Trixie, Libertine, Helvetica, Zeus and their friends
A few weeks ago we did a studio visit with Kathryn Andrews. While we were there Kathryn mentioned having “collaborated with Gaylen Gerber on something for an Austrian magazine.” (See various previous posts on Gerber and on Andrews individually and on their previous collaboration with Michael Ned Holte in his exhibition “Support Group” at Cottage Home in the summer of 2010: Feb 18, May 27, June 3, Oct 28 and Nov 11 – yes, I’m pretty obsessed…) On we moved to looking at her new work and hearing about exciting installations at the Rubell Collection, work at NADA, etc.
To me the notion of a (barely mentioned) zine produced by an Austrian artists’ collective which includes work by artists who fascinate and confuse me was tantalizing – and soon detective passion had me in its grips. At home later that week I Googled for the better part of two hours all the various combination’s of the few facts I had at hand (Kathryn was stingy with her disclosures), and then (drum roll please) I found it: http://www.theselection.net/zeitschrift/
This publication is difficult to approach under most circumstances – Zeitschrift is German for magazine and the title is different for each of the quarterly issues published since 2002. If you clicked on the above link you saw images of each cover and a list of the many contributing artists. (Artists are listed alphabetically after the jump, but I’ll excerpt: Um, no I won’t – even choosing one from each letter makes 26 and you would totally stop reading long before the end. Trust me or follow the link.) You may also have noted that each title follows the typeface used in the associated publication, hence the current issue “Trixie” is in the font Trixie.
I sent an email to the contact address on the site and got an almost immediate reply:
I am one of the editors of the magazine that you are looking for,
I live in L.A. and have a new copy of Trixie here and a (quite) used Libertine, do you wanna meet up so I can give those to you?
each is 4 Euro = 2 for 11 USD.
Do you prefer the guys from Vienna to send me a fresh copy of Libertine and we meet then,
or however you wanna do it?
I’m mostly in Echo Park or in West Adams, where my studio is.
Unfortunately subscription isn’t really possible to Los Angeles… but you can always get it through me!
Do you know our website?
Pigiarniq, Paper, Tiffany, are all really nice issues which are still available.
Loud and many were the cheers that lunch hour!!! “Yay!”
(Regarding the “used” vs “clean” Libertine – who wouldn’t prefer a used and soiled Libertine??? Evidence of history is so much more important to me than pristinity.)
Wolff and I made tentative plans to meet, which were adapted several times. We did of course meet, I got Trixie and Libertine and hope still to collect as many more issues as time and money allow.
The specs with which to tempt you: each issue is limited to 300 copies. Each issue includes projects by about 15 artists – each selected by a member of the editorial team. Editorial team members are Christian Egger, Manuel Gorkiewicz, Christian Mayer, Yves Mettler, Magda Tothova, Ruth Weisman, Alexander Wolff. I’ve seen the two copies I have and can tell you that each project may include images and/or text, there is a list of artists, titles and page numbers on the cover; each page is numbered so you can find where you are – but there is no big “why” for each project or a “how to” read this from any artist.
My linking in the editors list is pretty free form. I’m hopeful I got the Christian Mayer link correct because despite having no information it is a fun site. I’m also keeping my fingers crossed someone out there will fill me in where I’ve missed a website to two.
Oooooh. A note from the future: the correct website for Christian Mayer is http://galeriemezzanin.com/artists/christian-mayer/, I was correct in doubting the first link. I don’t know who that other Christian Mayer might be. I hope he’s a nice guy!
More temptation for you? (Wow – you’ve really sold your soul for this stuff, huh?!) Our own verifiably world famous Rebecca Morris made the most recent centerfold (do with that ‘centerfold’ term what you will, Rebecca!) and for the issue “Paper” Kai Althoff made a poster. Both are still available!!! (And yes this is a plug. Remember my motto: Everyone Should Flourish.)
Alexander walked me through the two issues that he brought with him to my house – Trixie and Libertine. “Gee, Geoff – what did you retain from that interview?” Well my friends, pull up a chair and we’ll chat.
Karen Mirzoyan, a Georgian artist and photo-journalist has the cover and several interior pages showing Beautiful and Dangerous, Belarus, 2008. Photos of rocks in a forest painted with symbols and text – the text in script I cannot translate, among the images are a struck match, a crude dragon, mushrooms with arrows. These rocks are cool looking – alone in the woods, like sentinels or advertisements for being – the way rocks always are once we mark them. Looking Mirzoyan up and working out this paragraph has me a little worried at the ease with which I announced Mirzoyan as a “Georgian artist.” The website I linked under his name shows a project that documents the calving off of several territories from Georgia to become South Ossetia, etc. I want to be careful about how I cast around identities or nationalities.
Link to Christian Egger exhibition at Bawag here, more about Bawag Foundation here, and (why the hell not?) Mike Bouchet May 2010 exhibition inaugurating new Bawag space here. Um, Bouchet shows at The Box here in LA if you’re wondering where is the connection.
About the image on the left above – Alexander chortled at the idea of polite and well-ordered loft dwellers (who are probably recently ambitious to the title of “artist”) posting such a plea asking for relief from impolite (puking and drug addicted) junkies. Can you spell gentrification? (Not that there’s anything wrong with that! Some of my favorite neighborhoods have been gentrified!)
About calling magazine pages “found footage.” Of course this is a cinematic term with roots going back to the beginnings of film and wouldn’t usually apply to clandestine photos or found posters. It also can lead one to consider “Objet trouve” an art world term – then you might hold that thought in your head and circle back to the time-based experience of reading and looking at this publication and allow the artists to use the filmic term. Found footage it is.
Hmm. And centerfold is another term with various and not always apt definitions. It, too works somehow. Nicely. Things like this keep me aware of what I’m doing as I look – trying to understand.
A page I find compelling in Trixie holds four translations of Rilke’s poem “From a Childhood” and was Wolff’s contribution to this issue. This is a lovely poem on its own and presented in this way reminds me that translation is pretty difficult, if not impossible. The poem means four different things depending on the translator. Probably it will mean four things to four readers, too. Without getting all totalitarian about it I do find that experiences – say my experience of an artwork or piece of writing – are terribly difficult to describe. I don’t find myself wanting to declare that communication is impossible, but this feeling does encourage me to seek many viewpoints and to begin any conversation with a work of art or text or even another person by remaining silent, by looking and listening. Poetry is definitely this way – perhaps it is the clearest way to communicate because of its indirection and the spaces it leaves for one to fill.
Aah, yes. The famous Rebecca Morris centerfold. This is a color photograph in which Morris makes of herself a five-pointed star standing in front of a larger than life triangle painting. (is she blocking? announcing? defending? protecting? wearing????? did she just throw the painting off her shoulders like Wonder Woman used to do her cape?) To be precise she’s in front of the beginning of “version one of ‘Untitled #15-07’ Los Angeles, 2007.” Confrontational? Yes. Decidedly so. And believe me – super cool. Hot cool. (I tried to scan it for you but my color correcting skills are minimal and the image just looks lousy….. I’ll try again some time.)
I feel that I must give credit to the people and the government of Austria for some of the wonderment that is Zeitschrift. Yes my American friends – in Austria the government gives grants to artists who make work like this. Really. Government action has supported this purely subjective and idiosyncratic compendium of contemporary art since 2002. (Eight years and counting – a record which inspires me to keep up my own documentation and selection project.) Strike up Land der Berge, Land am Strome. btw – I recently heard Haydn’s Kaiser Quartet (at Jacaranda) and I’ve been searching for a reason to link to the beautiful music. If not now probably never. Here is part one of what once was the anthem of what was the Austro-Hungarian Empire before some nasty history took the music and the empire away from the land of the mountains, land on the river. Here’s movement two (which you’ll recognize), and movement three and Movement IV. Totally wonderful moments with string instruments and grace, dignity, decorum, affability, wry wit and an awareness of fun.
I could go on and I probably will at some later time. In the meanwhile – check out the links, read what you can online and send that email to Austria!
Have fun and be sure to wash behind your ears.
And now for a reality check, again from the future: Zeitschrift is not funded entirely by the Austrian government. No country is that rosy. In fact, during our visit Alexander Wolff told me a hilarious story about recreating a copy of the zine in pdf and placing a stamp of the Austrian government on the cover in a prominent place. Then printing a copy and presenting some official it as proof of the zine’s gratitude.
Let’s face it, all over the world people who make things happen do so out of love, and usually pay most of the bills themselves. So it is with my new friends in Austria. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you buy a copy, or several copies. You can do this by sending your excited email messages to [email protected].
You are a person who cares about culture. You are a person who should buy Zeitschrift. (Along with about a million other publications, I know. So we all need to get busy!)
(In this case I mean, “the future,” if one considers the original posting date of January 4th to be a real-time date. As I write these comments the date is January 10th.)
Good-bye again, and thanks for putting your attention into Notes. You know I’ll always take care of it for you!