven. After her graduating she settled with Dylan van den Berg, with whom she studied together in Eindhoven. Together they started Studio Wieki Somers in Rotterdam. Wieki Somers and Dylan van den Berg focussing on providing an enlightened reading of the everyday movement. Focussing and making sensivity of materials, technological ingenuity and fantasy. They make objects that you as outstander at first have to guess what it is and what they are doing. That is the whole point of what they want, making an art piece with a functional state in it. ”Basically our work is one big quest, one big process. We look at things around us, what they can be and the associations people have. We study customs everyday situations, unleasing our own imagination on them. We make the uncommon common.’’ thus Wieki Somers

‘’As a designer it’s not my attention to make the world a better place, but I’m pleased if people look at the world differently because of my products.’’

People get ideas and inspirations from the work of Wieki Somers and that’s also how Thomas Eyck got involved. Thomas Eyck is a publisher and collector and he devide characteristic and exclusive design products from this time. He stimulate designers to come up with new objects for the daily life. Together they research for different kinds of materials and making new products out of it. This is how the Deepwater collection was made when Thomas Eyck asked Studio Wieki Somers to work together.

So how can you stimulate more people when you think about this collection? And in my case about the oil problem. Because using oil is something we should take very seriously if we think about our precious world. Our nature is capable of breaking down oil itself, but this is going very slowly. The quantities of oil that enter the environment through human intervention are so great that nature has difficulties with it. Of course the place plays a role, normally it is safely stored under the ground but when it comes into the water or on land it is just a strange substance. Just what happend to the Deep Water Horzion catastrophe. How can we clean up this mess if we constantly spill so much oil?

Thankfully there are many ways to clean the oil out of the water. I found materials and information and tried these out. Click in the video below where I used oil, sponge and cotton balls to clean out the oil:

 

REMOVE IT

oilimage

 

Of course this is not enough for an entire ocean, but it’s clearly that we could discover more with materials just like Wieki Somer and Thomas Eyck are presenting. We have to dig deeper and come up with much bigger ideas to solve the problem. There are machines or boats with different kinds of techniques by getting out the oil out of the ocean, but still there will be leftovers and we discover that years later by accident. Of course we think of other different ways to solve this for the future, for example; using electricity. The using of oil are mostly for machines and vehicles and these will run in the future with electricity.

So yes, just like Wieki Somers I would feel the same way by not making attention to make the world a better place, but to encourage and to let people think about these kinds of topics. I think we discovered already so much about materials, technologies and objects to improve our environment. Who knows what further will be discovered in the future.

 

Centre of attention: elephant or cockerel?


Monday, June 5, 2017

Ten seconds of watching Arttube’s video about the Designing the Surface-exhibition (posted on the website of het Nieuwe Instituut), brings you Chris Kabel, “concept and curator”, saying the following:

SC1_1100

Although just having visited the exhibition, I did not remember seeing a thickset, usually extremely large, nearly hairless, herbivorous mammal (family Elephantidae, the elephant family) that has a snout elongated into a muscular trunk and two incisors in the upper jaw developed especially in the male into long ivory tusks, [x] at all.

I started doubting if I had seen the same exhibition he was talking about but looking at the video we pretty surely had. But also on the screen (see above) there is no elephant to be seen. Maybe the zoo (or, so called fun fair)

SC2_1100

is too big for the elephant to be found? Impossible. Kabel even mentions giving the elephant centre stage,

SC3_1100

so it must not be too hard to find this “elephant.” What is really meant with the elephant in the room,

an obvious major problem or issue that people avoid discussing or acknowledging [x]

is the surface in design: apperently ‘avoided’ (as quoted above) or ‘ignored’ (Chris Kabel), en therefore in Designing the Surface, put in the centre of the room. Also should be to be found in one of the two other animals in the room: the golden cockerel.

The golden cockerel might be a bit rare - it’s one out of the three animals (an elephant, a zebra and a cockerel) n the zoo –  it is one of the first objects to be seen and written about:

ACT I PATINA: How does the fate of a golden cockerel and his companions intertwine with that of the tormented tale of two fountains, the first crafted from copper and the second one built from brass?

All to be found in a zoo perhaps? Or in the near surroundings of a church?

Gold-plated weathercock, lent by Museum de Roode Tooren, is a weathercock like any other apart from the fact that it’s gold-plated, and therefore it doesn’t lose its shine.

SC5_1100

Normally sitting on the church’s tower in Doesburg, shining bright and golden, the weathercock is certainly put in central view. And now put on the ground, looking at it from closer by, we are obviously not looking at the rotting wooden cockerel inside, but at the shiny golden elephant.

 

Gold-plated weathercock. Museum de Rode toren. exh.cat.no2-patina

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


Sunday, May 28, 2017

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

 

True colour dome, 2017
The Preservationist

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

 

True colour
The Resplendent

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

 

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

Lustrous Lips and Fingertips


Sunday, May 21, 2017

Warning: Do not scratch the surface.

lips

 

The nail polish stand is linked to the Lustre section of the exhibition for the visually obvious reasons such as its shininess and sheen, but also for its historic link to car paint (also highly featured in the Lustre section) as an inspiration for the first nail polishes.

 

tumblr_on9d8801wK1rze8z7o5_1280 Designing the Surface Nail Salon Screens

 

The exhibition designed to feel like a fun fair, is divided into pavilions. The Nail Salon becoming an attraction for visitors. Drawn to it like magpies, visitors are able to get one nail painted and glittered. Somehow promoting the addition of Lustre to ones body, to have one nail become like a car door, while you watch two screens flash lips dripping with gold and gloops of glossy colour, nails painted and paint peeled from pristinely polished cars. Somewhat hidden is a third screen. I must admit I did not catch it at first. Too distracted by the glitter goodies, to notice the children labouring in mines. Since I did not pay full attention to this third video, I am not sure what they are rummaging in the dirt for? How is it linked to getting your nails painted? To the lips pouting at you from the first screen and to the expensive cars in the second. How are these poor children linked to these items of luxury?

 

Perhaps they are mining for titanium dioxide or ground mica, which can be found in some glittery nail polishes? Why then was this screen placed out of view from the person sitting getting shiny minerals added to their fingers?

 

I wonder if the artist Jonathan Auch was offering a critique to lengths we go to to increase our lustre? These videos differ from the artists’ usual street photography style. Black and white photographs of real people in real settings. Rough, gritty, textured faces of everyday faces. Seems odd then, this choice of work for this exhibition. Accentuating the fake-ness of the surfaces we crave to have not only on our cars but also on our very bodies, and who in another part of the world this may affect.

 

Jonathan Auch for Koehorst in 't Veld, Nailsalon screens Mother/Father/Child 2017. exh.cat.no.24A/24B/24C

Designing the Surface Supplementary Show /New Institute


Monday, February 13, 2017

bieb_15029_mahoniehout-03_950

Gebr.A.R.& P.van der Burg /wood and marble painting examples in color 1876

 

Supplementary Surface Show Under Construction

 

20 students of the Rietveld Academy’s Basic Year visited the exhibition “Designing the Surface” organized at the New Institute Rotterdam (2017).
The intriguing aspect of surface, an issue that is generally avoided in a discussion about the context of content, raised our curiosity.
The exhibition and the accompanying publication was inspiring as were other additional exhibits like ‘Screen Savers’ or various shows in adjoining musea.

/FAUX /PATINA /LUSTRE /TEFLON /AGENCY /SLIM

Curious for our reflections on these subject?

Chose an image and click on it.

We assembled this small supplementary research show for you to enjoy.

 

PastedGraphic-4

FelineH VanilleOugen

SimonMarsiglia Screen shot 2017-02-13 at 12.05.50 PM CeliaNabonne

KaanKorkmaz JimKlok

Screen Shot 2017-02-12 at 11.43.35 PM

KimLang OfiaBaytocheva FelineHjermind

NadjaSchlenker JohannesZ

Parelstrik vantablack

blauw_400

 

 

What is the difference between a waiter and a piano player?


Monday, October 5, 2015

The world opened a new window in 1844, when the public entered “French Industrial Exposition” in Paris. Quickly afterwards, various large public exhibitions were held in different parts of Europe. In 1851, the first-considered International Exposition was held in London called “Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations”. A new platform was born, where art, science and technology from different countries were brought together.

In the process of the development of the platform, the pavilions became a tool to improve the image of each country from 1988. A study called “Expo 2000 Hanover in Numbers” by Tjaco Walvis showed that 73% of the countries at Expo 2000 were primarily interested in improving their national image. The world fairs had evolved into big vehicles for national branding.

 “In the desert of life the wise person travels by caravan, while the fool prefers to travel alone”, (African proverb)

As the importance of the pavilions’ look grew, the budget grew with it.

world's fair

At Expo 2000 Hanover, the average investment pr. pavilion was €12 million: A budget that made governments doubt their participation since the benefits were often assumed to outweigh the costs.

In a world today, where branding is a key asset: Is it possible for the artwork to stay as strong and sensuous to the audience? Does the creation of a salable layer (that has to be considered and assessed) leave the message behind? When a world fair tries to destroy the line between exhibition and exposition, is it possible to make both’ part equal?
Creating a community inside of the world fairs figurative walls is interesting. But at the same time, I’m constantly aware of the galleries’ need to sell. Does art lose its artistic value if it has to be salable? And does the price affect the experience of art?

CHART ART FAIR had its debut in Copenhagen 3 years ago. A Danish offer of how a world fair could look like. The CHART director Simon Friese wants to establish an international art platform for the Nordic region: “The ambition to do CHART in the first place was actually to make a platform that had the curatorial level to be able to attract an international audience coming here (…)”

CHART ART FAIR

But in the crowd, I feel like the gallery presentations convey get lost. The event has been located the same place all three years: Kunsthal Charlottenborg. In the 17th century surroundings, the location won’t disappoint you, but in the big spaces I feel an enormous distance between the art pieces and me as a viewer.
Before you are invited indoor, you can see advertising on display in different shops around town. Large video installations were put in shops as a warm-up before the fair this August. But every shop they have chosen had a specific status and price range. The locations were obviously chosen to attract an audience with a high income: because the buying of a ticket is only a small part of the money that’s exchanged inside the fair’s walls. If you’re interested in ownership, you can take the matter up with the gallery owner you can find next to every stand. Gallery owners you also can meet in the lounge section solely for specific members of the art world. (Some transported in limousines).
But why do I care? Do I want to play a role in the social club of the arts? Even though CHART is a new-born, the number of viewers has increased with 50% the past two year. Apparently, there are a lot of people, on national and international ground, who are interested in a Nordic art platform. Simon Friese and Denmark’s most famous gallery owners are those men who rule the roost, since they decide the selection of the approx. 28 galleries which are participating.

World’s Fairs are great scenarios to enlighten upcoming art and new ideas. The first telephone by Alexander Graham Bell was shown at Centennial Exposition in 1876. And the infrared touch panels were finally presented to the public at the 1982 World’s Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, after 40 years of research. A lot of people, including myself, imagine the World’s Fairs to be like in the 1950′s, but the medium has changed.

Bell's  telephoneFirst touchpad 1982

In the old days, the rich would cross the sea to see the wonders firsthand, but the internet put an end to that. “I don’t know today how a World’s Fair can be viable, because everybody has a camera in their pocket,” says Louise Weinberg, World’s Fair Archive Manager at the Queens Museum. With everybody having art from each corner of the world in their pocket, you don’t need to go to foreign countries. With the internet, the outcome of World’s Fairs has been a massive slump.
Is CHART trying to transform art into a trade again? At Kunsthal Charlottenborg, the artwork or art “actions” seem like entertainment you can quickly pass without being further included. Is that the intention of the yearly event? And then I cannot not think about; are artists meant to serve the rich?

cyber and (un)aware


Monday, December 1, 2014

 

Jacob Jensen’s 1997 waterproof Beowatch (produced by bang & olufsen) was designed as a personal, unisex timepiece that makes telling time convenient and accessible. additionally, it also functioned as a remote control that controlled the volume of later bang & olufsen music centers. this design prompted me to question its present-day relevance in the design exhibition at the stedelijk museum, Amsterdam. over the last two decades the technology industry has undoubtedly grown and so has the way in which people engage with methods of measuring time. it is noticeable that less people wear wrist-watches everyday and the norm has adapted to using smartphones or other multifunctional devices to keep track of time.

this research will further discuss the design of the Beowatch in relation to the myriad of social questions it raises such as today’s security in wearable, intelligent technology and the aesthetics of unisex design.

b&o-image1

few wearable objects are designed to be unisex, particularly jewellery (if we classify a wristwatch as jewellery). i am drawn to the statement this wristwatch is indirectly raising about society’s perceived aesthetics of gender. the design is created as ‘neutral’, an object that is seen through its own entity- regardless of preconceived ideas of masculine and feminine beauty. throughout history, wearable objects or fashion, has had a very divisive characteristic – creating standards and room for assumptions. this design forgoes these notions and is created as its own autonomous form.

balancing aesthetic and (multi)functionality reiterates how the Beowatch was very modern for its time;.Jensen’s approach to design drew my attention as he states “…we expand our concept of…what a watch should look like. the sight of an object does not necessarily have to show its function…” (1994, Jacob Jensen design [paperback], Paul Schäfer). this relationship between functionality and aesthetic is a core issue that designers are faced with.

however, it is a challenge nowadays between technology and its external design. technology is becoming increasingly intelligent with wristbands/watches that gather data to measure heart rates, count steps, give directions, forecast weather, play music, interact with other devices, predict the position of the moon etc  and the visual appeal of wearing this technology. for example with the recent design release of Apple’s iwatch and Google’s glasses there is already considerable criticism on this ‘cyber-human’ image and artificial intelligence we are sometimes reluctantly and often unavoidably accepting.

b&o-image2

Jensen redesigned the concept of a remote control in the Beowatch by making it multifunctional (acting as a remote control and timepiece). similarly, designers today are changing conventional objects into ergonomic designs that fabricate, sync or react together with the human body. there is an evident focus from the technology industry to attach these gadgets and lumped plastic to people especially by getting them onto wrists. of course there are many benefits of having such tools; they are accessible, readily available and can make tasks faster. however, the fact that these devices become so quickly absorbed into the culture of everyday society is blurring the boundaries of our true basic needs.

they are also perhaps just purely adding insult to injury- for example do people need to know how little sleep they are getting? or if they have eaten too much on one day compared to the next? or if they have skipped a day of exercise? this data collection that these devices provide may give us information but it is still not enough, what is more important is the reasoning- why we slept/ate bad and missed exercise, for example. simply knowing these facts without reasoning is the added ‘insult’ to the injury/damage that has already been created. for instance if your watch tells you that you haven’t exercised enough, things that you probably know already, would you change your routine just because your watch is telling you? in most cases, not. there are versatile calculations everywhere, but the problem is what to do with this information and how to interpret it.

it is irrefutable that the pace of technological advancement is remarkable; but this also affords the risk that people will develop a better reading of their technology/ wristbands and lose their sensitivity and awareness in reading their own bodies.

b&o-image3

since the Beowatch, wrist technology has advanced further than the individual, as over the past decade debates have risen over personal security and privacy. it is unknown to the individual how much is known about them through their digital dossier. we are uncertain about where our information is stored or if it is being used for analysis; examples we have witnessed recently include the NSA files, cyber-hacks with phone applications and celebrities, Facebook scandals, Wiki-leaks and much more. these personal items have the potential act as a sensor or tracker, they constantly collect data which are ‘invisibly’ fed to different networks. though this subject may seem far fetched from the design of the Beowatch, the design is relevant as it marks part of the evolution of our technological reliance and dependence. it is uncertain where this line is between the personal object and a device that is actually just a form of data to a bigger establishment.

b&o-image4

the Beowatch nowadays represents a certain phase in design (1993-1996) as well as the literal time. it represents the start of multifunctional, human-fitted technology. though now the object is more about its face than its function, being presented in a showcase at the Stedelijk Museum, it is still highly relevant and raises many direct and indirect issues. As the son of Jacob Jensen said in an interview: “a product which survives the test of time, even when it has been out distanced by technology, contains a concise idea carried out at the right time, and with an aim of thorough reworking” (Timothy Jensen in Jacob Jensen design, 1994, Paul Schäfer). though technology has definitely distanced since 1997, the design of the Beowatch has survived by providing a mark for its time as well as offering insight into how we should speculate the future of cyber-human technology.

 

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.

1

1

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.

5
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.

4

8
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’

9

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.

6

7
 

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.

IMG_7458

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.

IMG_7460

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.

IMG_7462

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.

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.

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

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:

HAND MADE


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

 

on April 18th DesignResearch visited

 

 

“HAND MADE”

 

and researched the relation between craft and design

and how craft does relate to art and design….

 

to see all >click< for latest essay’s

by G_Group students

 

“Hand Made” is an exhibition organized

by museum Boymans van Beuningen,

taking crafts as its principal theme

 

more info

 /site Design.nl /site [Metropolis M [Dutch] /site Boymans van Beuningen

Stedelijk Design Show 2012 /Future Highlights


Tuesday, November 27, 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"

 



 


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

 

New [S] for Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

23 /09 /2012

The visual identity of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam is undergoing a radical reconsideration by Mevis & Van Deursen. Internationally renowned as one of the most inventive and acclaimed design agencies in the Netherlands, the duo had previously created the graphic identity of the museum’s Temporary Stedelijk program from 2010 to 2012. The museum’s visual re-branding will be an ongoing process, to be seen in a new logo, website design, publications, newsletter, stationery and posters, among other applications. In anticipation of the reopening of the Stedelijk Museum on September 23, the new campaign will be gradually unveiled. Wondering what typeface was used is not that crazy. It is a new ‘font’ designed by Radim Pesko called ‘Union’. A blending between ‘Helvetica’ and ‘Arial’

Looking at learning / Learning to look


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

We relate to an image in context with the place where we see it. Showing scientific images in an art space can be confusing if you don’t know what you’re in for.

It’s a worthwhile contemporary experiment in the sense that science has become an omnipresent part of our reality, and it’s interesting to explore the limits of the meaning and purpose of scientific images.

I can recognize the blown-up images of molecules because I have seen similar ones before or by reading the description. In a place of science, this might not have happened: I stood back and let them sink in, taking a closer look at the abstract forms, realizing: This could be anything. Not knowing how big this thing is in reality, I can imagine it to be anything. Something small zoomed in or a city from a distance. A couple of times, I saw something I would have liked to copy or use, say, as an animation. There’s a fun thing about those images, beckoning me to play. A thing I found funny was how some images could have passed as modern art, had they been painted on canvas.

worms or curly fries?

A different aspect I thought about was the visual properties of nature. Some of these colors were very nice. I wondered if this was an actual attribute of the object or if a pigment had been added by the scientist to make a certain membrane better visible.

In the end, I do believe that scientific images can be put in an art space to enhance the viewer’s flexibility when it comes to the subject. Personally, I found these images very romantic. The devotion of human kind to find their origin developed with them into being and will never fade. Now that’s love!

cube design


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In the “beginning” all was dark… Paintings were hanging in dark rooms and the walls were so filled that one could barely see the landscape paintings for all the landscape paintings in the salon. Anyhow, most people were happy that they could consume the art, just like people since the ancient Vatican sculpture gardens. In 1812 the first “art-only” building was created by the English architect Sir John Soane. Finally! Here the art could be viewed for what it really was, perhaps even art selected with great taste, as Kant would have wanted it.

In the late 19 century the number of galleries and art museums were booming. Every “metropolis” had to have its own museum of art to be a metropolis. When we are approaching the mid 20 century old ways of building institutions of art, often retro romantic, were abandon for more “clean” and architectural deconstructed rooms, an early examples is the Guggenheim in New York. Exiting times.

At the Van Abbe-museum in Eindhoven you can walk around in beautiful, calm, strictly white and spiritual rooms filled with modernistic art. The worlds’ largest collection of Lissitsky paintings are finding its’ place like a perfect sized glove. Modern art for a modern room!

On the second floor an exhibition about art is presented. Or rather an exhibition of art. Or an exhibition of artworks about the modern art museum, but with new art. Or an exhibition on ehee.
When visiting this exhibition a feeling of unrest is present, an urge to maintain the “white cube” intact. The room can only be intact when art is made in respect of the cube. But what happens when people get tired of the white cube, when artist don´t agree that their works need the white cubes, when the curators finds them self unable to fill their holy rooms? Maybe the beautiful buildings of high modernism will slowly decay? Well to calm the museum directors I have taken my responsibility and re-used the modern room to create new room! Deconstructed the deconstructed. A post modern solution to keep modern. Now we all can sleep well.


Log in
subscribe