Waldemar Cordeiro & Franz Mon

February 24–March 27, 2011

MINI/Goethe-Institut Curatorial Residencies Ludlow 38 is pleased to announce Waldemar Cordeiro & Franz Mon, the first exhibition at its newly designed exhibition space on New York’s Lower East Side. Devised by New York based artist Martin Beck and architect Ken Saylor, the new space design consists of a series of functional interventions calling into question larger issues of context, scale, institutional identity and conventions of display. A new graphic design concept for the space has been developed in collaboration with H I T (Annette Lux & Lina Grumm). Tobi Maier is curating the program for 2011, with several other curatorial residents coming to take helm at Ludlow 38 over the following years.

The exhibition at Ludlow 38 presents selected works from two pioneers of concrete art and poetry, Waldemar Cordeiro (1925-1973) from Brazil and Franz Mon (*1926) from Germany. The exhibited pieces reach from the mid-1960’s to the present and combine sculpture, collage, and computer printouts with typewriter text and sound work. With a mutual interest in the deconstruction of the photographic image, language and typography, the work of both artists oftentimes follows rigid concepts. Attributes of Concrete Art such as the structural focus on materials and processes, the appropriation of constructivist language, and the search for the general reduction of expressive means emanate from their practice. Logic and rationality became a founding principle of The Ruptura Group, which Cordeiro was involved with in the São Paulo of the 1950’s. Similar characteristics can also be found in the work of Mon who says that “Concrete Poetry for me is poetry of principles, there is a principle you invent and then you carry that through, whatever happens.” Differences and analogies epitomize the engaged and experimental approach to art that reflects the two artists’ interest in the development of technology, politics, and civil society during the second half of the 20th and the early 21st centuries.

Waldemar Cordeiro was a visual artist, computer programmer and landscape designer. He exhibited in several São Paulo Biennials from 1951 through 1975 and participated in the New Tendencies exhibitions in Zagreb (1965, 1968), when he began dedicating himself to so-called Computer Art. Recent exhibitions include Constructive Spirit: Abstract Art in South and North America, 1920s-50s at the Newark Museum (2010) as well as a solo show at Centro Universitário Maria Antônia, São Paulo in 2002.

Franz Mon has been working as visual artist, writer and producer of audio plays for radio stations HR, WDR, ORF Vienna and Radio Stockholm. Together with Dietrich Mahlow he conceived the exhibition Schrift und Bild at Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Kunsthalle Baden-Baden (1963), in the context of which he founded Typos publishers. His visual work has been shown in many exhibitions, among them the 1970 Venice Biennial and most recently in a retrospective at Haus Konstruktiv in Zurich (2010).

On the occasion of the exhibition a publication will be launched during Armory Fair week. Published in collaboration with Spector Books (Leipzig) and designed by H I T (Berlin/London), this volume features a translation of The Ruptura Group manifest (1952) as well as Franz Mon’s About concrete poetry (1969) and contributions by Adele Nelson, Margit Rosen, Luis Perez-Oramas, Cecilia Grönberg and Jonas (J) Magnusson, and Tobi Maier.

Curated by Tobi Maier