Archive for September, 2017

Art | Deconstructing the Diorama

Friday, September 29th, 2017

Richard Barnes,
Man with Buffalo, 2007
Inkjet print
137.2 x 167.7cm
© Richard Barnes



Diorama
Inventing Illusion
Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt
Frankfurt | Germany
6 October > 21 January 2018



Hiroshi Sugimoto,
Earliest Human Relatives, 1994
Silver gelatin print
42.3 × 54.3 cm
© The artist
Courtesy Sugimoto Studio



Contemporary artists such as Jeff Wall, Isa Genzken, and Hiroshi Sugimoto have dusted off the long redundant diorama format and updated it. Examples of their visions of how aspects of our culture can be re-staged via the revived medium, have been gathered together with that of many others, for new major exhibition in Germany highlighting the stories behind the development of this form of presentation, alongside a chronology of events that took place in parallel to it.

Mark Dion,
Paris Streetscape, 2017
Diverse materials
180 x 250 x150 cm
Courtesy Mark Dion /
Galerie in Situ
– Fabienne Leclerc, Paris.
Photo Aurélien Mole



Redolent of museum visits on rainy Sundays in our youth, their subject matter often anthropological, dioramas were intended to transport us to another time and place. The time was often hundreds, thousands or even millions of years ago; the place was conjured up in painted papier-mâché and invisibly joined to a painted backdrop. While it sometimes references the past, and employs many of the established techniques – albeit with a technological twist – the new work is imbued with irony and even humour, and the main emphasis is on the here and now.

Jean Paul Favand,
Naguère Daguerre 1, 2012
Digital light installation
with 19th Century canvas
270 x 410 cm
Musée des Arts Forains
© Jean Paul Favand
Photo Jean Mulatier



The museum scenes were invariably miniaturised and usually viewed through a peephole: turning the scale on its head, Jeff Wall places a giant-sized ageing, nude, female figure in a labyrinthine modern museum interior. In Richard BarnesMan with Buffalo, a curious buffalo approaches the set-builder. For his life-sized Paris Streetscape, Mark Dion adopts a deconstructed approach, cramming the diverse elements inside an internally illuminated glass-fronted box set on wheels.

Jeff Wall, The Giant, 1992
Lightbox with transparent
photography
39 x 48 x 13 cm,
Private collection
© Jeff Wall



Jean Paul Favand’s Naguère Daguerre (2012), which relies on two restored canvases from a nineteenth-century mechanical theatre references Louis Daguerre – inventor of the daguerreotype photographic process in the 1830s, and one of the fathers of photography – who was involved, in the early 1820s, in developing the first diorama theatre as a walk-in, optical-mechanical playhouse in Paris.

Diorama Inventing Illusion at Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt is the first comprehensive examination of the diorama.

All images courtesy Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt


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The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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Books | Futura: Functional and Devoid of Doodahs

Friday, September 22nd, 2017

Entrance to the German
exhibit at the 5th Milan
Triennale
in 1933

From the magazine Die Form



Futura: The Typeface
By Petra Eisele, Annette
Ludwig and Isabel Naegele

Laurence King Publishing
Hardback
520 pp / 500 illustrations
October 2017



László Moholy-Nagy (cover),
Foto-Qualität: Zeitschrift
für Ware und
Werbung, 1931
Bauhaus Archive,
Museum of Design Berlin



2017 is the 90th anniversary of Futura, which, in 1969, became the first typeface to land on the moon.

Based on the geometric forms that became synonymous with Bauhaus design, German designer Paul Renner ’s Futura typeface was released in 1927 by the Bauer Type Foundry. Loved and hated by the Nazis, it would succeed where they failed in conquering Europe and indeed the rest of the world. A favourite of Lazlo Moholy-Nagy and Jan Tschichold, Futura was adopted by French poster designer Jean Carlu during the interwar period. In American Paul Rand liked that it was ‘functional and devoid of doodahs and ringlets’, while some years later, Futura Extra Bold became, reputedly, film director Stanley Kubrick’s favourite typeface. For the logo of their 2017 joint venture menswear label, Jijibaba, furniture designer Jasper Morrison and Jaime Hayon chose to use Futura.

The highly influential Futurist Manifesto was published in 1909, but the movement quickly lost impetus and was displaced by its competing isms – cubism and later surrealism. Futurism’s namesake, Futura, however, one of a host of experimental sans serif types being developed in the early 20th century, cut a swathe through its rivals – in particular Erbar – to become established as the predominant typeface family of the period.

Invitation to a book-burning
event in Königsplatz, Munich, 1933

Münchner Stadtmuseum



Advertising leaflet for
Foto-Auge: 75 Fotos der Zeit,
collected by Franz Roh
and Jan Tschichold.
F Wedekind, Stuttgart, 1929.
Photomontage: El Lissitzky
Freese collection,
Frankfurt am Main



When, in 1933, the National Socialists seized power in Germany, Paul Renner (1878 > 1956) was director of the national printing school in Munich. He had decided to restrict the German exhibit for the fifth Milan Triennale to the country’s graphic design and to contribute his own slideshow illustrating the historical progression of letterforms by juxtaposing them against other arts from the same period. Renner was increasingly harassed by the Nazi authorities, who seized some of the material he was working on, featuring examples of photomontage, which they regarded as ‘Russian propaganda against Germany’. They complained specifically that there was an imbalance in favour of roman type over the Gothic script that was becoming a key feature of Nazi propaganda. Renner was arrested, then released, there being no evidence that he was affiliated with the Communist Party. To solve their dilemma the authorities suggested a stylistic link between his typeface Futura and the forms of the New Architecture, which they maintained had Russian associations. Renner’s renunciation of the traditional forms of gothic type in Futura was therefore deemed anti-German. He was subsequently dismissed from his position the following year. Interestingly, in the year that they shut down the Bauhaus, the Nazis hadn’t been deterred from using Futura for an invitation to a 1933 book-burning event in Munich. The official plaques commemorating the winners at the 1936 Olympics stadium in Berlin, as well as many of the Reich’s propaganda publications were also in Futura.

Applications of Futura:
portfolio of commercial
jobs from c1953/54

Klingspor Museum
Offenbach am Main



Bradbury Thompson:
Alphabet as Image,
1948
Credit T/C



When the future cried out for a radical new font, paradoxically, Paul Renner had looked to the past for ideas. He described the Roman square capitals as the prime inspiration and basis for determining the forms of Futura, his first sketches of which were shown in 1924. These experimental drawings contained unusual, sometimes eccentric, characters, but the typeface was revised again and again until Renner was satisfied that it was an ‘exact precise and impersonal typeface of our time’. Renner’s design for the stencil font, Futura Black, was released in 1929, then between 1930/31 and 1950 an entire spectrum of weights and styles were added to the typeface family, making it suitable for any possible use, including future flights to the moon.

Laurence King Publishing’s lavishly-illustrated and beautifully-produced forthcoming book, Futura: The Typeface, includes expert essays by Steven Heller, Erik Spiekermann and Christopher Burke.

All images courtesy Laurence King Publishing


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The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier

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Art | Figuring Out French Painting 1900 > 1950

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Serge Ivanoff, Portrait de femme
Oil on canvas
Estimate €7,000 > €10,000



Another 20th Century:
Arts of Figuration 1900 > 1950
Christie’s
Paris | France
Exhibition 15 > 19 September 2017
Sale 19 September 2017



André Devambez, La place publique
Gouache on cardboard
Estimate €2,000 > €3,000



During the first half of the 20th century, representational painting was for the most part sidelined in favour of the ‘modern’ abstract art that came to dominate France and the rest of the world. In Paris, which since the 19th century had been the epi-centre of the global art scene, aside from the surrealists and a few notable exceptions, such as Balthus and André Derain, the work of figurative artists disappeared almost entirely from view. It would be a serious oversight, however – as the work coming up for sale in this forthcoming auction amply demonstrates – to believe that representational portraits, still life and landscape painting had ceased to be produced.

Henri Deluermoz,
Homme retenant un cheval
Oil on canvas
Estimate €7,000 > €12,000



Ferdinand Loyen du Puigaudeau,
Champ de coquelicots
Oil on canvas
Estimate €8,000 > €10,000



Even when, in the 1980s, international interest in figurative art was reignited, the majority of these earlier artists remained obscure. Many of the most talented and foremost among these, such as André Devambez, Henri Deluermoz, Raphaël Delorme, Bernard Boutet de Monvel, Ferdinand Loyen du Puigaudeau, and Russian emigré Serge Ivanoff, are still largely unknown outside of France, so much so that Christie’s have not gone to the trouble of issuing an English-language version of the catalogue. Nevertheless, their work is worthy of international interest.

Well-known in France as a children’s book illustrator, André Devambez (1867 > 1944) was a professor at the School of Fine Arts in Paris. He was appointed as an official painter for the French Air Ministry in 1929; plunging views and wild perspectives of scenes swarming with Lilliputian figures, are typical characteristics of his work.

Henri Deluermoz (1876 > 1943?) was a much-respected and highly gifted animal painter, who exhibited at the Salon from 1909, and also produced tapestries and illustration, while portraitist, Serge Ivanoff (1893 > 1983) left his native Russia for Paris in 1922 and, from 1930, travelled the world working for the French weekly newspaper, L’illustration.

Raphaël Delorme, Répétition
Oil on canvas
Estimate €15,000 > €20,000



It’s obvious from looking at his paintings that Raphaël Delorme (1890 > 1962) had a strong connection with the theatre. Trained as a set designer in Bordeaux, his interest in architecture and enhanced perspectives is instantly apparent in his orderly, and skilfully constructed neo-classicist paintings that, nevertheless emote an underlying humour and have a distinctive, modern edge.

A later associate of Edgar Degas, Ferdinand Loyen du Puigaudeau (1864 > 1930) had formed a friendship with Paul Gaugin at Pont Aven, and afterwards concentrated on transcribing the effects of nocturnal artificial lighting: from candles to fireworks, to lanterns. After a stay in Venice in 1904 > 1905, he devoted himself to the radiations of the sun and the moon and the luminous effects of colour.

Bernard Boutet de Monvel,
Les Rochers
Oil on canvas
Estimate €8,000 > €10,000



Ardent traveller and dandy, Bernard Boutet de Monvel (1881 > 1949), exhibited as early as 1903 in the main French Salons, before settling in Fez (Morocco) in 1917, where, from his terrace, he painted numerous views of the city rendered as compositions of rigorous geometric shapes. He was in New York at the time of the 1929 stock market crash, where he had been making a living as a society portraitist, but, when the commissions dried up, took to painting the skyscrapers of Manhattan, in abstract compositions as well as photographic realism. Produced around 1922, Les Rochers, which features in Another 20th Century: Arts of Figuration 1900 > 1950 at Christie’s, is a study of the Adrar des Ifoghas and was used to illustrate the book The First Crossing of the Sahara (1923).

All images Christie’s Images Limited 2017, courtesy Christie’s


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Exhibitions | Olivia Locher Fights Back

Friday, September 8th, 2017

I Fought the Law (Ohio), 2014
In Ohio it’s illegal to disrobe in front of a man’s portrait



Olivia Locher: I Fought the Law
Steven Kasher Gallery
New York City | USA
14 September > 21 October 2017



I Fought the Law (Nevada), 2016
In Nevada it’s illegal to put an American flag on a bar of soap



While it may seem reasonable for Massachusetts to impose a ban on upskirt photos or for a man to be seen to be sexually aroused in public, why has a small town in Texas barred children from wearing unusual haircuts? Why is riding a bike in a swimming pool illegal in California? And, why is it against the law in Kansas to serve wine in teacups?

I Fought the Law (Kentucky), 2016
In Kentucky it’s illegal for anyone to lick a toad



I Fought the Law (Pennsylvania), 2015
In Pennsylvania it’s illegal to tie a dollar bill to a string
and pull it away when someone tries to pick it up



Artist Olivia Locher, who scoured the statute books of all 50 states in America, discovering these peculiar eccentricities and many others, doesn’t have the answers to these questions, but has created a series of striking photographic images lampooning some of the hundreds of decisions, big and small, made every year by local and state lawmakers.

I Fought the Law (Hawaii), 2015
In Hawaii one isn’t allowed to place coins in one’s ears



But Locher, whose work has been exhibited internationally, including at Aperture Foundation / New York, Le Dictateur / Milan, and Fashion Space Gallery / London, and has appeared in numerous magazines such as the New York Times Magazine, W, Neon, and Interview hasn’t just done it for fun; sometimes confrontational, often amusing, her photographs are intended to raise serious points about politics and social conventions.

Olivia Locher: I Fought the Law at Steven Kasher Gallery is the artist’s first New York solo exhibition and marks the publication of her first monograph which bears the same title (Chronicle Books, September 2017).

All images by Olivia Locher, courtesy Steven Kasher Gallery, New York.


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The Blog is about art, architecture, books, design, photography and anything else that currently interests us that we think might interest you

The Blog’s publishers insist that all images supplied for publication in our posts are cleared for that use before being made available to us. Whether pictures are sent to us as email attachments or made available as downloadable files, any responsibility for fees that may, under any circumstances whatsoever, fall due, must be borne by the source supplier


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