Will Holder: Abstraction Création: Art non-figuratif
4 Sep 2014

Time slots: 7:00 – 7:30 p.m. | 8:00 – 8:30 p.m. | 9:00 – 9:30 p.m

Starting point: Schiphol Lounge, entrance hall
7 - 9:30 pm
Entrance price to the museum + € 2,50 cover charge
Sold out
Abstraction Création: Art non-figuratif, courtesy of Riet Wijnen/Kunstverein Amsterdam.
Abstraction Création: Art non-figuratif, courtesy of Riet Wijnen/Kunstverein Amsterdam.

The Stedelijk Museum presents – in close collaboration with Kunstverein Amsterdam – a reading performance by Will Holder on the occasion of the reprint and first full English translation of the cahier Abstraction Création: Art non-figuratif.

Between 1932 and 1936, five editions of the cahier Abstraction Création: Art non-figuratif were published in Paris by the eponymous association, uniting all art movements who worked in and advocated abstraction. The magazine not only formalized a new tendency for language in visual art, but also became a form of explicit self-promotion and opposition against the growing force of figurative Surrealism. Two minimal yet clearly articulated criteria needed to be fulfilled in order to become a member of the association: one had to be an artist and one had to work non-figuratively. This resulted in a list of members that included long-forgotten artists as well as names such as Kandinsky, Mondrian, Calder, Delaunay, Van Doesburg, and Brancusi. 

One year after the establishment of the association, the first issue of the cahier Abstraction Création: Art non-figuratif was published. Most of the members submitted documentation of work along with self-written texts. Those writings were visions on their own work, detailed explanations of the documentation, short viewing instructions, epistles about the true meaning of abstract art, essays on the relation between abstract art and evolution, straightforward explanations why a locomotive is not a work of art, and a poem about God being a copycat.

The publication of the cahier in English is the initiative of artist Riet Wijnen, with the support of Kunstverein Publishing. During the launch at the Stedelijk, artist and designer Will Holder will lead a small audience (up to 20 people per performance slot) through the museum’s galleries, stopping at paintings and sculptures made by contributors of Abstraction Creation: Art non-figuratif, and reading excerpts of their writings.

A number of the historical cahiers of Abstraction Création: Art non-figuratif, part of the Stedelijk’s collection, will be on display in the modern art circuit in the ground level of the museum to celebrate this occasion. a  

Will Holder

Will Holder once read that an oral tradition would lead us out of the post-modern condition, and has since understood performance, teaching, and publishing as one and the same. Although the printed page always plays a role in his practice, these exchanges of information do not always take the form of ink and paper; and much of the information is produced while finding a suitable “form” of transmission. Holder is editor of F.R.DAVID, a journal concerned with reading and writing in the arts (published by De Appel arts centre, Amsterdam). In May 2009, Holder curated Talk Show at the ICA London, an exhibition and season of events concerning speech and accountability. He is currently editing and typesetting a biography of American composer Robert Ashley, Yes, But Is It Edible? for two or more voices (with Alex Waterman, forthcoming from New Documents), and rewriting William Morris’ News from Nowhere (An epoch of rest) (1876) into a guide for design education and practice set in 2135.

Riet Wijnen

Riet Wijnen is an artist based in Amsterdam who works mostly in the media of photography, photocopies, video, and writing. She also publishes books and cahiers, such as Marlow Moss (2013) and Abstraction Création: Art non-figuratif (2014), and is working on The Registry of Pseudonyms, an ongoing accumulation of pseudonyms on the website, which is at the same time a research into the term itself and its history. In her work, she explores links between abstraction, perception, language, and structures; mostly reconstructions of a story, history, or topic, which she first deconstructs with intense research to make visible the several layers of which it consists. In 2013, Wijnen won the Sybren Hellinga Prize, an important prize for young emerging artists in the Netherlands. In the autumn of 2014, a new video and app will be shown at the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam. Since 2012, she has also been involved in Kunstverein Amsterdam as an associate curator.