Freigeist was a popular concept within 18th Century German literature and journalism. It was used to describe those who believed that thinking should not be constrained by certain fundamental and non-contestable values, traditional ideas and established channels of distribution. The concept of the “free-spirit” and of free-thinking is also a recurring theme within Nietzsche’s own philosophy. Although, at first glance, the Freigeist concept may appear as lacking complexity, Nietzsche found a philosophical significance within it. To him, it was more than an invocation towards individuality and the subversion of expectation but the search for and liberation of a spirit. In this third issue of Freigeist, conceptualised, designed and edited by Richard Baird and published by BP&O, the search for that spirit continues in the form of a lecture-turned-zine. This lecture was delivered to the Falmouth MA Graphic Design program in 2020 and will again be presented as part of an online event on Tuesday 11th August. Tickets are available now on Eventbrite and order the zine here.
Text by Richard Baird.
The White Rabbit Collection is a contemporary arts publication showcasing the work of 99 artists drawn from the White Rabbit, a contemporary art museum, gallery and archive in Sydney. The museum has become one of the world’s most significant collections of Chinese contemporary art, with over 2000 works from 700 artists. Through this new publication, designed by Australia design studio Toko and commissioned by Judith Neilson, the museum seeks to represent the breadth and depth of its collection.
Inspired by the Little Red Book (Quotations from Chairman Mao Tse-tung) the publication is marked by a bright red clamshell box with a unique typographical gesture, and three books of 33 artists each with its own unique cover art. Together, box and books form a print run of 2475 individual variations, with each boxset being a unique piece and a invitation to discover the social and artistic changes of twenty-first century China.
Text by Richard Baird.
Erik Berglin is Stockholm-based contemporary artist. His work is flows from his understanding that some people find the art gallery uninviting and uncomfortable, and the artworks displayed as requiring insight to really appreciate. He himself has said that he dislikes 90% of the exhibitions he visits but adores the 10%. This clearly informs his work, which often brings the unexpected into the urban space or uses modern technologies to subvert the familiar. There is a beauty and playfulness to his work, an appealing aesthetic, but also an idea, an aha moment, for those that want to look deeper.
Beauty and the unexpected are central to Berglin’s The Bird Project. Over the last twelve years, having studied birds from antique books by the likes of J.J Audubon, the artist scanned pages from ornithology resources found in antiquarian bookshops and libraries and printed birds out at their actual size. He spent time with a scalpel and scissors carefully cutting these out and then wheat-pasted them in urban contexts around the world, documenting these as he went. From start to finish, a total of 4982 birds were wheat-pasted in twelve cities over five continents. These have been brought together in a new book, ‘The Bird Project 2006-2017’ designed by Lundgren+Lindqvist and published by ll’Editions. This is a 208 page hard back book 207×280mm in size. It features 101 plates printed using a process that substituted regular CMYK colours of the offset printing process with fluorescent alternatives. The book is also available as a special edition of 30 copies, which were divided into three sets of ten books. Each is presented in fluorescent acrylic glass slipcase with an inkjet print, signed and numbered by the artist.