New E book Design for Albert Oehlen by Zak Group — BP&O
Statement by Richard Baird.
Albert Oehlen is a German contemporary artist. In his work with the canvas, he combines a bricolage of figurative, collaged, abstract and computer-generated elements, with the focus on process-related and self-imposed parameters such as limited color palettes. His works, as described by the Serpentine Galleries and currently on view in a solo exhibition by Oehlen until February 2020, deal with the history of painting through expressionist brushwork, surrealistic gestures and conscious amateurism and push the essential components of color and gesture , Movement and time a new direction. This spirit of bold gestures, levels and new approaches is captured in a narrow, unbound artist book designed by the London-based Zak Group. This is an extension of the exhibition.
Under the heading "The John Graham Remix" the exhibition brings together selected works by Albert Oehlen from the 1980s to the present day. These works are associated with a redesign of elements from Tramonto Spaventoso by the Polish-American artist John D. Graham, which Oehlen found in a book as a black and white reproduction. The artist examines and deals with the falseness of painting and the process and potential of learning from works that could be of less cultural and creative value. This reconfiguration of art by others culminates in a site-specific centerpiece of large-format paintings. These transform the curved heart of the Serpentine Gallery into a reinterpretation of Huston's Rothko chapel.
The book is characterized by large-format, matt-coated sheets. These are not bound and contain original reproductions of paintings and charcoal drawings. Above the strict sans serif title and the white area of the sheet below is a transparent acetate envelope, which is printed with a bright orange and red screen-printed drawing specially created for the book. This title is repeated on the cover of a polybag that encloses and holds the pages of the book.
Clear and shiny screen printing sheets. Large-format, matt-coated and unbound pages reflect Oehlen's work. The imposition of works of art on the rigor of writing (the formalized criticism) seen in Zak Group's work for Fredrik Værslev. As I imagine it and Bedow's work for Daniel Jensen: Current events serve as a gesture of defiance and overpainting, figuratively. and reconfigure others' work.
Details such as the size and placement of the title and barcode on the polybag, as well as images and loose sheets with full bleed, determine the extent and proportionality and, perhaps more importantly, the newly configured nature and origin. The booklet itself becomes a grotesque corpse from unexpected juxtaposition of charcoal drawings and full-color collage. Fields, intersections, and changing edges offer unexpected moments of contrast, new and unexpected relationships between works, and recurring images that are rendered in different ways. This is the joy of the unbound book concept, the opportunity to pull large pictures through the fold, to experience the complete individual work of art, but also to understand the works as part of a series. There is an invitation and a provocation to the reader to rearrange the brochure and discover and establish further relationships, with page numbering providing a reassuring return to the prescribed value.
The artwork is supplemented by a text by Dawn Adès, which offers an alternative perspective on Oehlen's work. The fully justified sans-serif column format with a large inner edge gives the text a formal quality, a response to an informal and impulsive artistic process of appropriation, reconfiguration and self-imposed parameters. The text, both in its spelling and in its content, and in particular the title on the cover page and the page numbers, act as an anchor for dynamic images that never impress. More works by Zak Group on BP & O.
Design: Zak Group. Opinion: Richard Baird. Fonts used: TBC.
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