Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Die Aufmerksamkeit: Receiving a found library

It appears that the festive season has come early this year. An art friend dropped off a box of books the other night. My friend found the box and its contents dumped outside a suburban home in Sydney's inner west, prior to a local council hard rubbish collection. My mindful friend knows I am currently learning German and guessed correctly that this box and its contents would be gleefully received.

It appears that these books were collected by the Australian artist, Elwyn 'Jack' Lynn (1917-1997). Various inscriptions bear Lynn's signature, note where the volume was purchased and the date. The photograph located above illustrates some of the titles that were found.

'Kunst und Revolte' (1968) by Louis F. Peters bears a black biro inscription, 'Kassel 1968' and Lynn's signature. Peters' 'Kunst und Revolte' is of particular interest to me. It causes me to speculate if this publication was circulating in Adelaide amongst the fearless W.A.M. gals such as Pam Harris (1946-1992) and Anne Newmarch.

An earlier publication, 'Fritz Winter, Triebkräfte der Erde' (1957), also bears Lynn's signature in black ink (fountain pen) and the date,  '6.11.58'. For those less familiar with the German artist, Fritz Winter (1905-1976), Winter was deemed a degenerate artist by the National Socialists and was subsequently sent to the Eastern Front. Subsequently, and on returning to Germany in 1949, he was invited to participate in Dokumenta 1 (1955) and Dokumenta 2 (1959).

The 'square peg' in this collection of books is a MOP Gallery catalogue for the exhibition, 'Our lucky country' (2010). As such, it is the only Australian visual art title cached in this box of books. It would appear that an unknown person, post 2010, added the MOP catalogue to this collection on publications. I am looking forward to reading Fritz Winter's 'Triebkräfte der Erde'. Following this, it seems appropriate to read the catalogue essay for 'Our lucky country' (2010). The only other anomaly in this collection, albeit in a different field, is a collection of contemporary Australian poems, 'On reflection' (2005) by David Musgrave.

As the year rolls to an end, and the tensions between the Ukraine and Russia continue to escalate, and as more lives are lost through willful acts of violence, I cannot help but imagine a worse case scenario. A recent newspaper story by Jurek Skrobala, 'Stuck in the Middle: Polish Intellectuals Sound the Alarm on Russia' in Der Spiegel (first accessed 9/12/2014) presents Poland's difficult and tenuous position:
The ongoing tension in this region brings to mind the Polish artist, Magdalena Abakanowicz and her work, 'Abakan trójczęściowy czarny' (1972), [techniki mieszane/ mixed media] which I saw at the Biała Fabryka Museum, Łódź in 2012. 

Special thanks to Jagoda + Włodek for alerting me to Abakanowicz's important work which is held in the permanent collection of Biała Fabryka Museum, Łódź.

Magdalena Abakanowicz, 'Abakan trójczęściowy czarny' (1972), Biała Fabryka Museum, Łódź

Magdalena Abakanowicz, section detail: 'Abakan trójczęściowy czarny' (1972), Biała Fabryka Museum in Łódź

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