Karel Martens at Kunstverein München

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Artist: Karel Martens

Exhibition title: Motion

Venue: Kunstverein München, Munich, Germany

Date: February 4 – April 2, 2017

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist and Kunstverein München

Karel Martens has ten hands for every finger. He’s an artist, a typographer, a graphic designer, a bookmaker, and an educator. He co-founded a school. He’s synonymous with overprinting. He’s a method.

That said, Motion will be appropriately dexterous and tentacular – comprising an experiential exhibition of Martens’ work within a staircase and three rooms, extending outwards through a series of discursive events in Munich, Amsterdam, Paris, Vilnius, and New York, as well as a publication (co-published with Roma Publications, Amsterdam). Altogether, Motion will afford a compound view on an expansive practice, and chart a road map. Yet while all of that spans over 50 years of Martens inter-disciplinary activity, Motion will remain grounded firmly in the present (and future).

Of course, the exhibition will include some representative works – mono-prints of and on found materials, paper reliefs, videos, modular wallpapers, kinetic sculptures, a very early optical work. Consider all of that a contextual substrate that corroborates Marten’s responsive and systematic approach to color, format, type, and material. And his immense influence as an educator will also be centrally positioned within the exhibition, with a selection of publications by his former students displayed on tables Martens designed for the Werkplaats Typografie in Arnhem, NL (the school he co-founded in 1998). Consider all of that a demonstrative charting of influence. Yet the primary focus will be on Martens’ most recent work, with several new commissions – wallpaper made up of multicolored icons, interactive video projections, a massive abstract clock. These are being produced for the exhibition, while existing works are being specially reconfigured. It will be immersive – layered with color inversions over entire spaces, multiplied by real-time mirroring, and attuned with technique, systematic seriality, conceptual operations, and a multi-functional zone.

A tendency to reconfigure will also extend to the ambitious new publication Martens is producing with Julie Peeters, which will be available at the opening. Not for resale – a video comprising approximately 500 images – is being translated into a book form. The image sequences will follow the video’s pacing. Martens is also punctuating the images with new work and unrealized proposals. And all of it, thoroughly indexed.

The publication will also fuel an array of satellite events, which will begin in Munich and culminate in New York. Each event is being specifically tailored to the conditions of each venue, and to different

aspects of Martens’ practice – from Martens’ influence as an educator (4 February, Kunstverein München, Munich) to the reference material Martens collects and generates around his work (9 February, San Serriffe, Amsterdam), from the unrealized proposals Martens injected into his new publication (17 February, Section 7, Paris) to Martens’ accounting of past and most recent work (24 March, CAC Reading Room, Vilnius). All of this will culminate, openly, in a final event through which the entire Motion project may be discussed and extended, simultaneously (7 April, P!, New York).

In other words, Motion is not intended to display Martens’ practice, but instead to demonstrate his method.

Karel Martens (b. 1939, NL) lives and works in Amsterdam, Netherlands. He is an artist, educator, and graphic designer. He finished as a student at the Arnhem School of Art in 1961. Since then he has worked as an artist and as a freelance graphic designer, specializing in typography. Today he is recognized as one of the most influential practitioners in graphic design. Alongside this, he has always made free (non-commissioned) graphic and three-dimensional artwork. He has exhibited his work internationally, published widely, regularly receives major commissions, and has won numerous awards.

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Karel Martens, Mountain Wall, 2017, digitally printed wall installation created with thousands of multicoloured icons

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Mountain Wall, 2017, digitally printed wall installation created with thousands of multicoloured icons

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München; Karel Martens, Untitled, c. 1980s, Ink on paper; Karel Martens, Untitled, 1984, ink on found newsprint; Karel Martens, Telephone books for the district Arnhem 1978/1979, 1980, found and cut telephone books, newsprint, wood

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Clockworks, c. 2005 – ongoing, Collection of architectural models and kinetic sculptures using clock mechanisms combined with assorted found and printed materials, various dimensions

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Karel Martens, Clockworks, c. 2005 – ongoing, Collection of architectural models and kinetic sculptures using clock mechanisms combined with assorted found and printed materials, various dimensions

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Karel Martens, Clockworks, c. 2005 – ongoing, Collection of architectural models and kinetic sculptures using clock mechanisms combined with assorted found and printed materials, various dimensions

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Karel Martens, Clockworks, c. 2005 – ongoing, Collection of architectural models and kinetic sculptures using clock mechanisms combined with assorted found and printed materials, various dimensions

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Karel Martens, Clockworks, c. 2005 – ongoing, Collection of architectural models and kinetic sculptures using clock mechanisms combined with assorted found and printed materials, various dimensions

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Karel Martens, Clockworks, c. 2005 – ongoing, Collection of architectural models and kinetic sculptures using clock mechanisms combined with assorted found and printed materials, various dimensions

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Karel Martens, Clockworks, c. 2005 – ongoing, Collection of architectural models and kinetic sculptures using clock mechanisms combined with assorted found and printed materials, various dimensions

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Karel Martens, Clockworks, c. 2005 – ongoing, Collection of architectural models and kinetic sculptures using clock mechanisms combined with assorted found and printed materials, various dimensions

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Karel Martens, Clockworks, c. 2005 – ongoing, Collection of architectural models and kinetic sculptures using clock mechanisms combined with assorted found and printed materials, various dimensions

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Neckermann Flugreisen 1979, 1981, found newsprint (travel catalogue), wood

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Karel Martens, Neckermann Flugreisen 1979, 1981, found newsprint (travel catalogue), wood

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München; Karel Martens, Comic Book, 1982, found newsprint (comic sheets); Karel Martens, The Incredible Hulk, 1984, found newsprint (comic sheets)

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Karel Martens, Comic Book, 1982, found newsprint (comic sheets)

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 1986, found newsprint

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 1986, found newsprint

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Karel Martens, Untitled, c. 1980s, Ink on paper

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Karel Martens, Telephone books for the district Arnhem 1978/1979, 1980, found and cut telephone books, newsprint, wood

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, 50 labels with found objects, 2000, 50 labels with found metal objects, arranged in a grid of ten columns across and five rows

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München; Karel Martens, Untitled, 1964, silkscreen on glass; Karel Martens, TOL, 2008, video, color, no sound, 00:42 minutes. documentation of a site specific installation, at the Lemmer-Delfzijl waterway, implemented with Kees ’t Hart and commissioned by the provinces of Friesland and Groningen; Karel Martens, Not For Resale, 1997-2000, animated video, colour, sound, 4 minutes; Karel Martens, Lost and Found, 2004,video, colour, sound, 4:45 minutes.

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München, miscellaneous mono prints on found ledger cards

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München, miscellaneous mono prints on found ledger cards

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2014, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, c. 2010s, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2009, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2015, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2016, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2016, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2016, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2016, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, c. 1990, letterpress monoprint on envelope

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Karel Martens, Untitled, c. 2010, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, c. 2010, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2014, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, c. 2010, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2016, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2015, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, c. 2012, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, c. 2012, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2008, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, c. 1998, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2014, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2016, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, c. 2014, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2015, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2015, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2016, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 1990, letterpress monoprint on paper

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Karel Martens, Untitled, c. 2012, letterpress monoprint on chocolate package paper

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2006, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, c. 2010, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, c. 2010, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 1994, letterpress monoprint on found paper bag; Karel Martens, Untitled, c. 2010, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2008, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2012, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Untitled, 2016, letterpress monoprint on found ledger card

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München; OASE Journal for Architecture 28-97, 1990-ongoing

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München; OASE Journal for Architecture 28-97, 1990-ongoing

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München; OASE Journal for Architecture 28-97, 1990-ongoing

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München; OASE Journal for Architecture 28-97, 1990-ongoing

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München; OASE Journal for Architecture 28-97, 1990-ongoing

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Karel Martens, Motion, 2017, installation view, Kunstverein München

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Karel Martens, Three Times (in blue and orange), 2016/2017, painted acrylic, electronic timers, motors

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Karel Martens, Wedge, c. 2010, assorted handmade ceramic tiles, silkscreen printed in underglaze

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Karel Martens, Bars, c. 2010, assorted handmade ceramic tiles, silkscreen printed in underglaze

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Karel Martens, Wedge, c. 2010, assorted handmade ceramic tiles, silkscreen printed in underglaze

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Karel Martens, Hoog Keppel, 2006, video, color, sound, 3:15 minutes

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Karel Martens, Icon Viewer, 2015, software application, video sensor, scrolling controller, projector

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Karel Martens, Icon Viewer, 2015, software application, video sensor, scrolling controller, projector

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Karel Martens, Icon Viewer, 2015, software application, video sensor, scrolling controller, projector

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Karel Martens, Icon Viewer, 2015, software application, video sensor, scrolling controller, projector

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Karel Martens, Icon Viewer, 2015, software application, video sensor, scrolling controller, projector

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Karel Martens, Icon Viewer, 2015, software application, video sensor, scrolling controller, projector

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Karel Martens, Icon Viewer, 2015, software application, video sensor, scrolling controller, projector

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Karel Martens, Icon Viewer, 2015, software application, video sensor, scrolling controller, projector

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