Projekte / Kunst
An Artist Book Investigating Abstraction Today
Marking a symbolic hundred years since Malevich painted his iconic Black Square, this publication investigates how abstract art can still function as a disruptive, iconoclastic or radical practice. Engaging the format of a pastiche and integrating fictional elements within a theoretical framework, this book offers an experience of contextual abstraction, while using the specific case of abstract painting today to reflect on the role of narrative constructions in the art world.
2.726 €
2.500 € Fundingziel
Projekt erfolgreich


Finanzierungszeitraum 16.03.15 09:42 Uhr - 12.04.15 23:59 Uhr
Realisierungszeitraum publication date: 8 May 2015
Fundingziel erreicht 2.500 €
Stadt Berlin
Kategorie Kunst

Worum geht es in dem Projekt?

Abstract art

Malevich´s Black Square is turning 100 in 2015. This iconic example of "abstract art" is a point of reference for many artists up to this day and it still represents one of the most radical painting practices. What does its legacy consist of, and what do notions like "abstract art" or "abstraction" still mean for contemporary artists and viewers?

This question was the basis of an artistic research project that took place between 2011 and 2013 and was funded by the University of Antwerp and Sint Lucas University College of Art & Design Antwerp.

We are now presenting the artistic results of this project: a multilayered lecture performance and a book that both go by the title Personally I’m Most Interested in the Shapes and Colours.

This call for support will go towards the book's realisation, although the lecture performance brings to life what is shown and talked about in the book. We will organise a tour of the lecture performance as a way of presenting the book, starting in Belgium (Extra City, Antwerp (8 May 2015), CIAP, Hasselt (21 May 2015) and Croxhapox, Ghent (22 May 2015), and continuing in Germany. Further dates will be announced on our blog

The book

Title: Personally, I´m Most Interested in the Shapes and Colours
Publisher: MER. Paper Kunsthalle:
Language: English
ca. 260 pages
table of contents:

The book presents the work of six young artists: Sarah Bal, Marc Bergson, Anna Ernst, Alexej Miroschnitshenko, Stella Pinson and Jens Presser. Artist and curator Ludovik Vermeersch (also the editor of the book) wrote the book´s central essay, that puts their works in a broader framework and recounts the experiments he set up in order to increase their "performativity."

Over a period of two years, in a series of seven exhibitions, Vermeersch manipulated the narrative context around the six artists and their works, playing with stereotypes and conventions that often influence the way we look at artworks. As a reader, the more you get involved in the book, the more it reveals itself as a work of art in its own right. It offers you a particular aesthetic experience: that of never being completely sure of what is real and what is fictional, or what is serious and what ironical – an experience of "contextual abstraction," as Vermeersch himself has called it.

While offering an elaborate argument for such "contextual abstraction" as an artistic strategy, the book at times takes the form of a pastiche, exaggerating certain characteristics of our contemporary "art system." It particularly questions the way an artwork´s status can be determined by specific narratives and/or by the networks it is embedded in. In short, the project as a whole tries to reflect on how reality and fiction commingle in the individual viewer´s aesthetic experience.

An international group of academics and critics responded to Vermeersch´s challenging endeavour, as well as to the individual artists´ works. Alongside their essays and reviews, the six artists themselves also responded through texts of their own, in interviews, and, of course, through their own works.


Was sind die Ziele und wer ist die Zielgruppe?

The goal of this call for support is to cover the printing and publishing costs of this book.

The project features many different points of view, those of academics as well as critics and artists, but it aims to be entertaining and readable for anyone who has a general interest in art – and not just for a niche of specialists.

This project reaches out to anyone who is interested in art, and to anyone who has ever wondered why abstract art just doesn´t seem to die out.


Warum sollte jemand dieses Projekt unterstützen?

Pre-ordering the book will get you a discount. It will be more expensive if you purchase it in a bookshop after May 8, 2015.

By supporting this book, you not only help to realise a unique work of art that is the fruit of three years of collaborative work, you´re also getting involved in a project that doesn´t end with this publication. Between 2015 and 2016 we will be touring with the lecture performance to facilitate discussions and we´ll be sharing our findings and experiences with you online, through video clips and follow-up announcements.


Was passiert mit dem Geld bei erfolgreicher Finanzierung?

100 euros will go to transaction fees, while an estimate of about 400 euros may go to shipping costs.

The remaining 2000 euros we hope to raise will cover the remainder of our printing and publishing costs.

Whatever may be raised above that amount will go into the organisation of the book tour (and the lecture performance).

If we do not reach our goal of 2500 euros, your contributions will be entirely refunded to you by


Wer steht hinter dem Projekt?

The artists:

Sarah Bal
Marc Bergson
Anna Ernst
Aleksey Miroshnichenko
Stella Pinson
Jens Presser

For the artists´ biographies see

The editors of the book:

Ludovik Vermeersch is a visual artist, a writer and curator born in Belgium in 1962. In 1994 he brought a promising career as a painter to a halt when he stopped making art to focus on lecturing, writing, and travelling. In 2004, he took up art criticism, and gradually started preparing what he called his conceptual return to painting. He engaged in close collaborations with other artists, and developed a research-based method of recontextualising existing artworks. Concentrating on abstract paintings and their use and perception in contemporary art, his work consists mainly of designing specific narrative frameworks, that are characterised by a combination of serious scholarly work and absurd and playful interventions. He has written as a critic for numerous journals in the past. Most recently, his writing has been published in the Belgian art magazine Rekto Verso.

Zoë De Luca is an Australian writer and researcher with an MA in History of Art from University College London. She started her Phd programm at McGill University in Montreal, Canada in 2014. She has published on contemporary art from the Asia Pacific and has previously held curatorial positions at the Queensland Art Gallery | Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane, Australia. She is currently researching the history and potentialities of the voice and technology in performance as a place from which to reconsider ideas related to intersubjectivity, sexual difference, and posthumanism.

Emily G. Doucet is a writer and researcher from Winnipeg, Canada, who is currently working on her Phd in the History of Art at University of Toronto. She holds an MA in the History of Art from University College London. She has published on Canadian contemporary art and modernist architectural heritage, working with a variety of artist-run centres and cultural heritage organizations, including aceartinc and the Winnipeg Architectural Foundation. Her current research explores the boundaries between artistic practice and scientific investigation, highlighting the interdisciplinary products of curiosity and creativity. In 2014, she was awarded the postgraduate dissertation prize by the UK-based Association of Art Historians for her dissertation ‘Anticipating Machines Heavier than Air: Nadar, Photography, and the Objects of Technology’.


Kato Six holds an MA in graphic design and an MA in Fine Arts, both from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Ghent. As a visual artist, she contributed in many group exhibitions in Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany, and has recently had solo exhibitions at c-o-m-p-o-s-i-t-e, Brussels, Het Paviljoen, Ghent, P/////AKT, Amsterdam among others. In 2012, she was an artist in residence at Wiels in Brussels, and in 2014 she held a residency at Air Berlin Alexanderplatz.

Toon Leën is a visual artist, based in Berlin. He holds an MA in Fine Arts from Sint Lucas University College of Art & Design Antwerp. He founded the art space Kunstraum Ossastrasse in Berlin, that showcases exhibitions and events on an aperiodic basis. His artistic work ranges from documentary video-projects to painting and writing. He is the initiator and organiser of this project, which he started in 2011 as part of an artistic research project for the University of Antwerp.


Sarah Hayden is an Associate Lecturer at Goldsmiths College, University of London, and she lectures part-time at University College Cork. 

After completing her PhD in English and French from University College Cork in 2012, she spent 10 months as a DAAD Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Degenerate Art at the Freie Universität Berlin and 8 months working on an IRC New Foundations project on 'Marginalized Modernists' in Paris and Cork. In 2013-2014, she held an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Postdoctoral Fellowship at the School of English in UCC. She is currently completing her monograph Curious Disciplines: Mina Loy and Avant-Garde Artisthood for the 'Recencies' series at University of New Mexico Press.

Marc Holthof is a Belgian critic. Currently an editor for the Belgian art journal Hart and a journalist for the newspaper De Tijd, he has contributed to numerous Flemish cultural magazines over the past three decades, including De Witte Raaf, Rekto Verso and the former Tijd Cultuur. He was an editor and writer for the film and media journal Andere Sinema until it merged with the London-based journal Afterall. A collection of his essays on media and culture were published under the title De digitale badplaats (Van Halewijck, Leuven, 1995). Together with Jan Blommaert, Eric Corijn, and Dieter Lesage, he was a contributing author to the anthology Populisme (Epo, 2004).

Kristof van Baarle graduated with a Master‘s in theatre studies from Ghent University in 2011 with a thesis on the problematic position of language in the work of Romeo Castellucci and Kris Verdonck. He has been working as a dramaturge and an assistant director for Kris Verdonck since 2012. In 2013, he began his doctoral research on posthumanism and posthuman figures in the performances and installations of Kris Verdonck as an FWO-scholar at Ghent University.

Charlotte Van Buylaere is a freelance curator and art manager based in Antwerp (BE). She holds an M.A. Art History from the University of Ghent (BE). Van Buylaere is curatorial assistant to Niels Van Tomme at the Bucharest Biennale 7 and general manager at Renzo Martens Human Activities in Amsterdam. She is curator at the video art organisation ‘PORT ACTIF’ and the off space ‘These Things Take Time’ in Ghent.

Pieter Vermeulen is an independent curator and researcher, based in Antwerp, Belgium. He studied Philosophy and Cultural Studies and held a position of guest professor in Philosophy and Philosophy of Art at University College Ghent – Faculty of Music and Faculty of Fine Arts (KASK). He is currently course director and lecturer at the Master of Research in Art & Design at St Lucas University College in Antwerp and research assistant at Ghent University (S:PAM - Studies in Performing Arts & Media). As a curator, he set up several exhibition projects such as Fantastic Illusions (MOCA Shanghai/Buda Kortrijk, 2009), Resonance (Bund18/World Expo 2010 - Belgian Pavilion, Shanghai), Uncommonplaces (Extra City Antwerp, 2011), Façades (BE-PART Waregem, 2012), Perpetual Travellers (SAVVY Contemporary, Berlin, 2013), Wild Horses & Trojan Dreams (Marres House for Contemporary Culture, Maastricht, 2013) and The Ship of Fools (Museum of Post- Digital Cultures, 2014). He works as an editor for the contemporary art magazine this is tomorrow and is a regular contributor for DAMn° magazine.

Erik Porath studied philosophy, history, pedagogy, and art in Hamburg. Working in cultural and media studies , he was a scholar at the Zentrum für Literatur- und Kulturforschung Berlin from 2001 to 2010. His doctoral dissertation, undertaken at the University of Basel, was published in 2005 under the title Gedächtnis des Unerinnerbaren. Philosophische und medientheoretische Untersuchungen zur Freudschen Psychoanalyse (Transcript Verlag, Bielefeld). His recent publications as coeditor include Arbeit in der Psychoanalyse (Transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2012), Figuren des Ausdrucks. Formation einer Wissenskategorie zwischen 1700 und 1850 (Wilhelm Fink Verlag, München, 2012), Ränder der Enzyklopädie (Merve Verlag Berlin. 2012) and Kinästhetik und Kommunikation, Ränder und Interferenzen des Ausdrucks (Kulturverlag Kadmos, Berlin 2013).

Stefan Römer is an artist and writer. His work is exhibited internationally and he worked as a critic for numerous magazines, he was a researcher at the Kunsthochschule für Medien Köln between 1999 and 2002, a professor for new media at the Akademie der Bildenden Künste München from 2003 until 2009. Later on he taught at Berlin University of the Arts. Currently, he teaches at Akademie der Bildenden Künste Nuremberg. His dissertation from Humboldt Universität in 1998 was published as Künstlerische Strategien des Fake – Kritik von Original und Fälschung (DuMont, Köln) in 2001. More recent publications include The ups and downs of Stan Back (Textem Verlag, 2013) and Inter-esse (Merve Verlag Berlin, 2014).

Rahel Schrohe is a graduate student of Art and Visual Studies at Humboldt University Berlin. She is currently writing her master’s thesis about visual strategies in Astrophysics, concentrating on images of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field. Her scientific interests focus on image theory and contemporary art (primarily installation and video art). During her studies she spent two semesters at the University of Basel and one semester at the Fine Arts Department of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where she assisted two professors in their research, teaching and artistic work. Since 2011, Schrohe has been working as a student assistant at the research project The Technical Image, which was founded by Horst Bredekamp as part of the Hermann von Helmholtz Center for Cultural Techniques at Humboldt University.

Yulia Seghers holds an MA in History of Art from Hamburg University. She is currently finishing her master´s degree in Law at Freie Universität Berlin.

Martin Steffens is director of the arts festival 48 Stunden Neukölln, and president of Kunstverein Neukölln e.V., both in Berlin. He wrote his dissertation in the History of Art at the Freie Universität Berlin on nineteenth century memorial places for Martin Luther, published in 2008 as Luthergedenkstätten im 19. Jahrhundert (Schnell & Steiner). Other publications include Schinkel: Ein Baumeister im Dienste der Schönheit (Taschen, 2001). He has been organising and curating numerous exhibitions of contemporary art since 2006.

Radoslaw Kosiada is a Polish art historian and sociologist. He works as an independent critic in the field of visual studies examining social and political agendas. He participated in several art projects including the 7th Berlin Biennale, Ostrale 011 in Dresden, and worked at the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle in Warsaw. Kosiada works and lives in Berlin.


The research project that lies at the basis of this book has been made possible by the support of
University of Antwerp
Sint Lucas University College of Art & Design, Antwerp

Toon Leën
Karl-Marx Str. 237
12055 Berlin Germany

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