There is a certain fascination that comes with arts that break with current trends and go in the complete opposite direction. In the 1960's in U.S.A. Abstract Expressionism was predominant and to counter this trend the Bay Area Figurative movement started Photorealism.
A key figure was and still is the painter Robert Bechtle. Born in 1932 in San Francisco he studied graphic design in Oakland at California College of Arts and Crafts until 1954. Shortly after his graduation he got drafted army and sent to Berlin.
After his return he studied again at the California College of Arts and Crafts, but now painting and finished with a degree in fine arts. During this time he got introduced to the aforementioned Bay Area Figurative movement, who set out to break with the status quo of painting at that time. Initially he started to use photos as an aid, but by 1966 his use of photographs became an integral part of his working process.
His pictures are inspired by his local San Francisco surroundings and has a particular fascination for amateur photographs and snapshots, especially of cars, often his own, which he uses as his starting point. From 1978 until 1999 he taught at the San Francisco State University and still lives there.
In each Christmas calendar our goal is to have at least one Hip Hop related entry. We tend to favor English speaking Rap, as in our opinion, German rap can be tricky. In its early days it was overly happy and in recent-years rather pseudo-gangster, both extremes never seemed authentic.
A more than welcome alternative is since more than ten years the duo Retrogott and Hulk Hodn. Being a classic Hip Hop formation, a MC and a producer, comparisons to cult duos like Gang Starr are more than obvious. Both incredibly talented solo artists, but as duo nearly unbeatable. This is also mirrored in their rather old school approach, a sample, often Jazz-influenced, a beat and the lyrics of the rapper.
Both are originally from around Cologne and started working together in 2005. Their names are one the one hand a clear reference to Hulk Hogan, but replaced by the German word for testicles. Retrogott initially called himself Huss, pronounced in English means hate in German. For the last two albums he changed his name, but stated no reason for that.
Lyrically Retrogott a.k.a. Kurt Hustle walks the thin line between up front battle rap and permanent intellectual references to history, art and philosophers. He is inspired on the one hand by philosophers like Jacques Derrida, Ludwig Wittgenstein or Ferdinand de Saussure and rappers like Big L, Schoolly D or Nas. In his lyrics, now rather subtle than in the beginning he provokes to question our position not to be schooling but rather to raise questions and point out issues.
His rhymes are perfectly and always tastefully supported by Huld Hodn's beats. So far the duo released five records, two under their new monike Retrogott & Hulk Hodn. The latest Sezession! came out last year.
In recent years both are also quite active in their solo projects. Hulk Hodn under his moniker Hodini, which gravitates more towards house music. Retrogott on his solo projects is also dancefloor oriented but with a funky approach. Next to their release on their label Entourage-Business, now called entbs, they released records on Damiano Von Erckert's AVA Records or Money $ex Records, which was founded by Max Graef, Glenn Astro and Delfonic.
Next in line for this year's specials is the mother of all merchandise items, the T-Shirt. Our Hallein T-Shirt is regular cut, classic crew neck shirt made from 100% cotton.
It features a distorted Hallein screen print in contrasting colors on the left sift and is available, as pictured in three colorways.
Artists, designers or architects often have to stand test of time. In the case of Franz Erhard Walther it was not an easy task as he was kicked out of university and not taken seriously by his contemporaries. Only in the last fifteen years an increasing interest in his oeuvre arose peaking in winning the Golden Lion at the 2017 Venice Biennale.
Born in 1938 in Fulda, he initially started to work in his family's bakery and went to evening drawing courses by Rudolf Kubesch in his hometown. After an initial try the year before he got into Werkkunstschule Offenbach in 1958 and started to be active in a young artist's circle with Verena Pfisterer and Johannes Kirsch. From 1959 to 1961 he studied at the Städelschule in Frankfurt, where he got kicked out. After that he studied at the Kunstakademie under Karl Otto Götz with fellow students like Gerhard Richter or Sigmar Polke, which did not accept his artistic approach.
From 1967 until 1971 he lived in New York. Marcel Duchamp got interested in his work and wanted to meet him, but it never happened as Duchamp died in 1968. Franz Erhard Walther showed in 1969 his 1. Werksatz (workset) at the Museum of Modern Art. In the same year he was also part of Harald Szeeman's seminal exhibition Live in your head: When Attitude becomes Form at the Kunsthalle Bern, which changed the understanding of exhibitions fundamentally.
In 1971 he got appointed professor at the Hochschule für bildende Künste Hamburg and taught there until 2005. Among his pupils were Martin Kippenberger, Jonathan Meese, Christian Jakowski, Rebecca Horn or Santiago Sierra.
His approach, from the start, involved the action of the viewer, physically or mentally, which set his contemporaries off. Also at that time the art zeitgeist distanced itself from objects through movements like fluxus and happenings. So his sculptures, whether woven fabrics kept in basic, non-fashion colors, or metal plates, stood in complete contrast. He got inspired through Jackson Pollock and Informalism to question the classic understanding of sculpture and include time and action in his works.
As sad as it may sound, but deaths put artists back in the spotlight. 2017 was a tragic year for Krautrock as two key players of the genre died, in January the drummer Jaki Liebzeit and in September the bassist Holger Czukay. Next to Irmin Schmidt and Michael Karoli both were founding members of the seminal German band Can, which Jason Ankeny described as "successfully bridg[ing] the gap between pop and the avant-garde".
Holger Czukay, born as Holger Schüring in 1938 in the Free City Of Danzig, grew up in the chaos after the second world war and so his primary education suffered but had a pivotal experience while working as a teenager in a radio repair shop. From 1964 to 1966 he studied under Karlheinz Stockhausen, like Irmin Schmidt, at the Cologne Courses for New Music. After graduating he shortly taught music with little interest in rock music, which changed when a student played him I Am A Walrus by The Beatles.
Inspired by this experimental phase in pop music he founded in 1968 with the aforementioned the band Can. Holger Czukay played bass and as a shortwave radio enthusiast did most of the recording and engineering for the group. Their first records were recorded at the infamous Schloss Nörvenich, an ancient castle. At the same time he recorded together with Ro Dammers under their moniker Technical Space Composer's crew the seminal and highly sought-after album Canaxis 5 in the recording studio of the WDR electronic music studio.
As a band they were in-demand for soundtracks, but also here following their approach only Irmin Schmidt would see the film and then give the rest a description of the scene they will be scoring. They provided soundtracks for films like Deadlock, Deep End or the German TV-Series Tatort. After the band's ninth studio album Saw Delight, where he gave up the bass and played effects, he left the band in 1977 to pursue a solo career.
After his departure he recorded approximately ten solo albums. His trademark tools were the use of shortwave radio sounds and was one of the first to make use of the art of sampling. Collaborated with many famous artists like Brian Eno, Eurythmics, on their first album or the band Trio. Important to highlight here is the EP Snake Charmer, a collaboration between the producer and DJ François Kevorkian, the bass player Jah Wobble and U2's guitarist The Edge.
Design is often over-polished as it reaches for perfection and therefore avoids any flaws that might give them a human touch. The result often is a home or product that lacks character. Over the various decades there were always designers that stood out bringing a certain edge with their design approach. Noteworthy are the Memphis group in the 80s or most recently the designer Max Lamb.
He was born in 1980 in Cornwall, but moved a lot during his childhood as his father was an Air Force pilot, triggering in him his love for the constant move and travels. After studying at Amersham & Wycombe College and a certificate at City and Guilds Photography Certificate, he enrolled at Northumbria University receiving a degree in Three Dimensional Design. In 2006 he finished his master in product design at the Royal College of Art in London.
Today he lives and works in Wood Green in the north of London in a renovated factory opposite an auto repair shop. For Max Lamb the pleasure is always in the act of making the work and the satisfaction of completing it, never the outcome itself. This work ethos is reflected in his design approach as puts a lot of effort in his work on efficiency and immediacy. So in his logic materials come first, then the process and from out those follows the function.
He often uses traditional techniques to achieve innovative contemporary solutions and thereby uses materials like pewter, stone, wood, metal, or polyurethane rubber. He is also fascinated with discarded materials as they already have a history and a former use.
He draws his inspiration from the people surrounding him, but also mentioned Isamo Noguchi because of the breadth of his work reaching from mass produced design products to playgrounds and public works all over the world.
Next to his personals projects like My Grandfather's Tree at Somerset house during London Design Festival in 2015 or Exercises in Seating (2015) during Milan Design Week in the same year, he works for companies like Kvadrad or Bitossi. He also furnished multiple Acne Studio stores with his signature benches, stools and tables.
At the end of the 1980s, beginning of the 1990s a group of young British artists emerged, labeled YBAs, who pushed the envelop a little further and at the same time captured the zeitgeist. Leading or most famous artists of this movement are Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst, which, especially the later, gained a reputation through his market oriented art approach. A different approach, but non the less controversial has their contemporary, the sculptor Rachel Whiteread.
She was born in Illford, Essex, in 1963, stayed there until the age of 7 and then moved with her family to London. Her mother was an artist, and her father a geography teacher and a polytechnic administrator. In 1982 she went to study painting in Brighton, but was more drawn to sculpture and visited a workshop there. After a short stay at the Cyprus College of art, she studied sculpture at Slade School of Art, University College in London.
After graduating in 1987, she began exhibiting in the same year and already her first solo show in 1988. Her work Ghost (1990) caused quite a stir, where she set out to "mummify the air in a room"and cast an entire room in plaster in a house similar to the one she grew up. This approach, partly executed before, but not in that scale, stuck with her until now. The work was included in Charles Saatchi's seminal YBA show in 1992 and later acquired by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
She gained public notoriety for her 1993 work House, where she took the idea of Ghost further and filled a complete, soon to be destroyed Victorian house with concrete. The work was destroyed after 80 days. On the day of destruction, it was announced that she won the prestigious Turner prize, making her the first woman to win it.
In her spirit she continued with works like Untitled (One Hundred Spaces), where she inspired by Bruce Nauman captured space underneath 100 chairs and cast them in resin, using various colors. Additionally she continued making public works like Water Tower (1998) in New York, Holocaust Monument (2000) in Vienna or The Gran Boathouse (2010) in Gran, Norway.
Rachel Whiteread sees herself as a sculptor, as in her own opinion "thinks in 3D". She uses materials like plaster, concrete, resin, rubber and metal to cast, as shown above, everyday objects and architectural space making air and emptiness solid. Therefore she uses drawing as her thinking process, not only to sketch, but to develop her idea. She is influenced by minimalists like Donald Judd or Dan Flavin or landscape artists like Gordon Matta-Clark.
Our forray into hometown merchandise continues with the second special and takes on the bare necessities. Next in line is our first offering of underwear, the Hallein briefs.
Regular cut midi briefs featuring a black Hallein print on the left sie. They come in a box of two and are made from a high quality cotton blend. Should be washed at 60° with similar colors.
The last years have proven that magazines or print are definitely not dead. At the same time an increasing interest in cooking arose, probably again. So cooking magazines are as old as magazines themselves and also countless as the stars. In order to stand out among the competition a new magazines need to bring something special to the table.
So in 2012 three Italian fashion creatives Yara De Nicola, Fabiana Fierotti and Valentina Barzaghi went to found a magazine about food, but in a broader sense, as it takes it as means of transportation and focuses on high-end fashion, art and design. Each interview is done over the course of a meal, as they put it "the most precious moment of the day".
Since they started their bi-annual publication 11 issues came out so far. The name itself is a double pun of words. One the hand an obvious reference to à la carte, but on the other carta means paper in Italian, so a reference to the tactile facet and key material of magazines. Next to interviews and photo editorials, fashion and documentary, the magazine features tips on etiquette, cooking techniques and also experimental recipes.
The 8th of December, a public holiday in Austria, marks in our calendar always a musical entry, a mixtape in the last few years. Normally it was a certain theme and therefore songs were selected. This year we gave the controls to someone else to bring something fresh to the table. We could have asked some of the DJs playing our parties, but we have chosen another path, by asking a friend, whose taste we admire, to create a mixtape for us. Our first mix comes from the mysterious Sigurd Sollid and he wants to specially thank Hedda. Enjoy!