Showing posts with label ralf kwaaknijd. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ralf kwaaknijd. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

outsiderness & photoshop experiments

my drawing "outsider" is being used in various places on the internet, by people wishing to illustrate the feeling of outsiderness. all without asking permission [copyrights apply], but mostly with appropriate reference to this blog, which i insist on since it is hard enough to garner some recognition as an artist. however, to see people using my drawings to bring across some emotion is a special form of recognition, which i greatly appreciate. i have been considering for some time now to release a body of work to wikimedia commons, so that people can use my drawings more freely. but i have not yet studied the consequences in enough detail.

the theme of outsiderness keeps intriguing me [you can click on the label "outsiderness" below this post to see other posts on this theme].

self-portrait in outsider forest~ frank waaldijk
self-portrait in outsider forest (own work, 2012-2013, 21 x 21 cm, digital, click on the image for an enlargement)

i'm experimenting, in many ways. the combination of photoshop with `ordinary' drawing fascinates me, but seldom leaves me satisfied. but things are progressing, slowly. i'm extremely hampered by rsi (repetitive strain injury), which has been plaguing me for the past 12 years. the reason also why my blogging activity is limited.

night encounter ~ frank waaldijk
night encounter (ongoing own work, 2007-2012, 21 x 22 cm, digital, click on the image for an enlargement)

finally then, i designed another record sleeve for my friend and fellow artist ralf kwaaknijd, who is also an active musician.

ralfk goes astral ~ frank waaldijk
ralfk goes astral (2012, 35 x 35cm, digital, click on the image for an enlargement)

Monday, December 6, 2010

record sleeves for ralfk (ralf kwaaknijd) - more digital stuff 2

my fellow artist and friend ralf kwaaknijd has a site on saatchi online (i didn't hear him complaining about their terms of use, but anyway these terms have been changed for the better now), and three weeks ago he was picked out by well-known conservator and lecturer ben street as one of 10 artists of the week on saatchi online. good for ralf, but then again he has quite an impressive bio, having had shows in many major museums etc.

like some other reclusive artists, ralf still shuns publicity. little it is known therefore that he is also a musician, mainly guitar/songwriter, and he even brings out records in very limited editions, just for friends. his musician's name is ralfk, and yes, they are just vinyl records, no cds. expensive, but his work sells well, giving him a little leeway to pursue his music in the way he prefers.

anyway, he asked me to design sleeves for these records, (the front side of) 3 of which i will put up here below, in this thread of posts showing what nowadays is within reach with photoshop for anyone, as compared to the pre-digital era. they are perhaps not my finest graphical designs, but i also like to promote ralf kwaaknijd a little bit,!

ralfk plays blues, own work
ralfk plays blues (own work 2008, click on the image for an enlargement)

ralfk plays blues, own work
ralfk plays aachen (own work 2009, click on the image for an enlargement)

ralfk plays blues, own work
ralfk plays the street (own work 2010, click on the image for an enlargement)

[oh, i should talk a little about these designs of course...the first being a portrait of ralf as a blues musician, which he refused initially to put on the sleeve, but i managed to convince him that these blues needed a portrait, more specifically a portrait like this one.

the second design came out of ralf's wish to relate to the cover of `abbey road' by the beatles, but he refused to be recognizably in the picture (but he is there...cameo-wise you might say).

the third design is the latest, reflecting on the fact that ralfk started out as a street musician. then as well as now, he often performs at night when most people are asleep...yet the picture is not taken at night, it is a simple black&white reversal...but it works well i believe.]

Monday, July 12, 2010

not all art is conceptual

oh very well, so i was wrong. i should have said `all referential art is conceptual' or something like that. or (anyway, most interestingly): `all figurative art is conceptual'.

and still that would miss the mark of accuracy, since a substantial part of art is about the direct (mostly visual) experience. which is not always referential i believe (although there might be scientific debate on how much referential activity goes on in the brain when looking at art), and indeed there is in our time quite some art which is completely about the direct experience. one could call this experiental art, let me look up this term to see if it has been coined already.

so it would be perhaps not so interesting but more accurate to say:

most figurative art
has a large
conceptual component

but this type of statement obviously has far less appeal than postmodernized statements like:

not all art
is conceptual
(but this is)

anyway, to continue where the previous post left off, why coin the term `conceptual art'? this term is generally reserved for art which is mainly conceptual, meaning that visual referentiality, artistry & craftmanship play a lesser role than in other art.

in the most extreme cases, the conceptual artwork is not even physically realized, other than as a description of a physical possibility (perhaps even impossibility).

as an example, below ralf kwaaknijd's conceptual artwork `touch mahal':

`A large army transport-helicopter filled with crude oil flies above the Taj Mahal, and spills the oil on the white dome. Riots break out, the clean-up is lengthy and difficult.'

kwaaknijd himself says: "This artwork targets the vise of religion & capitalism in which the world is held, ultimately leading to strife, war, poverty and global pollution. Black-and-white thinking blocks any serious effort to address these global problems. And we are content to let the status quo continue, until some catastrophy forces us to act."

For some other interesting examples you might want to check out Monochrom (or not, then sorry!).

Monday, July 13, 2009

art & entertainment: kunstweek 2009

to continue from the previous post, i remember writing in my comment last year, that the borders between art and entertainment are fading rapidly.

and, the applause machine for this development is being cranked to the highest level. only natural, when one understands the mechanisms behind this. these mechanisms are many and varying in nature.

but a main ingredient is that smart marketing of a relatively shallow product gives a great yield. which is why so much effort is put in the marketing, especially when compared to the product being marketed.
which is why on our television sets we see channel after channel filled with the same rather meaningless entertainment programmes, and we have to search hard among our 100 channels to find serious and well-researched documentaries. [later comment: i must have been in a negative mood writing this - recently i saw various very good documentaries!]

in art, there used to be an added complication. namely the pretention that art is somehow `deep' and `meaningful' and `important commentary on society' etc. etc. etc. but, as we progress, this pretention can surely be dropped. more and more we see that art is being presented as `cultural business'. in the netherlands (as elsewhere i'm sure, since the netherlands never dare to take up a serious frontline position in the arts) the word `cultural entrepreneur' is being advocated instead of `visual artist'.

we are condoning the usurpation of art by business types, money makers and managers. we are more and more sponsoring entertainment which is presented as art, with funds which should [could at least, to be less morally pressuring] be used to create some depths in our modern culture. depths which the entertainment machine will never create, because the effort-yield ratio is too low in business terms.

the running example: kunstweek 2009 (dutch `art week') not only organizes a largely pre-arranged election, but in order to gain momentum -which means enough participants in the election, since success in the entertainment industry is always measured in audience numbers- they offer prizes which can be won if you vote.

and then they dare say (again i translate literally from their website):

Question: Which criteria determine whether an artist is good or not?
Answer: Much can be said on the creative and artistic value of art [sic!], except that it can be measured with concrete norms. There are no conceivable absolute norms for the appreciation of art, neither the market value nor the artistic value. But even if the quality of art cannot be quantified, the resonance and the appreciation can. And that is the goal of the election!

notice, that first they say that there are no conceivable absolute norms for the appreciation of art, and then one sentence later they say that the appreciation of art can be quantified...i'm not joking!

such quantification is even the very goal of the election, they say.

i'm sorry. words fail me. good luck, brave new entertainment world. i always thought art was about something else. perhaps we can invent a new word for artists like me, meaning something like `silly old romantic strugglers with paint, colour, form, life, depth, nature, human existence, beauty'?

better still: let's organize an election for such a word!!! the best word -to be judged by a panel of experts from the advertisement industry- will win the 10,000 easels which were used in the interactive art work `we are all artists' which won the heineken art festival 2009!!! (`we are all artists' is a work by by cultural entrepreneur ralf kwaaknijd in which on a large public square 10,000 people (selected through an internet election) paint a collective portrait of our queen, which is 100 x 100 pixels. each canvas is approximately 20 x 20 cm, the completed portrait measures 20 m x 20 m.)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

flamingo man: art appropriation taken too far?

flamingo man, ralf kwaaknijd & unknown nigerian artistralf kwaaknijd, flamingo man (45 x 10 x 10 cm, wood & flamingo feather, 2009)

ok, one might ask, what is art appropriation? well, see wikipedia:
In the [(visual arts)], to appropriate something means adopting, borrowing, recycling or sampling aspects (or the entire form) of man made visual culture. The Oxford English Dictionary defines appropriation in relation to art as 'the practice or technique of reworking the images or styles contained in earlier works of art, esp. (in later use) in order to provoke critical re-evaluation of well-known pieces by presenting them in new contexts, or to challenge notions of individual creativity or authenticity in art.". The term appropriation refers to the use of borrowed elements in the creation of a new work (as in 'the artist uses appropriation') or refers to the new work itself (as in 'this is a piece of appropriation art'). The artist who uses appropriation may borrow image, sound, objects, forms or styles from art history or [(popular culture)] or other aspects of man made visual culture. Inherent in the process of appropriation is the fact that the new work recontextualizes whatever it borrows to create the new work. In most cases the original 'thing' remains accessible as the original, without change.

so i bought the above flamingo man by ralf kwaaknijd, at a friend's price and therefore dirt cheap actually, as a treat and to inspire me in my new studio (see previous post).

but i have to say, i'm irritated by flamingo man even though i know i'm being played by kwaaknijd to provoke just such irritation. this is very irritating also, to say the least.

kwaaknijd plays with appropriation, as other contemporary artists also do, some all the time, some sometimes. but in this case he might be going a step too far, i think. he took a beautiful, poetic, introspective nigerian sculpture of a man (unknown tribal artist, although he tells me is still researching its origin and will attribute better once he knows more) and simply stuck a flamingo feather in his hand. to then claim it as his own work.

there is more to this than meets the eye, because i confronted ralf about this. i put to him that i found this appropriation to be an extra theft, on top of the already physical theft of an enormous amount of african art by western collectors. (see my previous posts on tribal art). and in fact a theft of a worse kind. because now kwaaknijd also claims the artistic credit, one would say the one inappropriatable element left the original artist.

however kwaaknijd at once responded to me by email, and gave permission to reproduce his reply here:

Dear Frank, you still don't get it do you? Flamingo man is precisely a statement about the theft of art from the `primitive' cultures - so `primitive' that Picasso, Giacometti, you name it, all took their forms and ideas and became famous with them.

Apart from the purely visual beauty of flamingo man (you will have to admit that the feather is transformative!) I wished to demonstrate that one can steal easily from the unknown `tribal' artist. (S)he cannot protect her/himself. One buys a sculpture, and the material possession opens up a can of worms of artist's rights' infringements.
Perhaps you will recall the utterly shaming history of the song the lion sleeps tonight? Please look it up to see what I mean (I even saw an American performer claiming it as his own in some historic footage, but I don't recall precisely where).

Yet, flamingo man can actually help by drawing attention to this, I feel. So yes, you are right, appropriation a step too far, that is precisely the idea. But I do not wish to profit from it. And since I appreciate you taking the time to really reflect on my work, if you wish I will sell it to you for the price that I paid for the sculpture, the flamingo feather you get for free.

This way you can own a real Kwaaknijd, and maybe reappropriate it!

Kind regards, Ralf

so now i'm the proud and somewhat ambivalent owner of `flamingo man'. the hell of it is, i have to admit that the flamingo feather is transformative, yet i'm still irritated by kwaaknijd's `easy' claiming of the work. perhaps i'm being too calvinist, feeling that art can only come about by putting in a lot of effort, or maybe i'm just jealous of this postpostmodern hype.

anyway, i'm really glad with flamingo man. to look at a sculpture like that, originating from my great inspiration: african sculpture! it feels wonderful to have it in my studio for daily looking at it.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

fashion & art 2: vincent van gogh continued

ok. having posted the previous painting wheat field under thunderclouds i cannot leave out its famous sibling:

vincent van gogh, wheat field with crows, 1890

vincent van gogh, wheat field with crows (1890)

van gogh's works were not the fashion during his lifetime. he could not sell his paintings (i believe he sold just one painting during his life), but other artists recognized his genius. after his death, his paintings quickly gained reputation. vincent to me is probably the antinomy of fashion and contemporary fashion-like art.

theorem: (ralf kwaaknijd, 2008)

the fashionality in contemp art is largely due to the relativistic opportunism of postmodernism.

proof: we leave the proof as an exercise to the reader.

Monday, December 1, 2008

woman, man 6: postpostmodernism & spirituality

ralf kwaaknijd, man woman ii, 2008

ralf kwaaknijd, man woman ii (2008, polystyrene on wood)

so let's connect the two running themes (postpostmodernism & man-woman spirituality) for a moment, returning once again to dutch visual artist ralf kwaaknijd. kwaaknijd obviously kicks against the ruling postmodern art structures with this work, which is so small that one must squat to see it properly. (an ironic reference to the in kwaaknijds eyes unpalatable and unimaginative postmodern sculptures which borrow their legitimization purely from their absurdly large size). yet this irony could be construed as postmodern, were it not for the fact that kwaaknijd also carefully chooses his subject, materials and sculptural form. man and woman here are engaged in an abstract entanglement which can be viewed both as dance and as struggle, as embrace and as fight, as opposing and together. made from the same materials and forms, man and woman are -somewhat fiercely perhaps- completely equal, thus shattering any `romantic' but discriminatory notions one sees so often in prepostmodern art. but what about sex?

ralf kwaaknijd, man woman i, 2008

ralf kwaaknijd, man woman i (2008, polystyrene on wood)

in the same man woman series, kwaaknijd comments on the -in his view absurd- role of sex in postmodern art. since postmodernism cuts away `meaning' and `sense' and even `morality', what is left in terms of human motivation? often sex is the answer. largely of course because sex still has some power to shock the general public, making an artist who uses explicit sex somewhat of a controversial figure, which is 3/4 of the thrust of the postmodern establishment. shallow for those who see through this marketing technique, but then again that is a seldom heard minority.

but also because in the absence of any `higher' or `spiritual' values, people really start defining their `realization' in terms of sex.

kwaaknijd's sculpture above tackles these issues rather blatantly, in the familiar abstract sense. looking closely one sees an abstract representation of male and female genitals, engaged in sex. yet once again, male and female parts are made of the same materials and sculptural forms, closely resembling their parallel embryonal genesis (for those of you with a working knowledge of embryology). the reduction of `man woman' to their genitals is both scornful and yet, in its simplicity also defusing. sex is simple, from nature's abstract point of view. there are no higher values in sex, unless we add other values...and for this we need some form of spirituality - a simpler conclusion is: we need some form of spirituality (which is a decidedly unpostmodern view).

kwaaknijd however still uses postmodernist techniques, he exaggerates them, distorts them, but he is still a child of his times. this to me suggests the term postpostmodernism. and i wait impatiently for a truly different ism to shoot up. come, daring fellow artists, whither shall we go?

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

dutch visual artist ralf kwaaknijd: the purpose of art is controversy & the hidden in plain sight series 2

the reason that kwaaknijd is being sued by citizens rights' organizations such as the french citoyens contre la contresurveillance is that his unobtrusive hidden-in-plain-sight works are actually being monitored and filmed on a 24/7 basis. the (digital) videorecordings reveal amongst others the general public's reaction to the discovery -for instance- that the object they just sat on is ART. But also the general public's nondiscovery of the object as a work of art.

kwaaknijd uses the footages in a synthesis apotheosis of his hidden-in-plain-sight series, to confront both art experts and the general public with the increasing cryptogenetic content and appearance of modern art, where only the text tags on the wall tell us what is art and what not.

however, for obvious reasons, the videoregistration of the using of the toilets in his carefully painted and designed pub(l)ic art space / hidden in plain sight xxiii is a privacy violation in the eyes of citoyens contre la contresurveillance (cccs).

ralf kwaaknijd - pub(l)ic art space / hidden in plain sight xxiii (2001, louvre paris)

but cccs also fights the enregistration of say, people trying to clean up the debris in rectangular spatial composition with debris / hidden in plain sight xlvii , and then finding out the debris won't budge (since it is glued to the floor) and then noticing the small sign on the wall saying: don't sit on the artwork, do not touch - above the attributal tag with title and artist.

ralf kwaaknijd - rectangular spatial composition with debris / hidden in plain sight xlvii (2008, louvre, paris)

kwaaknijd has repeatedly stated that he is glad with the law suits, since he considers the purpose of art to be to create controversy. art to kwaaknijd is only worthwile as

`anything to shake up the rusted beliefs and mindsets of the public and the art world in particular. we must continuously create new synapses in the brains, faster than our forebears, or we will end up like our forebears and mess up our world. forget esthetics, forget beauty, forget understanding. we must act art, to disrupt and regroup'.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

dutch visual artist ralf kwaaknijd: the purpose of art is controversy & the hidden in plain sight series

i've been trying to reach the infamous dutch artist ralf kwaaknijd for comments on the controversy over his work, but it seems he is very busy working on his new installation series, which is taking him around the world to leading museums of modern art.

one of his best known series hidden in plain sight still is surrounded with controversy and even law suits from concerned citizens' rights organizations.

let me reproduce some of these `hidden in plain sight' works here, first without commentary.

ralf kwaaknijd, rectangular spatial composition / hidden in plain sight ix

ralf kwaaknijd, rectangular spatial composition / hidden in plain sight ix (2006, stedelijk museum amsterdam)

ralf kwaaknijd - pub(l)ic art space / hidden in plain sight xxiii (2001, louvre paris)

ralf kwaaknijd, pub(l)ic art space / hidden in plain sight xxiii (2001, louvre paris)

ralf kwaaknijd - reflectionary interactive surface composition / hidden in plain sight xxix (2006, stedelijk museum amsterdam)

ralf kwaaknijd, reflectionary interactive surface composition / hidden in plain sight xxix (2006, stedelijk museum amsterdam)

ralf kwaaknijd - rectangular spatial-flat composition with brick background / hidden in plain sight xiv  (2004, bonnefantenmuseum, maastricht)

ralf kwaaknijd, rectangular spatial-flat composition with brick background / hidden in plain sight xiv (2004, bonnefantenmuseum, maastricht)

ralf kwaaknijd - rectangular spatial composition with debris / hidden in plain sight xlvii (2008, louvre, paris)

ralf kwaaknijd rectangular spatial composition with debris / hidden in plain sight xlvii (2008, louvre, paris)

the one below is perhaps a forgery, as stated in an earlier post:

ralf kwaaknijd, paradise snake

ralf kwaaknijd, paradise snake / hidden in plain sight xxxiv (2005, centre pompidou paris)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

quality & art 12: forgery 2

returning to `quality and art', although really this theme also underlies all the previous posts, i would like to add some extra background to the post on anonymous art and forgeries. [where anonymized art as well as forgeries are presented as methods to prick through the balloon of art legitimization. a balloon which floats most of the contemporary art scene. don't be impressed by it, is what i'm saying.]

so, forgeries. what do they have to do with quality?

suppose i would brilliantly forge a scarlatti sonata. [you should read this, to be honest about my musical ablities, as: suppose i COULD forge a scarlatti sonata ;-)]. i would claim i was cleaning some attic, conveniently dating back to the 18th century, when suddenly my eye fell upon...etc.

experts go wild. in all the texts 555 has to be replaced by 556. special performances are given all over the world. reviews are raving.

then, i'm found out. boohoo. BUT does it make the music any less beautiful? is its QUALITY any less for having been found out as a forgery?

well, in the visual arts this is not a question. so-called experts even frown upon this question. a forgery of a matisse, when found out, will be removed from the museum's exhibition. how hard is it to forge a matisse? well, to be honest, i don't think that should be too difficult.

henri matisse, icarus

henri matisse, icarus

in fact i have sold a number of...oh. perhaps i should wait a little with this revelation, since the centre pompidou is already in trouble with another suspected forgery, see below.

ralf kwaaknijd, paradise snake

ralf kwaaknijd, paradise snake / hidden in plain sight xxxiv, 2005, centre pompidou paris

rather exact replicas of this work from controversial dutch visual artist ralf kwaaknijd have been acquired by a number of other museums of modern art, raising serious questions as to its authenticity. [ralf kwaaknijd is preparing a statement on the issue, it is said. more work by kwaaknijd later.].