The Card Players by Paul Cézanne holds second place in the rankings of most expensive paintings in history, since it was famously bought for $274 million by the kingdom of Qatar in 2011. The impressionist masterpiece was painted in 1893 and features two stony-faced card players, models selected by Cézanne from his family’s estate outside Aix-en-Provence: the gardener and a farm hand.Museum Worthy Cards
France, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and Japan all house museums solely dedicated to the playing card. The collection of The Miike Playing-Card Memorial Museum in Omuta includes very old and valuable cards, some of which were illustrated by famous artists such as Hokusai, maker of the acclaimed ‘Great Wave off Kanagawa’ woodblock print, and Hiroshige, who is considered the last great master of the ukiyo-e.Casino Quality Characteristics
A linen finish makes it difficult to mark cards by indenting the corner with a fingernail and prevents players from cheating. The graphite core helps prevent a card with a lightly printed back from having its face visible from the opposite side of the card in strong light. Finally, a varnish coating provides a smooth, slightly slippery surface to aid in shuffling and handling.From Bone to Paper
The first recorded account of the use of a deck of playing cards was in the Orient, sometime in the 12th century. After the Chinese invention of paper, the Chinese replaced the bone or ivory playing cards (tiles) they used to play the game of Dominos, with a heavy paper kind of playing cards.
Casting resin with laminated book by Martin Kippenberger, 3.5×24, 5×26cm, edition 30/50, signed. Realised by Ulrich Strohtjohann, Köln. Published by Benedikt Taschen Verlag, Köln. Presented on the occasion of the publication of “Martin Kippenberger. Ten years later”, published by Angelika Muthesius, Benedikt Taschen Verlag, Köln. Kippenberger produced his very first major monograph with TASCHEN in 1991. Following this close collaboration evolved the idea of an artist book, limited to 57 copies, each presented with an ashtray artwork cast in epoxy resin (Kippenberger rhymes with “Kippenbecher” in German, colloquial for ashtray).Alkoholfolter, 1989.
Schlösser Alt-beer can with initials signed on adhesive plaster, 11×6,5 cm, edition 54/79. Published by Galerie Gisela Capitain, Köln. Kippenberger famously created more self-portraits than Rembrandt. In the painting Alkoholfolter (aus dem 15-teiligen werk vom einfachsten nach Hause) (The Torture of Alcohol [From the Fifteen-Part Series From the Simplest to Home]), 1981–82, he appears arrested, with plastic beerfasteners as pretend handcuffs, playing on his lack of restraint.Broken cm, 1991/92.
Leather, metal, 9×6 cm, edition 359/100.000. Realised by Sven O.Ahrens, Claudia Boettcher, Olaf Hackl, Stefan Felder, Hans v. Sichart, Ina Weber. Published by MK mit Erfreuliche Klasse Kippenberger (Kassel)
The Broken Kilometer, 1979, located at 393 West Broadway in New York City, is composed of 500 highly polished, round, solid brass rods, each measuring two meters in length and five centimeters (two inches) in diameter. The 500 rods are placed in five parallel rows of 100 rods each. The sculpture weighs 18 3/4 tons and would measure 3,280 feet if all the elements were laid end-to-end. Each rod is placed such that the spaces between the rods increase by 5mm with each consecutive space, from front to back; the first two rods of each row are placed 80mm apart, the last two rods are placed 570 mm apart. Metal halide stadium lights illuminate the work which is 45 feet wide and 125 feet long. This work is the companion piece to De Maria’s 1977 Vertical Earth Kilometer at Kassel, Germany. In that permanently installed earth sculpture, a brass rod of the same diameter, total weight and total length has been inserted 1,000 meters into the ground. The Broken Kilometer has been on long-term view to the public since 1979. This work was commissioned and is maintained by Dia Art Foundation.Haus Schloss Case, 1990.
Packing case/silkscreen on paper 48.5×45×36cm, edition 8/23, signed. Realised by Hans Böhning and Ulrich Strohtjohann, Köln. Published by Edition Julie Sylvester, New York. Produced on the occasion of the exhibition Haus Schloss Case. Edition Julie Sylvester New York 1990 and Metro Pictures, New York 1990 and of the exhibition Martin Kippenberger Luhring Augustine Hetzler, Santa Monica 1990.Plate, 1997.
China plate with writing relief, diameter 26cm, edition 81/150. Realised by Ulrich Strohjohann, Köln. Published by Edition Schellmann, München. Produced as an edition for documenta X, 1997 Kassel.
Felt pen on plastic, 17×16×16cm, edition 3/30, signed. Realised by Johann Widauer and Marcus Geiger, Innsbruck. Published by Johann Widauer, Innsbruck The Lord Jim Lodge was a union of several artists, among others by Jörg Schlick, Martin Kippenberger, Albert Oehlen, Max Gad, Walter Grond and the writer Wolfgang Bauer. The motto of the Lord Jim Lodge was ‘No one helps nobody’, its signet a drawing of a Sun, Breasts and Hammer. The Lord Jim Lodge saw itself as a ‘male society of genuine resistance to mental and behavioural templates’. Each of the members of this lodge had to use the ‘Sun Breasts Hammer’ icon and the words ‘No one helps nobody’ in his works. The stated aim was to make the Signet “better known than the logo of Coca Cola”. Martin Kippenberger did this among other things, in his self-portraits from 1988 and the ‘metro stations’ project. With the death Kippenberger in 1997, the Lord Jim Lodge abandoned their activities to make the icon known by business integration.‘Roger E.A.’, 1990.
Wood, plastic, 3×6×36, 5cm 8 copies. Realized by Johann Widauer, Innsbruck. Published by Johann Widauer, Innsbruck. Produced on the occasion of the exhibition Roger, Edition GEMACHTES GUT, Johann Widauer, Cafe. Central, Innsbruck 1990. Original Prototype, signed.Vom Scheitel bis zur Speiseröhre – Modell Richie, 1990.
Wooden slat, key tag, b/w photograph, ca 30cm, edition 64/80, signed. Realised by Johann Widauer, Innsbruck. Published by Texte zur Kunst, Köln. From head to oesophagus, Model Richie (1990) For Texte zur Kunst No.1 Martin Kippenberger carved the head of Richard von Weizsäcker after a photo, divided it into 100 individual pieces, and attached a keychain with a photo of the head that the pieces of wood belonged to, to each stick.Ohne Titel, 1991.
Two-tone offset printing on punched out cardboard, 16 × 12cm, 5000 copies. Realised by Druckerei Fries, Köln. Published by Buchhandlung Walther König.Orologio Annuale, 1990.
Manual winding timepiece, stainless steel box and leather strap, length 23 cm, signed and numbered 23/100. Produced by Alessandra Bonomo, Rome and locus Solus, Genoa. The passing and marking of time is a recurrent theme of Boetti’s work. His Orologi annuali, (Annual clocks) continually informed their wearers of the time and of the given year. He produced a version of the watch nearly every year from 1977–94 in editions from 50 to 200 that he first gave to friends, replacing the numbers on a clock dial with only the digits of that year.
Martin Kippenberger was one of the most controversial and innovative artists of the 1980’s and 90’s. To him, sculpture, painting, photography, books, posters, and even invitation cards were all equally valid forms of his artistic practice. He constantly played off one media against another in an output as prolific as it was varied. Kippenberger’s work is characterised by derisive pictorial inventions and image-text combinations touching the taboos of art.
British artist Jonathan Monk replays, recasts and re-examines seminal works of Conceptual and Minimal art by variously witty, ingenious and irreverent means. Speaking in 2009, he said, “Appropriation is something I have used or worked with in my art since starting art school in 1987. At this time (and still now) I realised that being original was almost impossible, so I tried using what was already available as source material for my own work.” Through wall paintings, monochromes, ephemeral sculpture and photography he reflects on the tendency of contemporary art to devour references, simultaneously paying homage to figures such as Sol LeWitt, Ed Ruscha, Bruce Nauman and Lawrence Weiner, while demystifying the creative process.
This is not the first time Kippenberger plays a lead role in Jonathan Monk’s work. Monk named his 2011 solo exhibition Dear Painter, paint for me one last time, after Kippenberger’s first museum show in 1981 Lieber Maler, male mir (Dear painter, paint for me). For this Berlin show, Kippenberger hired a billboard painter called Werner to execute the paintings. Martin Kippenberger proclaimed that this was Werner’s first indoor exhibition. Thirty years later, Jonathan Monk commissioned reproductions of ten paintings by a Chinese painter for his Geneva show.
InOtherWords (I.O.W): You utilise design and architecture to create a frame for your work, a frame that stops space. You often place your smaller sculptures – many of which are featured in the book – in vitrines or cabinets of curiosities, which you call ‘the first structuring device that leads to the museum’. How does a book offer you a different frame to a cabinet of curiosities, an exhibition or physical space? In other words: why this book?
FOS: The book offers a frame in the same way a vitrine does, but it also becomes an object in itself; each page starts functioning as an object. A book also gives a wider perspective: the cabinets each entail a set of objects, whereas the book shows an entire collection of objects. There is a difference between my larger, more autonomous sculptures and the smaller objects in the vitrines and book. I see them as artefacts that hold a very specific but hidden meaning: a word or a sentence that lies inside, unseen. Placing the objects in a vitrine is my way of creating a sentence. The book is an extension of the vitrine and gives me the opportunity to create a series of meanings and sentences, resulting in a language of objects. We’re writing the language of form, which we call ‘formsprog’ in Danish.
I.O.W: Did you anticipate whether the meaning of the objects would change by putting them in a book and how the reader would perceive them? The objects are quite mysterious and are bound to raise the question of whether they are art.
FOS: The meaning of the objects shifts now that they are placed in a book. Before they were tucked into a comfortable artistic space, a gallery or a museum: you enter that space and you’re never insecure of what it is you are looking at. Now that the work is in a book, readers might not be so sure. Is it an object, an artefact or a piece of art? I would define them as objects in an artistic production.
The book format also creates a different distance between you and the object or the representation of that object, let’s call it an artefact. Calling the objects artefacts indicates that something has already been created: it’s been lost, it’s been found and now we are looking at it again. It has a narrative that’s both contemporary and historic. The text in the middle of the book hints at where these artifacts are coming from, an undefined memory.
I.O.W: When you break the title down, who is the traveller?
FOS: The one language traveller is an explorer; maybe he’s the one that found the objects in the book. He moves in and out of different dimensions, areas, scales and cultures, yet he is deciphering what he sees in one language only. This character is a metaphor for how we humans are trying to understand our surroundings. Despite their range of dimensions, we try to comprehend them all in the same language. We are not switching our investigations into a sensorial communal language, we still use English or another native tongue. My work explores this lack of a vocabulary suited to explain all dimensions. Our one language is very limited, maybe that is why there is so much that we don’t understand.”
I.O.W: What role does the book play in you being understood as an artist?
FOS: The book enters my artistic presence; it makes a part of my project clearer. I like to give more clarity: we are all part of an evolutionary process and we all would like to be understood. I like it when I look at an object and it looks like I had nothing to do with it, as if it has created itself autonomously. Then I think I have succeeded. That’s how I feel about the book. There is a balance between the objects that seem to have a language together, but we have a hard time understanding what they are talking about.
I.O.W: How can readers categorise or understand this book?
FOS: Personally I see it as a catalogue, of an inventory of objects I created in a period of time. Instead of a classical way, we chose to organise them dynamically. The spiral bound format references an old school catalogue or inventory list. It also means the book has a weak start and a weak ending: however you end, you can actually stop there, fold the book over and put it in the slipcase as it is. The selection of items is determined by the logic of the format of the book, which introduces a new set of rules that these objects never came across before. The idea from the outset was to rearrange the objects in a different kind of archive, to set them free.
I.O.W: Is there a clear order of what is new, older and what belongs together or all perfectly random? How have you selected these works?
FOS: I like to leave it up to the reader to make the connections. That’s why we made a book using this flow, approaching it as an inventory list but without a diagram next to it. The objects that I made for Céline are kept separate, in an autonomous section printed in silver. They are more designed and serve a function, albeit an otherworldly one. The two door handles that I created for the Céline boutiques for instance – one looks uncultivated and naïve, the other cultivated and minimalistic – reference my work made from soap and keep their value as artefactsInterview. The minimalistic bronze objects that sit in the vitrine and hold jewellery similarly don’t look like jewellery hangers, they still contain themselves. The fact that these objects speak another language is underlined by the fact that they are printed in silver.
I.O.W: This concept has caused us to somewhat remove ourselves from what we usually do as graphic designers, which is to clarify, order and summarise. How would you define our role in the process of making this book?
FOS: I see you as watchmakers. You are the specialists holding the refined screwdrivers that carefully place all content. With the differences in paper size and colour, the words that are images and the flow of objects, you have understood and created the dynamic that I was after. Everything in the book has a meaning within them but it is not too underlined. Maybe I can define you as architects, creating a space for my work.
Disobedient Bodies: JW Anderson at The Hepworth Wakefield has been published alongside the exhibition of the same name, curated by JW Anderson and opening The Hepworth Wakefield in March 2017. The book – made in a close collaboration between Jonathan Anderson, Andrew Bonacina and OK-RM – acts as an alternative exhibition space in which the pairings and combinations that unfold within The Hepworth’s galleries come in to play with images from Anderson’s collaborative photographic projects with Jamie Hawkesworth. The book object comprises a series of interleaved sections amassing 142 pages and featuring works by Barbara Hepworth, Henry Moore, Constantin Brancusi, Eileen Gray, Sarah Lucas, Jean Paul Gaultier, Christian Dior, Helmut Lang and many more, alongside contributions from Anderson’s own collections.
A collection of nine Kippenberger editions, one Boetti watch, a cigarette and yellow is a deck of cards created in collaboration with artist Jonathan Monk. In a play on the imprint’s focus on developing collectable objects, Monk has appropriated this InOtherWords publication to showcase a collection of his own: editions and multiples created by artists Martin Kippenberger and Alighiero Boetti. As an avid collector of multiples, Monk holds a special interest in the work of Martin Kippenberger. A controversial and innovative artist of the 1980s and 90s, Kippenberger is widely regarded as one of the most esteemed German artists of his generation. The faces of the playing cards show fragments of a composition of limited edition objects – ranging from small sculptures to ready-mades – collected and arranged by Monk.A short history on Kippenberger editions and the art of cards…
The limited edition of A collection of nine Kippenberger editions, one Boetti watch, a cigarette and yellow is produced in a run of 50 copies, signed and numbered by the artist. Printed on linen-finished, casino quality poker cards, this edition comes in a foil stamped box, containing special jokers and accompanied by a certificate of authentication.
One Language Traveller accumulates objects created by Danish artist FOS, as if the book were a cabinet of curiosities. United on the pages of the book, the sculptures speak to each other in a new vocabulary of form.The artist’s book entails both new and earlier work, illustrated in full colour, accompanied by associative texts in the form of lists, statements and a poem written by the artist. It is ring bound, sits in a reflective slipcase and is finished in an array of paper, colours and page sizes. One Language Traveller was made in the winter of 2015 between London and Copenhagen to coincide with a large solo exhibition in Kunsthal Charlottenborg in FOS’ native Denmark.A conversation with FOS…
InOtherWords creates books as collectable objects in close collaboration with artists, writers, institutions, galleries, and other cultural protagonists. Publications are crafted to the highest standard and with utmost care.
InOtherWords is an imprint founded by Oliver Knight and Rory McGrath of London-based design studio OK-RM in March 2015.