THEK~Paul – The wonderful world that almost….
Author: Anke Bangma, Holland Cotter, Richard Flood, Marietta Franke, Roland Groenenboom, Rebecca Quaytman, Harald Szeemann, Ann Wilson. Publisher: Witte de With, Rotterdam, Fundació Antoni Tàpies Year: 1996 Artist: THEK~Paul (George Paul) ISBN: 84-88786-10-7
Softcover, 232 pages, 61 color and 75 black-and-white photographs, Catalan / English, 28 x 23 cmCondition: new Exhibition catalogue includes a facsimile selection of pages from nineteen of Thek's notebooks all dating from 1979. Among Paul Thek's belongings, after his death in 1988 at the age of 54, were approximately 80 of his notebooks.
Published in collaboration with Neue National Galerie, Berlin; Fundaci? Antoni T?pies, Barcelona, Musées de Marseille, Marseilles; Kunsthalle Zürich/Museum Für Gegenwartskunst Zürich, Zurich. Introduction by Friedrich Meschede, Britta Schmitz, Manuel Borja-Villel, Bernard Blistène, Philippe Vergne, Chris Dercon, Rein Wolfs Texts by Holland Cotter, "Paul Thek's Time;" Richard Flood, "Paul Thek: Real Misunderstanding," "Slow. Fade;" Mariette Franke, "Be Abstracted;" Paul Thek, "96 Sacraments," "Teaching Notes: 4-Dimensional Design;" Rebecca Quaytman, "The Notebooks of Paul Thek;" Harald Szeemann, "Interview with Paul Thek. Duisburg, 12 December 1973," "Postscript, March 1995;" Ann Wilson, "Voices from the Era" Anke Bangma and Roland Groenenboom, "Selected Confessions: A Narrative Biography"
The retrospective exhibition of American artist Paul Thek (1933-1988), and the accompanying monograph, functioned as a sequel to Witte de With's H?lio Oiticica retrospective held in 1992. As the oeuvres of Thek and Oiticica had long been underestimated or generalized, both retrospectives significantly contributed to a more complete understanding of contemporary art history. The work of both artists was not only representative of the art of their times; their influence can be traced in the environments and process-oriented work of artists today. In the early sixties, Thek pioneered a representation of human identity trapped in the labyrinths of spirituality, sexuality and technologi-cal progress. His Technological Reliquaries - realistic lumps of flesh and body parts, modeled in wax and cased in plexiglas boxes - were painful modern images of vanity. In the late sixties and early seventies, while traveling through Europe, Thek started creatingtemporary environments. He called them "processions," referring to the ritual character of creating and experiencing them. Thek made the environments in collaboration with a group of artists, known as the Artists' Co-op. The environments were not so much finished works of art as "stills" from a working process, which had to stop simply because the exhibition had to open. The "processions" were centered on the themes of birth, death and rebirth, and were full of references to Christian symbolism as well as mythology, local folklore, literature and everyday life. Ideally, they took place around the principal Christian festivals of Easter and Christmas. The public was invited to file in ritual fashion past the various tableaus in the environments, and to take part in the highly individual alternative to everyday reality which Thek presented. The paintings and drawings Thek made in the seventies and eighties were a more personal means of expression than his work with the Artists? Co-op, charged with the same individual symbolism.
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