Gems

In the course of the last decade I have on and off worked on publications with writing by artist/jeweller Leonor Hipólito, designed by Arne Kaiser. I knew Arne through publications I’d worked on with curator Jürgen Bock, so via this string of connections I was invited to work on Leonor’s texts. The first one, überstein, published in 2009, was followed by Beyond Emotions (2012), 22 Reflections on the Dissolution of the Self (2015), Looking at Us (2017) and the next one, titled Writing Pad, is about to be published in January 2019, making it five in total. Where the first few showed the writing alongside single examples of material work, in the more recent ones they are interspersed with photographic imagery and installation shots.

Similar to her material work, which I see as a poetic spatial practice, Leonor’s writing is a kind of spatial poetics, with a strong philosophical undercurrent. Each publication takes shape at its own pace, with the writing evolving alongside Leonor’s material practice, following by often months of slow tinkering and toing and froing between us over choice of words, sentence orders, commas, semi-colons, etc. It is a delicate and collaborative process, but one that is suffused with strong decisions, and clear thinking. Working on Leonor’s texts offers an interesting change of scenery from the often long, much more academically inclined texts I tend to work on and with, although they may engage with similar topics.

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Drawing a Tension

In 2008 Jürgen Bock was invited to curate a show of work from the Deutsche Bank art collection and its then 53,000 art pieces. He came up with a selection of 134 works by 28 artists for the show, which took place at the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

The catalogue gives priority to the individual artistic approaches and contextualises the selected works. According to the designer, Arne Kaiser, ‘it translates the exhibition into another medium, part catalogue, part lexicon of a collective theme.’

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The publication comprises texts by Jürgen Bock, Gertrud Sandqvist and José Bragança de Miranda and was published by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian and Deutsche Bank Art. An interview with Jürgen about the show can be found here. I copy-edited and proofed the English texts.

Jürgen Bock – From Work to Text

Following a series of six exhibitions and a symposium at Centro Cultural de Bélem in Lisbon in 2000–2001, Jürgen Bock invited me to work on the texts for the book. The publication contextualises the exhibitions – which included shows by Heimo Zobernig, Nuno Ribeiro, Eleanor Antin / Harun Farocki, RenéeGreen, Nathan Coley and Alan Sekula – with essays by the participants of the symposium that concluded the project in 2001.

Texts included are by Jürgen Bock, Annelie Pohlen, Alexander Alberro, Diedrich Diederichsen, Miguel Wandscheneider, Sabeth Buchmann, Julain Stallabrass, João Fernandes, Harun Farocki, José António Fernandes Dias, Renée Green, Isabel Carlos and Alan Sekula. The book was designed by Arne Kaiser.

It was through Nathan Coley that I became involved with this project. The text written about his work was translated in English, and he wasn’t entirely happy with it, so asked me whether I’d want to have a look. This must have been how I ended up doing the whole book, as those things go. Jürgen did an interview about the book for Texte zur Kunst.

Ângela Ferreira – Hard Rain Show

The starting point of this catalogue was an exhibition scheduled at the Museu Colecção Berardo in Lisbon to show the work Maison Tropicale, which Ângela Ferreira developed for the representation of Portugal in the Venice Biennial 2007. In the exhibition ‘Hard Rain Show’ she also showed older pieces and a new work especially developed for that show.
The publication catches up with her work, gives background information and contextualizes her new project. It is thought of as a continuation of the publication Maison Tropicale, and according to Arne, the designer, formally continues part of the design.

Edited by Jürgen Bock. Texts by Manthia Diawara, Corinne Diserens, Annelie Pohlen and Jürgen Bock. Design by Arne Kaiser. Published on the occasion of the exhibition Hard Rain Show – Museu Colecção Berardo, Lisbon, and La Criée, Rennes.

Ângela Ferreira – Maison Tropicale

I’ve worked with German curator Jürgen Bock on and off for years. I was introduced to him via Scottish artist Nathan Coley, who had had a show in the space Jürgen curates, alongside being director of the Maumaus art school in Lisbon. In 2007 Jürgen was curator of the Portuguese pavilion in Venice, which showed work by Ângela Ferreira, and he invited me to copy-edit the texts for the catalogue.

Ângela installation Maison Tropicale reflected on colonial history and its contemporary, post- and neo-colonial resonances. The work focused on the legacy of French designer Jean Prouvé, who saw the possibility to further develop modernist ideas and designed a series of aesthetically sophisticated homes that could be mass-produced based on prefabricated aluminium modules. Prouvé’s ideas never took hold in Europe, but the possibility to install a large number of his houses in the African colonies led to the development of his Maison Tropicale. Of the thousands of units originally envisaged, only three prototypes ultimately left Prouvés workshop. In 1949, the first Tropical House was transported by plane to Niger and installed in the capital, Niamey. Two other houses were transported to the Congo and installed in Brazzaville in 1951.

The installation at the Portuguese Pavilion presented the displacement of these houses, transforming them into containers of history, in transit between the worlds of the colonisers and the colonised, the de-colonised and post-modern worlds with their realities of post- and/or neo-colonialism. Ângela Ferreira recreated the places where Prouvés houses were originally installed, highlighting their absence and the traces left behind, evoking the structures themselves through the sculptural objects produced by the artists modular form of architecture resulting from the accumulation of objects in a claustrophobic space and remaining permanently adrift.

The bi-lingual publication offers extensive documentation on Ângela Ferreiras Maison Tropicale and contain essays by Jürgen Bock, Manthia Diawara, Andrew Renton and Gertrud Sandqvist. The book was designed by Arne Kaiser.