October 18th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
IDE TO POLAND
POSTSCRIPT PARIS

October 11th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
IDE TO POLAND III
Out of the oven
Warsaw Sept 28-Oct 3

October 5th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
HELMUT FEDERLE
NOVARTIS Campus – Forum 3, Basel
DIENER & DIENER - WIEDERIN
2005

October 2nd 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
BETWEEN LISTENING AND TELLING
Esther Shalev Gerz
Nuit Blanche Paris,
Tonight

September 27th 2021

UNAPOLOGETIC CONTENT.

September 20th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
ART BASEL HALL 2.0C1
René Schmitt and ART & LANGUAGE
THESE SCENES, 2016

September 6th 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
MISCHA KUBALL
Wolfsburg and Utopias

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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.

July 19th 2021

UNAPOLOGETIC CONTENT.

July 16th 2021

UNAPOLOGETIC CONTENT.

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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

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

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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

February 15th 2021

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

February 1st 2021

BEHIND THE SCENES:
WITH POET/CURATOR RICHARD MILAZZO
REVISITING OBSZINE #3

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January 12th 2021

A WALK IN MY LIBRARY:
POETRY IN SEDITIOUS TIMES

January 5th 2021

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND SOUVENIRS FROM 2020!

all posts title image
THESE SCENES, View of the portfolio’s cover (2016)

BEHIND THE SCENES:
ART BASEL HALL 2.0C1
René Schmitt and ART & LANGUAGE
THESE SCENES, 2016

September 20th 2021

THESE SCENES, The Suprematist Squares (2016)

PART I

I am writing this on the eve of the opening of ART BASEL 2021. It is the first time René Schmitt Druckgraphik, Berlin, is exhibiting and he is showing a very special portfolio that we worked on together with ART & LANGUAGE (Michael Baldwin and Mel Ramsden) in 2016. During this time, I made an exhibition THE NON-OBJECTIVE WORLD at SPROVIERI London, about the Black Square works of Kabakov and ART & LANGUAGE. The exhibition led to a book. A result of the unanimous excitement and praise of the project (it was displayed in Basel that year) René asked me if maybe the artists would consider making a group of prints on the subject. A new project was born.

Michael Baldwin hand writing the text ‘Eight Suprematist Squares’ on each print © JSVC, 2016

It is a vital, robust and strong portfolio that captures the edgy dialectic at the heart of their disruptive approach to the art world as a whole. Having found a place on the edges of artistic creation that often confounds and baffles viewers, this collective project now in its almost 6th decade makes it clear that the radicalism of the 1960’s is never far below the surface; as aesthetic discourse or digression. They have resisted the siren’s song of pandering to market forces and stuck to their guns, and those guns are coming out brightly in Basel this year.

Their long-time gallery in Belgium Mullier-Mullier will display early works, and Schmitt will offer THESE SCENES, five prints as an iconic mini collection, a testament to a kind of understanding of the reality of modernism, while questioning all the while, what it is to be contemporary. Suddenly in this very disruptive time ART BASEL is trying to catch up with itself and a market, offering us something daring in September, while the carrot of next June is not far away from the tip of our noses.

THESE SCENES, Secret Painting (2016)

PART II

In the months before my 2016 exhibition, I interviewed Michael Baldwin and Mel Ramsden about what they remembered of the appearance of the Malevich ‘The Non-Objective World’ in English during their early 20’s. The interview I will share in snippets here with commentary. The images you will see are the five monoprints made each with a different medium and by hand, they arrive in a hand-painted wooden portfolio box which is a work of art as well. As we have come through a period of great upheaval and it is still with us, it seemed that the social and political dimension of the discussion was still very relevant.

THESE SCENES, Guaranteed Painting (2016)

B: The glamour of the appearance of ‘The Non-Objective World’ in the mid 60’s (Malevich was an artist of myth and mystery) may have been attributable to the fact that the work was inaccessible. Remembering that the Soviet Union was at full cry in the Cold war, the Cultural Revolution in China was happening… There was a connection between various discourses about abstract art—heavily reductive abstract art—and questions of social change. Those connections were of a great deal of interest to us. Nobody quite knew how they might really be connected—how social change, revolution and an apparently revolutionary artistic style were connected.

THESE SCENES, Cracked surface with text beneath (2016)

R: About the Malevich book the fact that he went on in this really weird language about a world without things, about art without objects, art without things. What he meant I think was without depicting things. It was still kind of interesting. Remember in 1965 I didn’t know Michael. For me, some of the appeal of the Black Square was that it had a connection to Ad Reinhardt… We were attracted to the possibility of deflating the ‘metaphysics’ of the Square. ‘Conveying the feeling of universal space.’

B: We turned away from those overheated metaphysically grand statements and were being directed by voices which were a lot drier, a lot more analytical and a lot less enchanted with universality and philosophical grandeur.

THESE SCENES, No secret at all (2016)

PART III

B: We have been fucking up monochromes and Black Squares for years. Intermittently, but it has nothing to do with us, well a little bit to do with its formality and a great deal to do with its cultural guise as a sign of purification and distillation. Most artistic purifications and distillations are, to my mind, intrinsically good.

Michael Baldwin painting the black square on each portfolio cover in a different shade of grey © JSVC, 2016

R: But Black Squares can get boring. There is always a sense in which what we produced were guises and sign-exchanges and (dis)guises for these culturally overheated products.

Which is why perhaps in this portfolio you have five different costume changes for the Black Square. They incorporate the strategies and interest ART & LANGUAGE have evidenced from the beginning of their careers. 1) The Suprematist Squares; 2) Secret Painting; 3) Guaranteed Painting; 4) Cracked surface with text beneath; 5) No secret at all. Together this set of works illustrates the varied and unrelenting commitment these artists maintained for decades, to the discussion of language and its place in the visual process we call art.

Mel Ramsden painting the grey spectrum on the cover of each portfolio box © JSVC, 2016

These works raise issues with a crisp authority. Is reading a text the same thing as looking at a black abstract square? If you put one behind the other is the meaning changed? If you open fissures in the foreground of the abstract monochrome so rivulets of text seep into the visual field, is it still a text work or a painting? How do you read? Is it the same kind of seeing used when looking at a Black Square?

Mel Ramsden signing and numbering the portfolio box with Michael Baldwin © JSVC, 2016

THESE SCENES (2016)
A portfolio of 5 mixed media collage works including:
Monotype, woodblock print, aquatint etching, Xerox print, pencil drawing, crayon drawing and Letraset on 300 gr laid paper in wooden box, each with unique painting.
Each 120.4 x 81 cm, Edition of 12 + 2 H.C (each set is unique).
Each hand-signed, numbered and stamped Art & Language.

Quotes from the book:
The THE NON-OBJECTIVE WORLD. ART & LANGUAGE / KABAKOV, Sprovieri, Edited by Jill Silverman van Coenegrachts.
Texts by Art & Language, Matthew Jesse Jackson, Ilya Kabakov, Rod Mengham, Andrei Nakov.
Sprovieri, London, 2016.

More info:

René Schmitt, Berlin

Art Basel 2021, Basel