Céline Manz (she/her)
Born in 1981 in Zurich, Switzerland. Based in Basel. Research-based multidisciplinary artist. Initiator of the artist-run space STUDIO 47 and the publishing platform STUDIO 47 PRESS.
2017-2019 — MA in Contemporary Art Practice at the Royal College of Art, London (UK)
2011-2013 — BA in Photography at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam (NL)
2009-2011 — Education as photographer at the École d'Art Appliqués, Vevey (CH)
2007-2008 — A-Level in Arts and Design at the Schule für Gestaltung, Basel (CH)
2003-2006 — Apprenticeship as bookseller at the Comix Shop, Basel (CH)
Grants, Awards & special Programs
2023 — Residency at MeetFactory, Praha (CZ) in partnership with Swiss Embassy CZ
2022 — Recherchenbeitrag Pro Helvetia (CH)
2022 — Travel Prize by Basler Kunstverein (CH)
2020 — Förderatelier Klingentalkirche Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt (CH)
2020 — Werkbeitrag Pro Helvetia (CH)
2019 — Projektbeitrag Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt (CH)
2019 — Outset X Tiffany & Co. Studiomakers Prize 2019 (UK)
2018 — Residency at Cité internationale des Arts, Paris (FR)
2018 - Patronagefonds Basler Kunstverein (CH)
2017 — Prix Photoforum 2017, nominee short list (CH)
2017 — International short fiction film competition of the 16th Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival luff, short list (CH)
2016 — Projektbeitrag Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt (CH)
2015 — Werkbeitrag Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt (CH)
2015 — Message in a Photo Foundation (Miap) (NL)
2015 — Gerrit Rietveld Academie (NL)
2015 — Kulturpauschale Basel-Stadt (CH)
2015 — kulturelles.bl (CH)
2014/2015 — 3Package Deal - Grant by Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst (AFK) and Bureau Broedplaatsen (BBP) in collaboration with FOAM, Gerrit Rietveld Academie and de Appel Arts Centre (NL)
2014/2015 — 'Talent ontmoet Talent' - Program by the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (KNAW), Amsterdam (NL)
2013 — Prix Photoforum 2013, nominee short list, (CH)
2013 — Nominee Gogbot Youngblood Award 2013 (NL)
2013 — Gerrit Rietveld Award, nominee Fine Arts (NL)
2013 — European Photography Award, nominee short list
2013 - Christine Stichting (NL)
2012 - Patronagefonds Basler Kunstverein (CH)
2011 — VFG Nachwuchsförderpreis 2011, Runners up (CH)
Publications & Editions
2021 — 'Living Abstraction • Plates. Comission dedicated to Sophie Taeuber for the Kunstmuseum Basel on the occasion of the exhibition 'Sophie Taeuber-Arp: Living abstraction', Kunstmuseum Basel, (CH)
2020 —(Editor) 'Annemarie geht auf Reisen', limited edition of t-shirts, STUDIO 47 PRESS, Basel (CH)
2020 —(Editor) Meret Oppenheim: Dankesrede für den Kunstpreis der Stadt Basel. Free edition of 600 copies, self-published, Basel (CH)
2020 —'fold; Tea Towels, limited edition of tea towels, self published
2019 —fold; DaDa Letters (with Laura Lienhard)audio, html, STUDIO 47 PRESS, London (UK)
2019 —Jakob Warmenbol & Céline Manz: 'fold; Rhythmic Sound Patterns' Audio File, STUDIO 47 PRESS, London (UK)
2015 — (Editor) Sonia de Jager: The Author Has Collected The Remarks Of Various People...", Brochure, STUDIO 47 PRESS, Amsterdam, ISBN:978-90-822850-0-0 (NL)
2015 — (Editor) Sonia de Jager & Lotte Reimann: Venus de Milo is a man, Audio cassette and foldout, STUDIO 47 PRESS, Amsterdam, ISBN:978-90-822850-1-7 (NL)
2014 — Hungry for Love, collaboration with Xavier Fernandez Fuentes, artist book, ISBN: 978-90-817584-3-7, online publication, Amsterdam (NL)
2014 — The Appropriators User Guide - Interactive PDF for the students of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam (NL)
2013 — The Appropriators User Guide - The Checklist, on 1000 Things, Encyclopedia of the Studium Generale at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, De Hague (NL)
2013 — The Appropriators User Guide, artist book, self published, Amsterdam (NL)
2013 — What Do You Know About Art, You're Not A Lawyer, Essay, PDF, Amsterdam (NL)
2016 —Atopos: UNLOCKED - Book (GR)
2015 — Het Grote Amsterdamse Kunstkalender 2016 (NL)
2015 — Up & Coming - digitaler Katalog der jungen Kunst (CH)
2013 — New Dutch Photography Talent 2013, catalogue, GUP magazine, xpublishers BV, Amsterdam (NL)
2009 — Vincent unser, collaboration with Andreas Schneitter. Publication of Basler Zeitung for the Van Gogh Exhibition at Museum of Arts in Basel (CH)
Talks & Performances
2023 Open Studio and Performance during Kunsttage Basel
2021 — 18.02.21: Pivoting the Centre. Une conversation sur les configurations post-canoniques des histoires de l'art (fr./angl.) Intervenant.e.s : Kadiatou Diallo, Maria Iorio & Raphaël Cuomo, Céline Manz, Uriel Orlow. Concept et modération : Federica Martini et Nicole Schweizer (CH)
2020 — An evening dedicated to Annemarie von Matt at Nidwaldner Museum, Stans - Panel discussion «und: mit dem Wissen wächst die Unruhe» with Beatrice von Matt, Sibylle Omlin and Céline Manz, moderated by Patrizia Keller, book launch Annemarie von Matt «Meine Nacht schläft nicht»
2019 — Panel discussion at Regenerative Feedback Festival 2019 at Worm, Rotterdam
2018 — 10 Dec 2018: "Schnittmengen #5: All that remains. Researching artists' estates" - Panel discussion organized by eikones (Center for the Theory and History of the image, University of Basel), hosted by Tinguely Museum Basel
2017 - Chäs u Chole - Art Bar at Kunsthaus Langenthal (CH)
2016 - Guided Tour Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt 2016 Kunsthalle Basel (CH)
2016 - Céline Manz: Rythme sans fin, N° 1 - 1832. Artist talk, de Appel arts centre, Amsterdam (NL)
2016 - 'De Correspondent presenteert Artfest: De Copyrighteditie', Tolhuistuin, Amsterdam
2014 — Hungry for Love - The Exhibition: Céline Manz & Xavier Fernandez Fuentes - Artist Talk, WoW, Amsterdam (NL)
2014 — Gazing Upon My Reflection - Artist Talk, Schwarzwaldallee, Basel (CH)
2014 — 1st - Artist Talk, Island Hamburg (DE)
2013 — (S)elected Sunday Salon, Artist Talk with Sacha Bronwasser, Castrum Peregrini, Amsterdam (NL)
Shows & Fairs
2023 June & August Open Studio with performances at MeetFactory Praha CZ
2022 Offscreen PAD at Printed Matter Art Book Fairs Block Party, New York NY. organized by screen_ and p.a.d.
2022 Kunsttage Basel: Open Studios at Atelierhaus Klingental Basel
2022 Florilegium at Zeughaus Teufen
2021 Visarte Basel - Entrée & Hommage 21 at M54 Basel
2021 I never read, Art Book Fair Basel 2021 at Messe Basel
2019 — fold; Céline Manz / S. de Jager duo solo show,STUDIO 47 at Herman Rotterdam (NL)
2019 — Jakob Warmenbol & Céline Manz: Album launch 'fold; Rhythmic Sound Pattern' at Regenerative Feedback Festival 2019 at Worm, Rotterdam (NL)
2019 — Please Trespass - An invitation to question the limits of intellectual property and the possibilities of a free culture. With works by Yogesh Barve, Raphaël Bastide, Nicolas Maigret, Céline Manz, Jan Nikolai Nelles & Nora Al-Badri, and Open Music Archive, curated by Polynome Collective. 19 Côté Cour, Paris (FR)
2018 — 1 Dec 2018 – 23 Dec 2018: The Annotated Reader - exhibition-as-publication, or publication-as-exhibition curated by Ryan Gander and Jonathan P. Watts - Town Centre Great Yarmouth, Norfolk (UK)/a>
2018 — RCA WIP Show 2018, Royal College of Art, London (UK)
2017 - Chäs u Chole - Group exhibition at Kunsthaus Langenthal (CH)
2016 - Polly's Playground @ Hotel Maria Kapel, Hoorn (NL)
2016 - Museumsnacht 2016 Van Gogh Museum Amsterdam (NL)
2016 - Ausstellung Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt 2016 Kunsthalle Basel (CH)
2016 - Céline Manz: Rythme sans fin, N° 1 - 1832. Exhibition and artist talk, de Appel arts centre, Amsterdam (NL)
2016 - 'UNLOCKED', Atopos, Athens (GR)
2016 - Nieuwe Aanwinsten AMC-collectie AMC Brummelkamp Galerie, Amsterdam
2015/2016 - VBCN 10 Jaar Jong - Exhibition curated by Alix de Massiac and Vincent van Velsen, VBCN Open Space Amsterdam (NL)
2015 - With STUDIO 47: UNSEEN Photo Fair Amsterdam (NL)
2015 - With STUDIO 47: Alt_chp Alternative Art Fair Copenhagen (DK)
2015 - Dead Darlings 8 Anonymous Art Auction, Looiersgracht 60 Amsterdam (NL)
2015 - במה ללא במה - Stage without stage - Evening of multimedia performances by Yuli Kovbasnian and Céline Manz, Anna Loulou Bar, Tel Aviv (IL)
2014/2015 — TRAINS - Céline Manz & Jacqueline de Jong, Sociëteit De Kring, Amsterdam (NL)
2014 — Hungry for Love - The Exhibition: Céline Manz & Xavier Fernandez Fuentes show selected posters from Hungry for Love, WoW, Amsterdam (NL)
2014 — Unseen Photo Fair Amsterdam Downtown Program: New Dawn Paper & Volkshotel present 'The Folk Revisited' - Group Show, Volkshotel, Amsterdam (NL)
2014 — Gazing Upon My Reflection - Group Show, Schwarzwaldallee, Basel (CH)
2014 — Anna Loulou presents: Darkness No3 - Performance of Interference with Yuli Kovbasnian, Anna Loulou Bar, Tel Aviv-Jaffa (IL)
2014 — 1st - Solo Show, Island Hamburg (DE)
2014 — Interference - Presentation of the work in process "online" with Choreographer Yuli Kovbasnian, Gallery Hanut31, Tel Aviv (IL)
2013/2014 — Prix Photoforum 2013: Selection | Auswahl, Group Show, Photophorum Pasquart, Bienne (CH)
2013 — Art in Redlight 9, Art Fair, Beurs van Berlage Amsterdam (NL)
2013 — Beurs van Kleine Uitgevers, Paradiso Amsterdam (NL)
2013 — The Back Room - Impromptu Art Market and Group Show, Looiersgracht60 Project Space, Amsterdam (NL)
2013/2014 — Undercover, Museum For Contemporary Art Erata, Group Show, Saint Petersburg (RU)
2013 — (S)elected Amsterdam Art Weekend, Group Show, Castrum Peregrini, Amsterdam (NL)
2013 — (S)elected - Gerrit Rietveld Awards Show, Group Show, Castrum Peregrini, Amsterdam (NL)
2013 — ReadArt Down The Rabbit Hole, Group Show, Lichtfabriek, Haarlem (NL)
2013 — Tokyo Art Book Fair, Tokyo (JP)
2013 — Gogbot Youndblood Graduates 2013, Group Show, Tetem Kunstriumte, Enschede (NL)
2013 — Graduation Show, Group Show, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam (NL)
2013 — Growing Between Spaces, Group Show, Hotel Arena, Amsterdam (NL)
2013 — New Dutch Photography Talent, Group Show, GUP, Amsterdam (NL)
2012 — The Ultimate Performance — No More Boring Art, Group Show, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam (NL)
2012 — Foam Lab presents: ShortCut — One Day Exhibition Contest, Group Show, winning project, De Verdieping, Amsterdam (NL)
2012 — Somatic Intersection, Group Show, WG Punt, Amsterdam (NL)
2012 — Transmit, Group Show, P/////AKT, Amsterdam (NL)
2012 — Transmit, Group Show, Sint Lukas Gallery, Brussels (BE)
2011 — Rietveld Uncut — The Living Object, Group Show and Performance, The Brakke Grond, Amsterdam, (NL)
2011 — Vanitas Objects, Solo Exhibition, Provisorische Tramhaltestelle, Basel (CH)
2010 — Portes ouvertes, Group Show, CEPV, Vevey (CH)
2009 — Werkschau — Der Berner Salon, Group Show, Berne (CH)
2009 — GAF Stellt Aus, Im Viadukt, Group Show, Zurich (CH)
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Set in Linux Biolinium (libre font) and Cambon (beta version) by Aude Debout
Built on Stacey
Images: 1 Céline Manz at Divoká Šárka Prague; 2 & 3 visitors experiencing the infrasound piece 'Divoká Šárka' during the Soirée at MeetFactory, Praha; 4 & 5 performers and audience during 'Orgasm - a disappointing sound piece', Soirée at MeetFactory Prague; 6 vitrine containing printed matter relevant to the research; 7 page with illustrations from the marriage counseling book Mladé manželství that inspired the performance; 8 & 9 UV-activated collages juxtaposing postcards celebrating domesticity made in former Czechoslovakia and an academic text on the failed promise of women's sexual liberation during Socialism on top of the bizarre illustrations from Mladé manželství. Credits: 1-4, 7-9 Céline Manz, 2023; 5, 6 Romany Kovacs, 2023.
Unravelling Frequencies is an experimental in-situ exploration of audio frequencies below 20 Hz that humans can’t hear but can feel - known as infrasound - and their role in reported experiences of ‘hauntings’. I use the motive of the haunting as a metaphor to address the history of women’s social and legal inequalities, and the often claustrophobic domestic environment they were exposed to from the Middle Ages up to the 20th century and which played an important role in fostering mental illnesses that were long labelled ‘typically feminine’ disorders. This archive-in- progress revisits buildings and places that are relevant from a feminist historical perspective in different cities in Europe. With help of microphones designed to record seismic measures, the project uses infrasound as a main narrative device to critically re-evaluate their ‘haunted’ pasts. The first entry to the archive took place in Prague in 2023, where I examined the 1000-year old myth of the local Maiden’s War and put it into context with the infamous research into the female orgasm at the Prague Institute of Sexology during the 1950s.
The project is dedicated to the motive of the ‘haunted woman’ viewed through a lens of literary history, neuroscience, sound design and feminist psychology. The first entry to this archive is based on an extended research conducted in Prague, CZ, during a 3-month long residency in 2023 at MeetFactory Prague in partnership with the Swiss Embassy CZ. In Prague, I collected field recordings at various locations linked by the more than 1000-year history of the Dívčí válka (Maiden's War); the Divoká Šárka nature reserve, the former Divci Hrady Castle and the Institute of Sexology Prague, where clinical studies on female orgasm were conducted in the 1950s. With the help of specialized microphones by the Bratislava-based label LOM which are able to record frequencies below 20 Hz, I pursued the low-threshold, barely audible 'echoes' of the lived-in histories of these places. The thus assembled experimental audio archive consists of 3 works and is contextualized by a multidisciplinary research. The field recordings are presented as a soundscape under the title 'Divoká Šárka' in an installation developped in dialogue with Markus Aebersold. Another work consits of an experimental rendering of Kateřina Pencová reading the Dívčí válka, recorded with a seismic microphone and a tin can. Lastly, electromagnetic recordings made at the Institute of Sexology in Prague are juxtaposed with a female voice reading the chapter 'Orgasmus' from Mladé manželství, a Czechoslovac marriage and sex guide published in 1970 that remained a best-selling book until the early 1990s. Other voices can be heard reading the descriptions of the illustrated sex positions in the book. The book's ambivalent message towards women in 'modern' marriages, it's emphasis on 'feeling climax' and harmony in the household, paired with a neglect of a proper education of the role of the clitoris as a source of female pleasure as well as the book's bizarre illustrations left me with a feeling of unease that resulted in the performance 'Orgasm - a disappointing sound piece' (video extract below) that was presented during the Soirée at MeetFactory on 17.08.2023.
Kindly supported with a research grant by the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia.
My thanks to everybody that contributed to either the performance or the audio piece, namely Kateřina Pencová, Alena Broškova,Katarina Mamchur, Anna Kotvalová, Maria Aksinina and Marian Stafen and of course the audience that let this work come to life.
Image: Wir spuken (engl. 'We're haunting'), 2022, Regionale 23, We are so many here, Kunsthalle Basel, 2022. Installation view (Room 12). Photos: 1 Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel, 2 onwards Céline Manz, 2022.
Awarded with the Regionale prize 2022 by Basler Kunstverein.
Following an invitation by the exhibition‘s curators I used the 150-year anniversary of Kunsthalle Basel as an opportunity to research the institution‘s archive. The result is an interactive installation dedicated to people with marginalized gender identities (cis women, trans, inter* and non-binary persons) who have exhibited at Kunsthalle Basel since its foundation in 1872. Many of those people were misjudged or dismissed as „amateurs“ because of their gender.
The work is presented across two walls in room 12. Two lists are placed on the wall on the right, documenting the names and exhibitions of persons with marginalized gender identities that have exhibited at Kunsthalle Basel between 1872 - 2022. On the left, seemingly empty wall, living fellow artists featured on the list and myself wrote down all the first names included in the lists with a UV-marker. Since remembering is an ongoing collective endeavour, hanging UV-flash lights invited visitors to bring these names to light themselves. The lists are now included in the archive and can be viewed on request at the library of Kunsthalle Basel, which is open to the public on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
A note on the content of the lists
Gender identity is a spectrum. The data collected here is unlikely to be complete. Not all people decide to make their gender identity - i.e. the inner knowledge and feeling about their own gender affiliation - public. At the same time, gender expression - the way people present their own gender in the form of first names, pronouns, clothing, etc. - is a social construct that is closely linked to one‘s era and culture. Hence, gender expression does not have to match a person‘s gender identity.
In her research, Manz used the first names of the exhibitors as an indication of their gender identity. She also consulted with the team of Kunsthalle Basel and supplemented her research with an extensive internet and archive research. Despite the amount of research that produced this work, there may still be people missing from this list. If your name is missing, you are invited to email the artist in order to have it added. Conversely, if you do not wish your name to appear in this work, you can also inform the artist, and it will be removed.
E-mail address: firstname.lastname@example.org
With many thanks to the team at Kunsthalle Basel and the curators of the Regionale 23-exhibition. This text was created using the gender-inclusive font „Adelphe“ (© 2022 Eugénie Bidaut) from Typothèque Bye Bye Binary. Conception, compilation & layout © Céline Manz, 2022. For third party reproductions of this list, please contact the artist (she/her) at email@example.com.
Image: 1-4 Es spukt (engl. 'It's haunted'), 2022, Regionale 23, We are so many here, Kunsthalle Basel, 2022. Installation view (Library). Photos: Philipp Hänger / Kunsthalle Basel; 5 - 8 details of the UV-activated work in my studio in Basel in 2022, photos Céline Manz.
Es spukt (engl. It‘s haunted) interrogates the complex relationship between handicrafts and women; while handicrafts were an important resource of artistic expression for many women throughout history, the time consuming transmission of handicraft-related family traditions from mother to daughter was also a means to bind women to the domestic spheres of their homes. Due to its association with free domestic labour, the enduring legacy and subversive power of handicrafts has long been underestimated, and deemed an ‚amateur art‘ not taken seriously within so-called highbrow art circles. As a result, handicraft art largely evolved outside the halls of art institutions, and countless handicraft creators were lost in anonymity. In the installation at Kunsthalle Basel, wool sculptures are presented in the style of a ‚haunted house‘, reminiscent of colourful spider webs. The display in the library‘s attic - just above the main exhibition halls - puts the work into the institution‘s historic context. In 1878, Kunsthalle Basel hosted the only exhibition dedicated to handicrafts and artisan art. The exhibition catalogue records that it was composed of two third of artisan guilds or male artisans, all listed with their surnames and first names as a testament to the mastery that went into the making of their works. This stands in strong contrast with the women who made up one third of the show and who were almost exclusively listed with „Mrs“, „Miss“ or „Widow“ followed by their surnames. This suggests that their creations were not considered original pieces, but a ‚trivial‘ pass time practiced by mothers, daughters, wives, aunts and grandmothers. Due to the lack of proper identification through their first names, we do not know who these women were today. Their names as transmitted in the exhibition‘s catalogue, are included in the list of Wir spuken as part of the effort to remember to these artists and their contribution to Kunsthalle Basel.
With many thanks to the team at Kunsthalle Basel and the curators of the Regionale 23 exhibition; Rut Himmelsbach, Cécile Hummel, Sophie Jung, Edit Oderbolz, Hannah Weinberger and Johannes Willi.
Donation ♥︎ Campaign
01.09. - 24.09.2022
Hosted by STUDIO 47.ORG .
In response to the ongoing global emergency the artists of Atelierhaus Klingental have launched a Donation ♥︎ Campaign, where a selection of their artworks can be purchased in exchange for donations to support people in urgent need of help. Donations can be made to UNHCR Switzerland, Glückskette or the LGBTQ Emergency Fund for Ukraine by Pink Cross, if you live in Switzerland you can deduct your donation from your taxes. You can find a step-by-step 'Donation Guide' PDF on the upper right corner of this website.
The Donation ♥︎ Campaign starts 01.09. with the Kunsttage Basel and lasts until the Kaserne Arealfest on 24.09.2022.
We are happy to welcome you to our group show on 23 and 24 September at Atelierhaus Klingental that will include all the donated artworks. The works can be purchased during the exhibition or beforehand via the instructions on this website.
Your contribution will make a change ♥︎
Exhibition opening hours: 23.09. 17 - 19h 24.09. 14 - 17h
Atelierhaus Klingental Kasernenhof 5 CH- 4058 Basel
2020 - 2021
body of work
Images: 1:Exhibition view of 'Stitches: scènes, corps, décors', group Show curated by Collectif détente at Le Commun, Geneva. Photo by Nicolas Delaroche Studio, 2021. 2+3: xhibition view of 'Stitches: scènes, corps, décors', group Show curated by Collectif détente at Le Commun, Geneva. Photo by Camille Regli, 2021.
The research-based body of work 'Synthèses Simulationistes' 1 explores the impact of copyright restrictions on the visibility of female artist's estates on the example of Sophie Taeuber - who's estate is in the public domain- and Sonia Delaunay-Terk - who's estate is still copyright protected. The project builds on the previous body of works 'fold;' and 'Rythme sans fin' that were dedicated to Taeuber and Delaunay-Terk respectively. It comprises case studies that investigate their oeuvre's over all visibility and ability to circulate. Based on extensive works around their archives, the project's aim is to propagate some of the lesser known aspects of the artists' estates.
Manz's interest in the representation and circulation of late artists‘ legacies was ignited by 'Rythme sans fin', a project based on the legal implications over a reproduction by Sonia Delaunay-Terk. The strict implementation of her copyrights restricts museums from displaying reproductions of her works in their online catalogues; a circumstance that results in the paradox of her occupying an ‘invisible presence’ on these databases, one, where her works are merely represented by their captions 2.
The project is presented in a 3-part installation consisting of a series of carpets, an edition and 32,7 meters of fabric garlands featuring a hand-stitched text.
The class transcending tradition of embroidery and tapistery in Europe is closely linked to female labour within the domestic context. The devaluation of homemade textile artifacts as 'trivial' has long been a cornerstone in keeping women as artists outside the sphere of ‚high’ art. As sociological research in the past 50 years has shown, this was fueled by a complex net of social frameworks that enabled the structual supression of women by a (white male dominated) elite, whose self interest it was to keep their wifes, sisters and daughters bound at home, preferebly engaging in time-consuming activities that required an enourmous amount of concentration and skill, such as stitching and weaving.
'Syntheses Simulationistes' takes a closer look at two artists who personalize the intersection of handicrafts and fine arts and who paved a way for women artists generations that followed: Sophie Taeuber and Sonia Delaunay-Terk. Their impact on Modernism with its ideal to intergrate art in every aspect of life also meant that art could spill over into the domestic and reciprocitely that the domestic found a way into gallery and museum spaces.
By using techniques employed by both artists in what Manz calls a 'forensic performative research', she compares the differing copyright statuses of the two artists and tests strategies to create visibility for lesser known aspects of their oeuvres that stem from archives.
Two texts that Manz found in the respective artists' archives are presented in this piece; both texts reveal valuable information on their working and thinking processes, and both include instructions. Copyrights allow the text by Taeuber to be published and circulated freely. Manz translated the text into English and published it in a dual poster edition which is available in bookshops and libraries internationally. 'Sophie Taeuber, Arp: Bemerkungen über den Unterricht im ornamentalen Entwerfen. / Remarks on the Instruction of Ornamental Design.' is a limited poster edition of Sophie Taeuber's eponimous essay which was published in 1922. The bilingual edition German / English is presented in the form of typographic ornaments that are based on Taeuber's work. Published by STUDIO 47 PRESS.
The text from a letter by Delaunay-Terk to a then famous Basel-based male sculpturor, is strictly copyright protected and cannot be published. Manz uses her extensive knowledge of legal loopholes to share the text with the public anyway. Two theoretical copyright exceptions would allow for a display of the text; 1: 'Quoting'; quotations of excerps of text are allowed as long as the quotes are not 'too long'. 2: 'Transformation'; transform the original piece so it is no longer recognizeable and it becomes its own work of art. Thus, the text is presented on 32.7 meters of handstitched text patches that are distributed over the wall in form of short quotations, arranged like strokes of paint in an abstract painting in a patchworked order that invites the viewers to create their own narrative.
The installations is completed by a series of patchworked 'simulationist' carpets made from re-used and handdyed fabrics from the artist's closet, that mathematically synthesize selected designs by Delaunay-Terk and Taeuber. While the designs that served as the carpets' basis remain recognizable, the carpets' copyright status is unclear on closer inspection; the designs include distinctive forms by Delaunay-Terk, but they are presented in grids taken from Taeuber, and whereas the colour patterns synthasize both artist's usage of shades and constrasts. Once the line of which where the one begins and the other ends is blurred, the legal categories of 'public domain' and 'copyright protected' are subverted in favour of the question of 'who owns the artwork'.
'Synthèses Simulationoistes' was made possible with the support of Pro Helvetia.
- According to Johnson Okpaluba in 'Appropriative practices and copyright' there are 3 kinds of appropriation in art; Simulationism: Appropriation of a style or genre - and not an existing work - to produce a new work in that manner / Appropriation of images: virtually unaltered and without attribution of the author or copyright owner / Montage : Incorporation of existing images from multiple sources into a new, autonomous work.
- According to documents found in Delaunay-Terk's archive, this goes against her own wishes, as she did grant museums who own her artworks to reproduce her works in their catalogues. This permission was revoked by her estate in the course of an update in French copyright legislation in the late 1990s, where the permissions to reproduce artworks in printed catalogues does not automatically apply to online catalogues. Switzerland is currently one of the few exceptions where works by Delaunay-Terk can be viewed in museum online catalogues, as the copyright permission for printed reproductions automatically transfers to reproductions online.
S.Taeuber, Arp: Bemerkungen / Remarks
Out now! Limited poster edition of Sophie Taeuber's Essay 'Remarks on the Instruction of Ornamental Design' which was published in 1922. For the first time available as an individual print, the text, which was the first of only two texts published by the artist during her lifetime, offers an exciting insight into Taeuber's working and teaching methods. The bilingual edition German / English is presented in the form of typographic ornaments that are based on Taeuber's work.
Published by STUDIO 47 PRESS.
CHF 9 | EUR 8.50 | GBP 7.50.
Sophie Taeuber, Arp: Bemerkungen über den Unterricht im ornamentalen Entwerfen. / Remarks on the Instruction of Ornamental Design.' Art edition printed in pantone colors on Munken Lynx Rough paper, 2 A2 poster DE / ENG. Published by STUDIO 47 PRESS, editioral and annotations by Céline Manz, editorial assistance and translation by Stefanie Bringezu and graphic design by Jules Estèves. With the support of Pro Helvetia. Edition of 500, printed by Healeys, UK. © STUDIO 47 PRESS, 2021.
Living Abstraction • Plates
Part of the body of work 'fold;'. Exclusive edition of porcelain plates in tribute of Sophie Taeuber commissioned by the Kunstmuseum Basel (Museum of Fine Arts Basel) on the occasion of the exhibition 'Sophie Taeuber-Arp; Living Abstraction'.
2 designs of 30 pieces each, signed. Dimensions: diameter approx. 20 cm, height 1.5 cm. Material: Limoges porcelain, decal foil. Care: dishwasher safe. However, it is recommended to wash the plates by hand.
This edition was part of the body of work ‚fold;‘ which is dedicated to the artist Sophie Taeuber. The motifs of these porcelain plates were inspired by works that Taeuber realized in the run-up to the Constructivist exhibition in Basel in 1937.
The porcelain plates were hand made with great care. Local suppliers were used to support regional workshops during the pandemic. The plates were turned by hand, glazed and fired by Sandra Häuptli Keramik, Basel, the decal foils printed by Lehmhuus, Aesch. The Basel artist Céline Manz designed, prepared and applied the decal foils one by one to the plates. Every plate was fired 3 times in the oven until it was completed. This gradual manufacturing process can lead to slight variations between the pieces.
Each porcelain plate was a unique homage to Taeuber‘s interdisciplinary work, which oscillates between applied art and fine art.
© Céline Manz 2020 / 2021
2017 - 2021
body of work
'fold;' is a multi-media installation based on a long time research that investigates the notions of copyrights, cultural heritage and issues of gender in art. As a follow-up on the project 'Rythme sans fin', it is centered around the effects of intellectual property on artist legacies after their deaths, when they are no longer in control of what happens to their work.
Building on Walter Benjamin’s idea of the reactivation of artworks, Manz aims to quote cultural artifacts and their makers back into existence through means of visibility. The project consists of several elements; case studies based on the example of Sophie Taeuber-Arp, a multidisciplinary Swiss Avant-Garde artist who, for the 70 years following her death (id est until her copyrights expired), was exceptionally difficult to research.
The work revolves around archival material - letters Taeuber wrote to her husband - and extracts of her oeuvre. These two elements are presented in an installation that juxtaposes various media ranging from text, performance, fabrics and sound. Manz is notably interested in examining the nuances between ‚being inspired by‘, copying and re-anacting, and which of these methods is the most effective for re-activating Sophie Taeuber‘s voice in a contemporary context.
The title ‚fold;’ refers to the folds in the letters and the folds created by draping fabrics. It is also a concept; as a verb, fold; refers to Manz’s practice of superposing and layering elements with the aim to create a new image.
Image: © Céline Manz 2019.
'fold;' was made possible through the support of the Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt and the Patronagefonds for young Swiss Artists.
2019 - 2021
Part of the body of work 'fold;'. Work based on Taeuber's drawing 'Aubette 63' - the first version of the interior design of the 'Foyer-Bar' at the Aubette, which was rejected by Theo van Doesburg because it was 'too colourful'. The window is inspired by Taeuber's stained glass design, which was co-designed by Hans Arp, but that is incorrectly attributed to Theo van Doesburg and Hans Arp.
Images:1-6: Exhibition view of 'Regionale 22. Picturial Spaces' at Kunsthaus Baselland, 2021. photo © by Raphael Stucky. 7: Exhibition view of 'Regionale 22. Picturial Spaces' at Kunsthaus Baselland, 2021. Courtesy Kunsthaus Baselland, photo © by Gina Folly. 8-16: exhibition views of '9 espaces distincts' at Kunsthaus Langenthal, 2020. Courtesy Kunsthaus Langenthal, photos by CE and Kasia Malec, l'Aubette 1928 and Musées de la Ville de Strasbourg, M. Bertola.
'9 espaces distincts' was made possible through the support of the Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt and the Patronagefonds for young Swiss Artists.
2017 - 2019
Part of the body of work 'fold;'. Mixed media installation with fabrics (Jacquard weaving, embroidery, sewing, and prints on semitransparent silk), lights and audio.
This series tests various forms of 'Simulationisms'; the appropriation of a style or genre – and not of an existing work – in order to produce a new work in the same manner. Based on the oeuvre by Sophie Taeuber as an applied research into the nuances between art fraud and repetition.
Images: 01 Exhibition view of 'Regionale 21' at Kunsthaus Baselland, Muttenz (CH), photo courtesy Kunsthaus Baselland, © Gina Folly 2020.
02-05 Exhibition views from the solo show '9 espaces distincts' at Kunsthaus Langenthal. Courtesy: Kunsthaus Langenthal, photos: CE and Kasia Malec, 2020.
Simulationisms - Limited Edition
2018 - 2019
'fold; Simulationisms' is dedicated to circulate Sophie Taeuber's legacy in a contemporary context inside and outside of Switzerland; as an art installation within art institutions and as a 'travelling limited edition' also outside of art institutions in various venues all over Europe, such as Tiffany & Co.'s (Coventgarden, London). The organza silk flags are inspired by Sophie Taeuber's applied art and fine art oeuvres. The series is conceived as an intermediate between affordable art flags and sensuous scarfs. 9 different designs, 100 % silk, handwash only, edition of 10 + 2 AC, signed and numbered. Manufactured and printed in the UK by Think Positive Prints. 2017-2019. Published by STUDIO 47 PRESS.
On the occasion of Art Basel 2019, a selection of these designs was available at Ooid Store Basel.
CHF 500 / piece
Images: Courtesy © Ooid Store Basel, © Tiffany & Co's Coventgarden, London, © STUDIO 47 PRESS.
2019 - 2020
Part of the body of work 'fold;'. Exhibition views of 'fold; Tea Towels' - the second of two new works in honour of Sophie Taeuber's interior design work for l'Aubette 1928 - as part of the solo show '9 espaces distincts' at the Kunsthaus Langenthal.
The limited edition of handmade tea towels was made in collaboration with the Kunsthaus Langenthal. It is based on one of the frescos of Taeuber's '5 o'clock Tea Room' at the Aubette. For the exhibition at the Kunsthaus Langenthal, the tea towels are presented in an installation that partially recreates the distribution of the frescos. The tea towels are available for sale at the Kunsthaus Langenthal.
Images: 01 - 05 exhibition views '9 espaces distincts' at Kunsthaus Langenthal, courtesy Kunsthaus Langenthal, photos by CE. 06 - 10 varying views of one tea towel © Céline Manz.
'9 espaces distincts' was made possible through the support of the Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt and the Patronagefonds for young Swiss Artists.
2017 - 2019
Part of the body of work 'fold;'. Multiple. Risography on various Munken papers, threads, ribbon, stitched cardboard box. 220x175x60 mm. Edition of 12 + 2 AC, signed and numbered. Published by STUDIO 47 PRESS.
Images: courtesy Céline Manz except 7 - 10: exhibition views of the solo show '9 espaces distincts' at Kunsthaus Langenthal, courtesy Kunsthaus Langenthal, photos by CE, 2020.
2019 - 2021
Part of the body of work 'fold;'. Credit video: 'fold; DaDa Letters'. Performative lecture based on Manz's 'fold; The Letters'. Interpreted by Laura Lienhard at Ausstellungsraum Klingental during Kunsttage Basel 2021.
2019 - 2020
Part of the body of work 'fold;'.
Exhibition view of 'fold; Cape' as part of the group show 'DURST' curated by Alice Wilke at Kunstraum Niederoesterreich, Vienna 2020.
"The exhibition explores various forms of vampirism as a metaphor of the interpersonal and ecological parasite. Immortality, seduction, violence – the combination of these attributes associated with the figure of the vampire has laid the ground for popular sex & crime stories for centuries. The myth of the blood-sucking creature is firmly anchored in society’s collective desires, fears, and drives. As is well known, Irishman Bram Stoker was not the first writer to focus on the figure of the vampire more closely – his famous novel "Dracula" (1897) was highly influenced by the work of his compatriot Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and his female vampire "Carmilla" (1872). But it was Stoker’s Dracula character who became the quintessential vampire. His tale is not only a classic of Gothic literature; it has also been interpreted as a metaphor for the hypocrisy and prudery of the Victorian era. With his Count, he created the perfect anti-hero: superhumanly strong, supernatural, uninhibited. Ever since, the vampire myth has adapted to societal contexts and conditions, along with a changing external appearance (from "Nosferatu" to "Twilight"). Secrets, power, sex, fetish, and anarchy are the political as well as aesthetic dimensions of the figure. The exhibition addresses the vampire and his/her enigmatic lifestyle as a fundamental sociocultural phenomenon: When vampirism is defined as the symbolic sucking of energy and resources from other living beings and our environment, the term can also be expanded to parasitic relations and toxic conditions – and doesn’t end with the fascinating character of a living blood-sucking undead. This exhibition stakes out the reception of the vampire myth in contemporary art, which is often conveyed through pop culture, and a broader semantic field that unfolds through the figure of the vampire."
The base of my contribution is a sketch of an unfinished work by Sophie Taeuber which was posthumously 'finished' by Hans Arp in which he used materials he considered being 'real art' - as opposed to textiles (which he did appreciate but didn't consider as 'serious art'). Using Taeuber's original sketch I recreate the motiv as an embroidery on the back of a cape - a reference to vampirism in art and as a tribute to this century-old craft and its many female makers which used embroidery as a form of escape and subversive self-expression.
Many thanks to Willi from Willi's Stickerei in Basel for the embroidery. Image courtesy Kunstraum Niederoesterreich, photos by © Eva Würdinger.
Rhythmic Sound Patterns
'fold; Rhythmic Sound Patterns' is a collaborative project between Jakob Warmenbol and Céline Manz. It is part of the body of work 'fold;' by Manz; a case study on the role of copyrights in posthumously edited narratives, and the issue of who gets to speak and whose voice gets to be heard on the example of Sophie Taeuber and Hans Arp. The project explores different forms of „voicing“ and encompasses several aspects of Sophie Taeuber’s personal and artistic legacy. Next to "fold; Ryhthmic Sound Patterns", the project encompasses a publication and a series of designs based on Taeuber‘s oeuvre. As part of the project, Manz asked the Brussels-based musician Jakob Warmenbol to create musical reactions that are based on artworks by Sophie Taeuber. For Taeuber, as was the case for many of her contemporaries, music and sound played a significant role in the creation of her work. The 'Rhythmic Sound Pattern's reverse that. Here, the image is the inspiration that creates the sound. The result is a series of experimental pieces of each 1.5 to 2.5 minutes. Each piece is named after the work it is inspired by. The full album with Jakob‘s musical interpretations of Taeuber‘s works was released for free download in May 2019 in the frame of the Regenerative Feedback Festival 2019 at Worm Rotterdam.
All tracks composed and performed by Jakob Warmenbol, Chicago, Ill, United States 2018/2019. Cover by Céline Manz 2018/2019. Published by STUDIO 47 PRESS.
Image: Jakob Warmenbol performing in the immersive installation by Céline Manz during the album release on the occasion of 'Regenerative Feedback' in May 2019 at Worm, Rotterdam. Curated and organized by S. de Jager. Courtesy Regenerative Feedback, photo by Cem Altīnöz.
2019 - 2020
"Die Rede" is a free edition of Meret Oppenheim's 'Acceptance speech for the art prize of the city of Basel' from 1975 where she famously said that 'Freedom is not a given, you have to take it'.
On the occasion of the solo show '9 espaces distincts' at Kunsthaus Langenthal this text was published for the first time alongside an undated, subsequently written annex by Oppenheim which I found during an extended research in the Swiss Literary Archives. In it, she expands on some of her concerns formulated within the speech. Visitors of the exhibition were invited to take a set of copies of the risograph-printed speech with them. I'm deeply thankful to Lisa Wenger - Meret Oppenheim's niece - for her generosity as well as to the Swiss Literary Archives which both played an important role in making this project possible.
The risographs printed by Gaspard Weissheimer in Basel.
Images: courtesy Kunsthaus Langenthal, photos by CE and Kunsthaus Langenthal.
'9 espaces distincts' was made possible through the support of the Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt and the Patronagefonds for young Swiss Artists.
Rythme sans fin
2014 - 2017
Body of work
Series of case studies that investigate issues around legacy and copyright in digital age.
Website including the research here
Images: 1-10 Kunsthalle Basel, courtesy of Kunstkredit Basel-Stadt, photos by Nici Jost, 11-16 exhibition views of solo show '9 espaces distincts' at Kunsthaus Langenthal, courtesy of Kunsthaus Langenthal, photos by CE.
Rythme sans fin - Limited Edition
Limited edition of 8 unique photograms on the occasion of the London Open 2018 at Whitechapel Gallery. Waxed oak frames in size 42 x 29,7cm and UV glass, costum made by the Frame Factory in London.
"Potpourri (paraphrase to 'how to organize and harmonize a wall when you hang paintings')" is a new work on the legacy of Sonia Delaunay's legacy that is based on actual instructions I found in her archives. The work plays with the loophole of paraphrasing a text which allows to re-create her otherwise copyright restricted instructions in an installation that switches the paintings with plants.
Images: courtesy Kunsthaus Langenthal, photos by CE and Kunsthaus Langenthal.
Zeichnen heisst: weglassen
Exhibition views of 'Zeichnen heisst: weglassen' as part of 'Annemarie von Matt - widerstehlich' at Nidwaldner Museum in Stans, 2020 and 'Dessiner, c'est: supprimer' as part of 'Annemarie von Matt, je ne m'ennuie jamais, on m'ennuie', at Centre Culturel Suisse. Paris, 2020.
The title of the work refers to a drawing by Annemarie von Matt and translates as 'to draw means to omit', the work itself constitutes of an interview that I conducted with a psychoanalyst on the subconscious effects of grieving on the formation of cultural heritage - namely the processes that come into play when an artist husband takes charge of the legacy of his dead artist wife. As a stay-at-home woman against her own wishes, Annemarie von Matt never gave up her vocation as an artist and continued to work in private, without showing her extensive oeuvre to the public. It was only years after her death that her husband Hans von Matt started to promote her legacy and try to get her oeuvre more known. The fact that his gaze was predominant in the creation of her current public image is reflected in the location of 'Zeichnen heisst: weglassen' , which takes form of an intervention in the permanent exhibition in the 'Annemarie und Hans von Matt room', where his oeuvre is facing the oeuvre of Annemarie von Matt.
Courtesy photos: Nidwaldner Museum: photos by Christian Hartmann and Céline Manz; Centre Culturel Suisse.Paris: photo by Margot Montigny.
Annemarie geht auf Reisen
Limited T-Shirt Edition of 'Annemarie von Matt - Blutzger Photo' on the occasion of the 2020 retrospectives ‚Annemarie von Matt - widerstehlich’ at Nidwaldner Museum Stans and 'Annemarie von Matt. Je ne m'ennuie jamais, on m'ennuie' at Centre culturel suisse. Paris. 100% organic cotton and available in selected sizes in the styles unisex and women. The title of the edition is ‚Annemarie geht auf Reisen’ which translates to ‚Annemarie goes travelling’ - an invitation to take Annemarie along with us on our journeys ♥︎
Published by STUDIO 47 PRESS
Many thanks to the Bildhauer Hans von Matt-Stiftung for making this possible. Images © Bildhauer Hans von Matt-Stiftung, Librairie du Centre Culturel Suisse.Paris and courtesy of the artist / STUDIO 47 PRESS 2020.
I have crossed oceans of time
to find you
Exhibition view of 'I have crossed oceans of time to find you I & II' of the exhibition 'DURST' curated by Alice Wilke that explores various forms of vampirism as a metaphor at Kunstraum Niederoesterreich.
I have crossed oceans of time to find you I © Céline Manz, 2020
I have crossed oceans of time to find you II © Céline Manz, 2020
The title of the installation is based on the quote of Bram Stoker's novel 'Dracula' from 1897, a quote now most famously known from Francis Ford Coppola's adaption from 1992. The work juxtaposes an animated video of the subversively coded still life 'Panaches de mer, lithophytes et coquilles' (1769) by Anne Vallayer-Coster, one of the very few accepted and successful female artists of her time, slowly drowning in water that turns into blood - with a video collage of found footage films of sunrises and sunsets which refers to the romanticized notions of the bliss of feminine passivity in domesticity that was propagated in novels since the 16th century and earlier, where the ‚outside world’ was a place of adventure which had to remain an eternal source of longing.
"Immortality, seduction, violence – the combination of these attributes associated with the figure of the vampire has laid the ground for popular sex & crime stories for centuries. The myth of the blood-sucking creature is firmly anchored in society’s collective desires, fears, and drives. As is well known, Irishman Bram Stoker was not the first writer to focus on the figure of the vampire more closely – his famous novel "Dracula" (1897) was highly influenced by the work of his compatriot Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu and his female vampire "Carmilla" (1872). But it was Stoker’s Dracula character who became the quintessential vampire. His tale is not only a classic of Gothic literature; it has also been interpreted as a metaphor for the hypocrisy and prudery of the Victorian era. With his Count, he created the perfect anti-hero: superhumanly strong, supernatural, uninhibited. Ever since, the vampire myth has adapted to societal contexts and conditions, along with a changing external appearance (from "Nosferatu" to "Twilight"). Secrets, power, sex, fetish, and anarchy are the political as well as aesthetic dimensions of the figure. The exhibition addresses the vampire and his/her enigmatic lifestyle as a fundamental sociocultural phenomenon: When vampirism is defined as the symbolic sucking of energy and resources from other living beings and our environment, the term can also be expanded to parasitic relations and toxic conditions – and doesn’t end with the fascinating character of a living blood-sucking undead. This exhibition stakes out the reception of the vampire myth in contemporary art, which is often conveyed through pop culture, and a broader semantic field that unfolds through the figure of the vampire." - Press release.
Courtesy Kunstraum Niederoesterreich, photos by © Eva Würdinger.
Presentation of a work in process during the OPEN STUDIO at the Cité internationale des arts in Paris in September 2018. The multi media installation "Cento" revolved around fragments of my master dissertation at the Royal College of Art in London, and featured several fragments of said dissertation, a digital print, a series of polaroids, a light installation, a website, a printed version of Meret Oppenheim's speech 'Dankesrede für den Kunstpreis der Stadt Basel' in German, a series of Pochoirs based on Oppenheim's oeuvre, as well as the series "Nues", which was projected onto transparent holographic fabric.
Direct link here. Works best on a Laptop or Desktop Computer. Might not work on every Browser.
Scroll at your own pace through Arthur Aron's "The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness: A Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings." - or, as it is more commonly known; the "36 questions to fall in love with a stranger".
Ada W. Potter's project SCREEN_ [ "screenspace"] is an email-based art "space" that produces monthly artworks, sent/received via email. Each participating artist creates a unique artwork for each installment. Email recipients are asked to subscribe. This opt-in structure is meant to elicit an engaged audience and help the project avoid spam status. Subscribe here
Comission for the group show "Chäs u Chole" at Kunsthaus Langenthal, Switzerland.
"Chees and Coal. A photographer from Gondiswil, Johann Schär (1855–1938) 3 x 3 contemporary approaches. David Elsener, Nicolas Fernandez, Matthias Gabi, Nina Haab, Urs Mannhart, Céline Manz, Valerio Moser, Nele Stecher, Maria Ursprung.
Stately farms, beautiful cows, proud cheese makers, youngsters and cheerful women picking berries in the forest – Johann Schär's photographic documentation of a sedate rural life at the beginning of the 20th Century has no comparison in its density and quality in Switzerland. The documentation of the coal surface-mining in and around Gondiswil is unique and gives an impressive testimonial of this rare activity of mining in Switzerland.
For the first time, Kunsthaus Langenthal presents an overview of Johann Schärs's (1855–1938) work. Over 4000 glas-negatives, historic prints, album and postcards were secured, researched and digitalized by Fotobüro Bern.
The exhibition was curated by Markus Schürpf (Fotobüro Bern) and will be accompanied by an extensive catalogue that will be published on 18 March 2017.
Under the title «3x3» the Kunsthaus invited nine artists and writers to approach the photographs by Johann Schär from a contemporary perspective and react to them with a new work." Source: Website Kunsthaus Langenthal
Based on some of Hitchcock's notorious scenes that subverted the 'Hays Code' and an artist's trials and tribulations to make the perfectly legal piece of appropriation art.
The Triangular Nature of Desire
Contribution to the Pictures Generation issue of Metropolis M Magazine. Based on Sherrie Levine’s Statement from 1982, including plagiarized quotes by Sherrie Levine, Sarah Charlesworth and Barbara Kruger. Samples of interviews and artist statements given between 1981 and 2016:
THE TRIANGULAR NATURE OF DESIRE
I worked for many years using images from popular culture, but never related to the word ‘appropriation’. I'm not interested in stealing images. I want to know what this strange world of images is that I live in. This is why I deconstruct images, take them apart, to find out what they're made of, how they function and how they picture the world for us. A symbolism is attached to particular images, becomes marked in the unconscious. So I abstract objects that socially carry a strong emotional charge or symbolic significance. The arrangement of images is loaded in many different ways which allows multiple interpretations. The viewer completes the act of interpretation. It allows even contradictory interpretations. To me, a picture is a tissue of quotations drawn from the innumerable centers of culture. To exorcise it, to rearrange it, to reshape it, to make it my own, involves unearthing it, describing it, deploying it in form, and then rearranging it. Casting my world back into the given world. It’s like a reformulation of language, a recreation of a new metaphor. I'm interested in as many layers of meaning as possible. The more you know, the more meaning and the more history can be brought to bear on it. Ergo the viewer is very, very important. He is the tablet on which all the quotations that make up an image are inscribed without any of them being lost, so to speak. I did a lot of commercial art for money and freelance illustration stuff when I was younger, so I do understand how magazines work. I use images drawn from that culture because I see in each piece an interface between my personal subjectivity and a given world. Being socialized within similar constructs of myth and desire, it is not surprising that most people are comforted by popular depictions. Sometimes these images emerge as ‘semblances of beauty;’ as confluences of desirous points. We have seen that pictures and words have become the rallying points for certain assumptions. There are assumptions of truth and falsity and the narratives of falsity are called fictions. In most design work, received images and words are arranged and aligned to produce assigned meanings. I am engaged in rearranging and realigning these dominant assignments. The idea is to broaden the discussion, not to narrow it. The idea of multiple images and mechanical reproduction fascinates me. When I first started to work as a commercial artist, I was really interested in how advertisers dealt with the idea of originality. If they wanted an image, they'd just take it. It was never an issue of morality; it was always an issue of utility. There was no sense that images belonged to someone; all images were in the public domain and as an artist I found that very liberating. I just imagined that they're mine. Over the years, I've come to the conclusion that copyright and so-called intellectual property is a euphemism for corporate control in so many ways. But don't get me wrong. I believe in copyright. I do. But it's been taken to such lengths. So much of our sense of art history is based on copies, fakes and forgeries. I think of originality as a trope. It's not that I don't think that the word ‘originality’ means anything or has no meaning. I just think it's gotten a very narrow meaning lately. What I think about in terms of my work is broadening the definitions of the word ‘original’. Sometimes when things are almost original they can be as disturbing. When it is close, but not the same, as the original, in my mind, there's a different kind of tension. The pictures I make are really ghosts of ghosts; their relationship to the original images is tertiary, that is, three or four times removed. I like to celebrate doubt and uncertainty. To provoke answers but don’t give them. To withhold absolute meaning by incorporating parasite meanings. As far as the visual presentation goes, I purposely avoid a high degree of difficulty. A lot of people are like me: they have relatively short attention spans. So I shoot for the window of opportunity. Whatever power, whatever affect the images have, works on its own. A new work should have as much aura as its reference. The tension between the reference and the new work doesn't really exist unless the new work has an auratic presence of its own. It's all about what the work makes you think about. Somebody would say, ‘They’re really awful but come to think of it, they’re really beautiful.’ A picture's meaning lies not in its origin, but in its destination.
STUDIO 47 is a collective reflection on property and ownership in digital age initiated by Céline Manz. The studio’s activities are complemented on the website studio-47.org. For information on the program please contact us here
Studio 47 Press
Commissioned work for the Dutch Art Magazine Metropolis M for the issue Nr 3 2014 - Summer of Love & Hate: Tribute to Ed van der Elsken.
After Ed van der Elsken's 'Beethovenstraat 1967'
Courtesy of Metropolis M
The Appropriator's User Guide
Limited edition, 25 copies.
Thesis, Gerrit Rietveld Academie Amsterdam. Practical tips when working with appropriated images, including an introduction on copyright, frequently asked questions about the notions of “copy” and “originality”, a chapter with case studies, a checklist and a list with further links.
Click here for the thesis essay "What do you know about art, you're not a lawyer".
1 hour 28 minutes
1 hour 28 minutes 04 seconds of clapping, webcam performance.
Video and audio installation.
Winning the game
when the rules have been changed
Photographs under hypnosis.
Rietveld Uncut is an annual happening at the Brakke Grond Art Center in Amsterdam. Each department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academie is invited to contribute a project. The 2011's edition theme was the living object. Taking the photographer's ambition to "photograph the beyond" by word, I asked a hypnotist to hypnotize me during the opening and convince me that I was able to photograph the invisible.
The Rorschach Tableaux are Inspired of Roland Barth's Essay "Camera Lucida", in which he describes his unability to -literally - recognize himself on photographs. These 4/5 inch analog portraits were abstracted in the darkroom. Following the principle that photography is a highly subjective medium, the viewer is invited to create his own projection on the person portrayed.
Extract from a series of photograms made with objects which belonged to my grandparents. Both of them had the habit of keeping whatever could be re-used again. When clearing their flat we found an extensive collection of neatly stored everyday objects; used wrapping paper, buttons, corks, elastics, nails, etc. I felt very attracted by these little objects which told my family's story over many years. Before throwing them away I used a part of this collection for an abstracted photographic review. By lightening the photographic paper indirectly with mirrors, glass and punctual lights, the photograms don't show their imprints but just their reflections.
The Vanity Collection
Three photographs a day, all uploaded before midnight, dealing with the double meaning of the french word "vanité" (meaning both vanity and vanitas). As the capacity of free websites is limited, the project ended the day no further pages could be added.