Book as the new old medium

In 1967 Johannes Cladders made his first exhibition as a curator of Abteiberg museum in Mönchengladbach. It was the first personal exhibition of 46-years old Joseph Beuys. The main Beuys’ anarcho-utopian principle of liberal creative citizens’ expression, or, speaking simply, «everyone can be an artist», and Cladders’ unyielding desire not to make any concessions to public taste and not to go on about it connected here. But both Cladders and Beuys appreciated actuality. Art should move forward. “Art is defined art”

BEUYS, JOSEPH 1967-2 BEUYS, JOSEPH 1967

 

While preparing the exhibition, Cladders faced with financial difficulties, but the question of money did not matter for him. He always managed to wriggle. Due to problems with financing, his famous catalogues-boxes were born. Money was just enough for small brochure on the cheapest paper, but he wanted to do something special, something that can be putted on the bookshelf. So for the Beuys exhibition a printing office was found, which was ready to print a brochure for free, but it turned out to be too small. Then Beuys offered to make a box with objects made of felt. Edition was 330 pieces.

BRECHT, GEORGE : FILLIOU, ROBERT 1969 BROODTHAERS, MARCEL 1971 BYERS, JAMES LEE 1977 DARBOVEN, HANNE 1969

The exhibition was called “Parallel processes”. In some points exhibition and its catalogues became a parallel processes to each other. The catalogue did not just accompany the exhibition, it was independent artistic project. After Beuys all exhibited by Cladders artists used this method. And he always made only personal exhibitions and never – collective, except Documenta V in 1972, where he showed his four artists: Buren, Beuys, Broodthaers, Filliou. Often the exhibition and catalogue were connected only by the artist’s name. It was not just a catalogue, not a book in its classical objectification, but something between Duchamp’s Boîte en valise and livre d’artist.

Heerich 1967 IMG_7615WEB JOHNS, JASPER 1971 KOUNELLIS, JANNIS 1978 - 2

Today book again regains some sacredness, again becomes an independent medium. It is everyone’s choice to read a book in its artificial objectification on paper or by using the electronic media, but the printed book becomes prestigious. Book was always something special, and the attitude towards it was special. So, Cladders together with his artists made catalogues-books special and unique and real pieces of art. Now exhibitions are usually accompanied by beautiful catalogues with large edition. Now catalogues are the product. But catalogues are needed to return those quality and those potential which were opened by Cladders.

KOUNELLIS, JANNIS 1978 MANZONI, PIERO 1970 PANAMARENKO 1969 - 2 PANAMARENKO 1969

monamatveeva

 

 

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