Blog USA / A Maze’N Books

WB: Below Wandering Bears are proud to present Anouk Kruithof‘s insight into the New York Art Book Fair as well as her interests and past work, a meaty post but we think you’ll like it.

Anouk Kruithof is one of the leaders in contemporary photography, originally from Holland, Kruithof has spent the past few years in Berlin where she attended the Artist in Residence program Künstlerhaus Bethanien. Most notably Kruithof has had solo exhibitions at the museum Het Domein, Sittard and FOAM Amsterdam. Last February she won the ILLY public prize at ART Rotterdam and in May both the Grand Prix Jury and the SVA photoglobal prize at Hyeres, festival international de mode et photographie.

Anouk Kruithof: For me a book requires two elements, it has to contain a strong piece of work and most importantly a work which has it’s own existence. Throughout the artbookfair I carefully browsed through many books in order to find some (to me) very special ones, which I would like to tell you about as a guest blogger on this Wandering Bears site.

At the NYC ART BOOK FAIR you see many many many books. There are so many books that most people, when you ask them what they think of the NYC ART BOOK FAIR, they almost always tell you that they are overwhelmed.

“I can’t take in any more…”

“I am exhausted”

“It is too much”

Hanging out on the stairs in front of MOMA PS1 with the most hippest coffee of NYC, checking out other people who are giving a shot to navigate through A MAZE ‘n BOOKS on the artbookfair. I myself spent 3.5 days on the artbookfair because I am new in NYC and I had nothing to do really haha. No I had a very serious proper reason to be present actually. I made a new little artistbook called “a head with wings” in collaboration with Alec Soth and LBM press….But most of all of corse because I love the form of the printed book as a scope for artwork. I made over the last 8 years 6 artistbooks of photographic projects I did and I love to discover books of other artists, from whom I appreciate their work. I think I am very critical though…. not often a book really surprises me, especially not a ‘photography’ book.

Of course there are a lot of really interesting photography projects, but often boringly presented in a ‘standard catalogue way’ to lay on your table and put your delicious coffee cup next to it. What to me, really is a pity! Probably this frustrates me a bit, does this actually has to do something with the fact I am Dutch and having this history of Dutch (graphic) Design in my backpack at all times? I am not sure about it…. but I do think more photographers should think a bit longer about the content of their photography project, having conversations with graphic designers and publishers about it and find their right form to present their work in a way that it add’s something to the project and makes the final outcome: the book a strong work.

MORTADELLA by Christoph Hänsli

I want to tell you something about the book called: MORTADELLA, from which I bought 2 copies. One for myself and one for my previous intern Sascha Landshoff, who is besides a talented student as well as a cook in the Italian restaurant of his parents. We worked together for half a year: 3 months in the Netherlands on the birthday project I did and later on 3 months in Berlin. The first few times we collaborated he always brought Mortadella, mayonnaise and bread with him and he loves pork meat in every variation. Therefore I thought this book fits him so well. And yes he is happy with it (quote from Sascha about the book…: “Woooooooooooooooowwwwww, wat cool man”) because it is a really good book.

The cover of the book tells you this:

Take a smallish mortadella sausage-about 16 cm in diameter and 22 cm long. The Mortadella sausage was invented in bologna at the beginning of the 17th century. It’s name comes from the fact that originally it was minced mortar, a seasoned with myrtle berries. The meat should be pure pork, and other seasonings always include coriander and white wine. Cut the mortadella into 166 slices, each slice about 1.5 mm thinck. Number of slices, and study each slice from both sides. The two sides are never the same, for, during the 1.5 mm, the parts of lean and fat and the particles of grains have evolved, with their shapes marginally changing. Take a photo of each side of each slice. 332 photos.

The project is to make lifesize paintings, using the photos as an aid-memoire-on stiff white cards of each  side of each slice of the given mortadella.

To me this is an interesting book because it begins with a surprise and I love surprises!

You have to unpack the book as a present out of paper, which they use at the Italian butcher-shops to wrap the meat in. On this paper information about the book is printed. Also at the beginning of the book, just before the page with the first painting has arisen there is an empty sheet, which is also the real paper the butcher uses to divide the slices of meat before wrapping it. Here you have also a little division between the first 2 pages with information and the work: 332 different paintings made by Christoph Hänsli over a time of 13 months, at least, that is what I have heard from the publisher. I did not asked the artist myself. Another surprising element is the fact that one could suppose that the sides of two slices of Mortadella, which were once contiguous, would be mirror images of one another when opened out. Yet this is not the case. All the 332 photos and later paintings are different. Your first quick browse through can give you a “aha” feeling, but when you take a closer look you can experience all kind of new beautiful little pink landscape planets in all the different mortadella slices.

More info about this Swiss artist.

Take a look at the poster and learn more about German (or Swiss-german?) sausages…. At the same time please listen to this soundtrack.

MORTADELLA by Christoph Hänsli
With a Text by John Berger in German, English and Italian
Graphic Design: Cornel Windlin, Nazareno Crea
Softcover, 348 pages, 332 color images

Edition Patrick Frey N° 71/2008/ISBN: 978-3-90550-71-7

Here you can read what the publisher Edition Patrick Frey wrote about this book.

I really would like to share some books and other MEATY references now…

PIG 05049 by Christien Meindertsma

Christien Meindertsma has spent three years researching all the products made from a single pig. Amongst some of the more unexpected results were: Ammunition, medicine, photo paper, heart valves, brakes, chewing gum, porcelain, cosmetics, cigarettes, conditioner and even bio diesel.

Obviously when I looked at the MORTADELLA book I had to think about the old time brilliant photo classic series: The Sausage Photographs (1979) from the Swiss artist duo Fischli & Weiss. I believe the complete series must exist out of 10 photos, but underneath you can see 5 of them.

This project was their first collaborative project, and exemplifies their inventive and humorous use of everyday materials to create a compelling fictional world. Each photograph documents a dramatic scene composed using sausages, various cold meats and common household goods. Reminiscent of a children’s game, with its unbounded capacity for make-believe, the artists transform crumpled bedding into an Alpine landscape and slices of luncheon meat into patterned carpets. In ‘The Accident’, two sausage cars have collided in a narrow street lined with cardboard buildings while on-lookers, in the form of cigarette butts, stare at the wreckage. The scene is extremely convincing, despite being made from such bizarre materials.

The titles of the photos are very important. Check them out here:

Sausage Photos At The Carpet Shop

Fischli & Weiss – The Sausage Photographs

Sausage Photos Fire of Ulster

Sausage Photos in Themount

Sausage Photos The Accidend

Last but not least, someone else with humor obsessed by meat: Bill Burke.

Check out this funny meat pictures here and mention the titles.

Worried Meat

Scary Roast

Gator of Beef

Dumbo in Hell

Buffalo of Buffalo

Babe of Beef

As well as his book Destructo, which is not online yet, but you can see some of the images out of this book here

Hope you enjoyed reading my post and I’ll see you next week….

Anouk

www.anoukkruithof.nl
www.anoukkruithof.tumblr.com