nothing at the moment by Humboldtbooks, Milan
What started as a platform for experimental publishing and singular editions straddling the line between art object and reading material, has now become an integral part of the annual Art Week Basel. The art book fair I Never Read, Art Book Fair Basel now in its fifth edition, invites more than a hundred publishers, authors and artists from numerous countries to display their printed matter spanning the fields of art, photography, graphic design and architecture. An ever-growing selection of exhibitors introduces visitors to artists’ books, monographs, periodicals and zines, as well as out-of-print editions and collector’s items. Showing how the print world can evolve and thrive instead of dissolving into the shadow cast by the digital world (as many pseudo-evangelists were too quick to proclaim), the fair is an ode to the book as a democratic art form and an approachable medium for creative expression. What’s thoroughly explored here is the role of contemporary publishing in an increasingly on-screen era and how the art book provides a haven for artistic practice and how it builds a less market-driven community.
On the occasion of the 2016 Swiss Design Awards, BUREAU N launched a series of interviews with all the participants of the design competition – organised annually by the Swiss Federal Office of Culture – in the run-up to the exhibition in Basel. The interviews aim to dissect the participants’ personal concept of utopia in relation to their practice, methods and strategies. Selected designers express their definition of utopia and their opinion on whether design is capable of changing societal systems. Is utopia the truth of tomorrow, as Victor Hugo has suggested, or merely an ideal conviction that ultimately pushes us towards a different reality and set of constructs? Utopia. The word celebrates its 500th anniversary this year: Thomas More’s influential and radical text on the term was first published in 1516. The British Renaissance humanist was the first to give a name to an idea that has triggered and empowered imagination ever since—the creation of a better world is possible. Utopia refers, in the original meaning of the Greek word, to both a place with positive connotations and a non-place. It invites us to a traveller’s log portraying an ideal society on a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. More’s work continues to inspire us and offers frameworks for innovation today, stressing the importance of the process of imagination as well as dreaming in the here and now.
“Having an element of utopia in one’s work is very important. The constant search for something that may not ever exist can potentially lead to new ideas, pushing projects and boundaries further and further.” — Simone Cavadini is a photographer who in his current project RES PVBLICA analyses the relationship between performance and power in the Italian media.
“Without the utopian idea which influences my actions in the here and now—and paves the way, so to speak—I would constantly repeat myself artistically.” — Fashion designer Sandro Marzo is a firm believer in the idea that design is everything, and everything is design. In his opinion, design is in fact capable of effecting social change.
“Utopia is looking for an undetectable answer that motivates you to keep working on different projects. In my work, the word utopia relates to a certain hyperreal aesthetic. Through this particular aesthetic, I refer to the hyper-commercialist codes that surround our visual society through advertising, but also internet aesthetics that subtly direct our desires and dreams. Utopia is omnipresent in my creative process. This imaginary element frees me, it allows me to create without limits or restrictions. Then I can see further, beyond the known.” — Maxime Guyon’s work oscillates between research on the constant evolution of technological functions in our current society and the role of a photographer in a post-internet era.
“Utopia represents a stage at which design annihilates itself, which consequently means that design is not capable of changing society. This may sound dystopian but this is exactly what pushes me to come up with both innovative and critical graphic patterns.” — Dan Solbach has established a practice almost exclusively focusing on graphic design for artists and contemporary art institutions.
“The role of the designer is not just to think about an object’s form and function. I see the designer as an antenna capturing moments, moods and needs. The designer helps create new ways of thinking. New approaches encourage a continual renewal essential to any development. Each creation is an interpretation of what surrounds us; a singular vision, a new view of the world. It is vital for our societies to knowingly reinvent themselves and recognize the impact of our collective choices on our future.” — Lucy Authié aims to strengthen the bonds between luxury and sustainability in product development.
Read more interviews and find out more about the participants here.
Studio visit with Iris Roth in Milan
On the occasion of Salone del Mobile 2016, we paid a visit to ceramic and interior designer Iris Roth to gain insight into her working space and creative practice. In her charming apartment, located in the well-known architects’ building complex Cascia 6, the Italian-German artist hosts dinners, grows olive trees on her sunny terrace and works away in her compact studio. We also got a chance to peek inside her production space – a traditional ceramics atelier that has been supervised by an Italian couple since 1976. Iris Roth combines traditional craftsmanship with contemporary elements: simple forms, warm tones and traditional processes involving the potter’s wheel as an essential tool. The artist uses white clay coated in natural white or grey glazes, as well as the widely used red clay – prevalent in her nude collection. Small, intentional imperfections on the surfaces of handmade objects, such as the artisan’s fingerprints, give each item a unique character that distinguishes them from mass-produced ware. But aesthetics aside, it’s all about functionality: All objects are suitable for everyday use and are dishwasher-safe. For Louis Pretty in Berlin and the restaurant oTTo in Milan, Iris Roth has designed and produced their entire ceramic lines. Each of the pieces is unparallelled but the designs can be produced in large numbers. In addition to oTTo’s dinnerware, Iris also designed the interiors of the cosy, greenhouse-like bistro, which arguably offers the best sandwiches in town. Soon, Iris Roth’s pieces will be available online – till then make sure to follow her dolce vita on Instagram.
Top gate: Felix Torkar; Man at door: Offenbach, Portrait: Arthur Seitz Foto ©Jessica Schäfer; Flowers: Dong Xuan Center, Berlin Foto ©Kiên Hoàng Lê; Breakthrough: ©Kirsten Bucher; Houses: Quinta Monroy, Iquique, 2004, Architekt: Elemental, Chile Foto ©Tadeuz Jalocha; Mosque: Moschee in der Sandgasse, Offenbach Foto ©Judith Raum, 2010
For the 15th Venice Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, the German contribution cuts into the walls of the historic pavilion building in order to address the acute refugee situation. A powerful metaphor of opening emerges and encourages a discourse on new ideas and reliable approaches to the integration of asylum seekers. Walls are being broken in Venice as a commitment to the inviolable dignity of humankind. There will be no closed doors, day or night. The pavilion is open. Germany is open. The current refugee situation is part of a massive worldwide flow of migrants. What are the challenges facing cities with incoming refugees and migrants? How, in the future, can Germany’s “arrival cities” such as Offenbach respond, hypothetically shaping the conditions that create a good “Arrival City”? And how can architecture and urban design contribute to this process? The team of the Deutsches Architektur Museum (DAM) examines these questions at this year’s International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia. With the exhibition Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country the DAM uses examples from Germany’s Arrival Cities to pose for discussion a series of theses developed in collaboration with the Canadian author Doug Saunders. His book Arrival City: How the Largest Migration in History is Reshaping Our World has inspired a shift in perspective on immigrant districts – a shift that is also applicable to Germany. Although these districts are typically characterized as “problem areas,” they offer residents and new arrivals the most important prerequisites of an Arrival City: affordable housing, access to work, small-scale commercial spaces, good access to public transit, networks of immigrants from the same culture, as well as a tolerant attitude that extends to the acceptance of informal practices. The design concept, developed by the architecture office Something Fantastic, underlines the strong statement of this year’s German Pavilion.
For the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, Goethe-Institut has created Performing Architecture, a programme which brings the interfaces between architecture, choreography and the performing arts into focus. Picking up cues from the exhibition at the German Pavilion Making Heimat. Germany, Arrival Country and the Biennale’s motto Reporting from the Front, the programme transforms the urban space of Venice into a stage for artistic encounters, visions and explorations: How do we sink into the experienced and built reality of our cities? How do we encounter other people in this reality? Which values do they negotiate, which living spaces, which experiential spaces? What ideas of Heimat do they carry? Five events were created for the time of the exhibition: In Act and Tought – A Score for Six Performers, ARCH+ features #50, Culinary Lessons, The Veddel Embassy: Representing Germany and Conviviumepulum / Culinary Lessons.
How will social conditions shape the built environment in Germany? Which factors trigger urban and regional changes? The publication Speculations Transformations addresses pending spatial transformations in Germany and speculates about their consequences for Baukultur: What is it like to live in a city that no longer pays in euros but in watts? What happens, when roads are no longer used by cars? What would the consequences be, if Germany were to measure its economic success in terms of civic wellbeing? Speculations Transformations was conceived within the framework of the “Baukulturatlas Deutschland 2030/2050” research project and commissioned in 2011 by the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety (BMUB) and the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR). With an emphasis on “thinking in alternate futures”, the book reveals the triggers and drivers of spatial developments, while identifying the societal negotiations leading to specific built environments. This involves currently conceivable futures, already manifest in the present, yet subject to highly diverse evolutions.
The Museum of Architecture and Design (MAO) presents the project Home at Arsenale – a curated library, in the Pavilion of Slovenia at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition. Matevž Celik, director of MAO, appointed as curators for the presentation in Arsenale the internationally acclaimed architects and educators Aljoša Dekleva and Tina Gregori? as curators. They conceived a 1:1 spatial structure, an abstract home performing as a curated library that operates as a platform for exploring the concepts of home and dwelling during the Biennale Architettura 2016 and beyond. The project Home at Arsenale proposes the concept of home as a public curated library that opens up a platform for multiple responses on the topics of home and dwelling within the current spatial and social conditions. Challenging the private/public dichotomy within the dwelling domain the project suggests a transformation of private home into possible temporary-public home environment.
To develop a more concrete understanding of approaches to the complex expectations placed on public space, the Akademie der Künste and the Goethe-Institut teamed up to stage the 36-hour Factory of Thought Public Space: Fights and Fictions. The conference, with the curatorial advisory by BUREAU N is held as part of the exhibition DEMO:POLIS – The Right to Public Space. Given the crisis of representative democracies, participation, and civil society burnout: How can we use public space for the perspective of an enlightenment in the 21st century? Public space is intrinsically linked to the parameters of each particular culture and society and its historical changes. With worldwide migration, social conflicts, and global economic and financial interests or the emancipation from authoritarian structures, public space has been facing massive challenges over the last decades. Across the globe, it has become the scene of violent changes and fundamental paradigm shifts. Between security and surveillance, participation and commercialisation, artistic and social freedom and the demonstration of power, public space is where the future of democracy is being decided.The Kooperative für Darstellungspolitik’s spatial design facilitates concentrated thought in parallel structures for kick-off speeches and think tanks, discussions, interviews and artistic interventions, and provides room for informal exchanges in open platforms. NIGHT SHIFT, a party hosted by Making Spaces c/o NICHE Berlin and Creamcake is part of the night program.
Anne Collier’s Woman Crying #1 and Woman Crying #2; courtesy of the artist and Galerie Neu (ACo/F 7)
Galerie Neu presents its first solo exhibition of the Los Angeles-born, New York-based photographic artist Anne Collier, which will trace her career from the early 2000’s up until present day. As one of the most exciting artists’ emerging in the field of photography, her imagery is romantic, sentimental and clichéd. She addresses these themes using a manual 4-by-5-inch camera and chemical processing and printing, a technique overly present in recent works such as Tripod (2016) and 35 MM / 2 ¼” (2016), both which feature in the exhibition. In these works Collier mixes stock advertising photography of camera equipment with materials depicting ostentatious sexism, shot in the neutral space of her studio. In doing this, the artist undertakes an autopsy of the photographic material and subsequently creates paradox between the original intentions of the investigated objects and the absolute control of a studio photography context.
‘American Gothic’ by Rachel Harrison, 2015 courtesy of the artist; Greene Naftali, New York; and Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler, Berlin; photo: Brian Forrest . ‘Reveal Yourself’ by Ed Fornieles, 2016, courtesy of Arratia Beer. ‘Untitled’, 2014 by Tomi Ungerer courtesy of Michael Fuchs Galerie.
Over the past decade the traditional idea of the exhibition space has shifted and developed. Existing architectural structures, which served alternate public or private functions and purposes, have taken a central role in the viewing and perception of contemporary art. This idea of the new, dynamic gallery setting, which adapts and moves with the times, has taken a central role for Gallery Weekend Berlin – where highly diverse gallery spaces serve to present works of art but also act as places for interaction and exchange between artists, gallerists, collectors and enthusiasts alike. A global plethora of contemporary works by established artists as well as promising newcomers will feature in the Twelfth edition of Gallery Weekend Berlin, with the full line-up comprising: Arratia Beer: Ed Fornieles / Galerie Guido W. Baudach: Andy Hope 1930 / Blain Southern: Harland Miller / Galerie Isabella Bortolozzi: Oscar Murillo; Stephen G. Rhodes / BQ: Jochen Lempert / Galerie Buchholz: Wolfgang Tillmans / Buchmann Galerie: Bettina Pousttchi; Daniel Buren / Capitain Petzel: Christopher Williams / Carlier Gebauer: Mark Wallinger; Iman Issa / Contemporary Fine Arts: Gert & Uwe Tobias; Christian Rosa / Mehdi Chouakri: Philippe Decrauzat / Crone: Hanne Darboven / Croy Nielsen: Sebastian Black; Megan Rooney / Delmes & Zander: Horst Ademeit / Galerie Eigen + Art: Carsten Nicolai / Konrad Fischer Galerie: Alice Channer / Michael Fuchs Galerie: Tomi Ungerer / Gerhardsen Gerner: Jim Lambie / Galerie Michael Haas: Paula Modersohn-Becker; Leiko Ikemura / Galerie Max Hetzler: Edmund de Waal / Johnen Galerie: Martin Honert / Kewenig: Ghada Amer / Kicken Berlin: Sibylle Bergemann, Rudi Meisel, Gabriele und Helmut Nothhelfer, Helga Paris, Petra Wunderlich, Ulrich Wüst / Klemm’s: Bernard Piffaretti / Helga Maria Klosterfelde Edition: Rirkrit Tiravanija / König Galerie: Annette Kelm; K.H. Hödicke; Katharina Grosse, Jeppe Hein, Camille Henrot, Alicija Kwade, Michael Sailstorfer, Tatiana Trouvé, David Zink Yi / KOW: Tobias Zielony; Hiwa K / Kraupa-Tuskany Zeidler: Rachel Harrison / Tanya Leighton: Aleksandra Domanovic / Daniel Marzona: Olaf Holzapfel / Mathew Gallery: Richard Phillips / Meyer Riegger: Miriam Cahn / Galerie Nagel Draxler: Egan Frantz; Günther Förg, Hans-Jörg Mayer, Martin Kippenberger, Heimo Zobernig / Galerie Neu: Anne Collier; Victor Man / neugerriemschneider: Tobias Rehberger / Galerie Nordenhake: Michael Schmidt / Peres Projects: Mike Bouchet / Galeria Plan B: Victor Man / Galerija Gregor Podnar: Julije Knifer / PSM: Eduardo Basualdo / Aurel Scheibler: Ernst Wilhelm Nay / Esther Schipper: Tomás Saraceno / Galerie Micky Schubert: Ketuta Alexi-Meskhishvili / Galerie Thomas Schulte: Idris Khan; Daniel Buren / Société: Petra Cortright / Sprüth Magers: Thea Djordjadze; Craig Kauffman; Alexandre Singh / Supportico Lopez: Adriano Costa / Galerie Barbara Thumm: Diango Hernández / VW (Veneklasen Werner): Pat O’Neill / Galerie Barbara Weiss: Maria Eichhorn / Wentrup: Peles Empire / Kunsthandel Wolfgang Werner: Per Kirkeby / Barbara Wien: Michael Rakowitz / Zak Branicka: KwieKulik.