September 6th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
MISCHA KUBALL
Wolfsburg and Utopias

August 30th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
IDE TO POLAND II
A new expedition on the CERAMIC & FOOD ROUTE
Bright blue and white ceramics fill the dining room with warmth and visual appeal

August 23rd 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
IDE TO POLAND I
A new expedition on the CERAMIC & FOOD ROUTE
Starts today in Warsaw through 3 October

August 2nd 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
ESTHER SHALEV-GERZ
SUMMER IN PARIS

July 30th 2021

UNAPOLOGETIC CONTENT.

July 26th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
ON THE ROAD AGAIN
ARCO MADRID,
1st Art Fair in 2 years

July 23rd 2021

UNAPOLOGETIC CONTENT.

load more
July 19th 2021

UNAPOLOGETIC CONTENT.

July 16th 2021

UNAPOLOGETIC CONTENT.

July 12th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
IN THE ARTIST'S STUDIO
JASON BUTLER "THE COLLAGES"
Pop-Up Exhibition, Jersey

July 5th 2021

STILL BEHIND THE SCENES:
NINA NOWAK'S EXHIBITION
Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Copenhagen

June 28th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
PER KIRKEBY UNREALISED BRICK PROJECTS
Galleri Susanne Ottesen, Copenhagen

June 21st 2021

NEW ARRIVALS:
MISCHA KUBALL

June 18th 2021

A WALK IN MY LIBRARY:
HELMUT FEDERLE NIETZSCHE-HAUS SILS-MARIA
Schwabe AG Basel, 2004 Peter André Bloch & Jan Thorn-Prikker
on the occasion of Helmut Federle's "Edelweiss im Nietzsche-Haus, Sils-Maria" exhibition in Nietzsche's Haus, Sept 2004 to July 2005

June 14th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
L'INTERSTICE ARLES OPENING
JOSETTE SAYERS AND GUILLAUME ZUILI'S PHOTOGRAPHS
Brave and fearless

load more
June 4th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
THE LAUNCH OF REAL TIME AND THE 3BS

May 24th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
MATHILDE BRETILLOT DESIGNS NEW MUSEUM FOR LA MANUFACTURE DE GIEN

May 17th 2021

THIS TIME TWO YEARS AGO:
DRAW ART FAIR, LONDON, 2019, DESIGNER MATHILDE BRETILLOT AND ARCHITECT MISKA MILLER-LOVEGROVE

May 10th 2021

NEW ARRIVALS:
WETTERLING, STOCKHOLM

April 25th 2021

A WALK IN MY LIBRARY:
HELMUT FEDERLE
ABSTRACT PAINTING OF AMERICA AND EUROPE
Ritter Verlag, Galerie nächst St. Stephan, Vienna Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, 1988

April 11th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
LUKAS HOFFMANN, CNAP ACQUISITION AND TWO EXHIBITIONS

April 9th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
ESTHER SHALEV-GERZ, WEFRAC 2021

February 22nd 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
RICHARD MILAZZO OBSZINE #3
The Sadness of Bad Thinking

load more
February 15th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
RICHARD MILAZZO OBSZINE #3, ART, POETRY, AND THE PATHOS OF COMMUNICATION,
The Art of Impeachment

all posts title image

A WALK IN MY LIBRARY:
HELMUT FEDERLE
ABSTRACT PAINTING OF AMERICA AND EUROPE
Ritter Verlag, Galerie nächst St. Stephan, Vienna Rosemarie Schwarzwälder, 1988

April 25th 2021

PART I

This book arrived earlier today. I found it on ABE’s Books, the drug of choice for those who prize books over human contact these days; we are still in confinement even as Paris wakes up for spring. My suitcase waiting to travel again pulls against this rootedness, which has given me more time in these last twelve months to dig deeper, looking further afield for threads that connect my past to this present moment.

Here is a book on abstraction that chronicles an important exhibition in Vienna in the late ‘80s; from my desk today, it seems in hindsight so visionary. Placing Helmut Federle early on, among two generations of serious artists all of whom chose abstraction as their voice.

I was at that moment, deep inside the belly of the beast in New York, working with John Gibson Gallery, traveling through the world with this hat on. Of the five artists featured in this book and exhibition, six if you include Imi Knoebel, (who oddly chose not to be included). Since that moment decades ago, I have been lucky to be in the studio and get to know and work with four of these titans: Robert Ryman, Robert Mangold and Helmut Federle, also Imi Knoebel.

Left: Helmut Federle, Untitled, 1980, 206×360 cm / Right: Gerhard Richter, Farbtafel, Color-Chart, 1966, 75×50 cm


Robert Ryman’s studio and his house whom he shared with the still-great artist Merrill Wagner and their sons – were often places for a casual visit, dinner, whatever. Gibson gave Wagner an important show in 1986. Two years before this book appeared, and two years after the major 1st exhibition of Helmut Federle in NYC opened the John Gibson Gallery at 568 Broadway. This is all just a bit of context really. I have talked about it before.

Later I worked with Bob Mangold during the LISSON period in London. After that had the wonderful opportunity to meet and work with Knoebel at Ropac.

Right: Helmut Federle, The Great Wall, 1986, 275×185 cm / Left: Helmut Federle, Basics on Form II, 1986, 50×35 cm

PART II

We don’t know why a book arrives on a given day; but in reading a study of abstract painting during the week when Derek Chauvin has been thankfully convicted of second degree murder, I come to the conclusion that there is something here I must understand right now. An urgent inflection point; an attempt at coherence in a world where instability is rampant.

Donald Kuspit writes prophetically in his 1986 introduction, “In a sense, the effort is to risk chaos without seeming to ‘crack’ the system without abandoning it.” We read this today.

Left: Helmut Federle, Woman goes to Paris (East Side Series), 1982, 61×46 cm / Right: Helmut Federle, Gradnetz und Morphologie der Gegend II, 1985, 55×40 cm


“The asymmetry of the so-called New York Paintings (1980) calls attention to radical incompleteness as the implicit ‘theme’ of his works. By this I mean that there is an order that can never be realised, and that this never-to-be-realized-order – with the desperation implicit in it – is articulated through art, indeed, can only be discovered through art, which perversely, is its apotheosis.”

Helmut Federle, Geschwister Scholl, 1987, 275×175 cm


“There is an indelible desperation in Federle’s picture, which deceive one by using what have become the habitual terms of order and balance to articulate an impossible-to-order, impossible-to-balance. This insurmountable instability – its insurmountability itself –- is the ‘subject’ of his pictures.

In this precarious moment of sunshine and grief in a long third lockdown in Paris, watching the world at this cryptic distance and retreat, I seem to attract such a text about profound painting. As a reminder, not to look away, Helmut Federle is present here in such powerful rendering of such visceral instability I feel each hour of each day and night. I pretend everything is all right, just as you do I am sure. Keep in mind we are the lucky ones, I say to myself, the blackbird is singing outside my window. It is a moment to remember. “In Federle, no such balance is possible: balance is forever impossible.”

Left: Helmut Federle, 2 gelbe Vierecke, 1980, 40,5×51 cm / Right: Helmut Federle, Spirale am 9.12.82, 60,5×45,7 cm

PART III

Kuspit time travels through decades, “It is a narcissistic triumph to articulate non-balance without ‘going to pieces’ … the triumph of Federle’s art is that he uses cosmic geometry to articulate anxiety—to give it full voice, indeed, to almost make it into a siren song”

Helmut Federle, Okinava, 1986, 220×325 cm

Yes, this soothes my compulsion for turning its pages wondering why I read his works as a balm, a homeopathic remedy for not understanding why each day is so complicated. Unprepared I could discuss the works, the studio practice, future exhibitions, but here is the part of me perched up there in the corner looking down twitching because I can’t get comfortable anywhere.

Calling on the ghost of Malevich and discussing the others in this exhibition, Kuspit settles again with understated confidence… ”Federle offers a rigorous disequilibrium, which affords a primitive recognition of our own inner disequilibrium and reactivates our theoretical longing for equilibrium, restoring a primitive recognition of its inner necessity. These paintings do not guarantee it, but inaugurate a therapeutic process… Disequilibrium remains a fluid process rather than a crystalline aesthetic, which is why it can empathetically engage us.”