Creative Catalyst

Creative Catalyst

Parkett stood out for its close collaboration with featured artists – both established and emerging – before the contemporary art magazine’s ultimate demise in 2017 after a three-decade run, one of many print victims of the digital age. The contributors, at first just one per issue and later four, would be involved in choosing who wrote the Zurich- and New York-based publication, laying it out and designing the spines, which formed images when several issues were lined up against one another. They also created a special insert and a limited edition piece. 

Parkett, which has morphed into a publisher and online platform, is now opening the doors to the small museum of contemporary art amalgamated by the rarely seen creations of the more than 270 artists once featured within its pages. The evolution of photography is on display with contrasting works such as an analog Gilbert & George self-portrait from 1987 and another printed digitally on stretched rubber by Ed Atkins, Safe Conduct Epidermal (2016). There is a series of four images of skeletons sewn together, one of Andy Warhol’s last projects before his death, and It’s Free from Now on (1969), the only photograph Richard Prince took at the Woodstock music festival when he was just 19 years old.

The scale of the works varies as much as the subject matter. There are partial Polaroid self-portraits Tracey Emin snapped over the course of a single day in 2001, Christian Boltanski’s miniature 5×8 booklet El Caso (1989) and Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s three-by-seven-metre monochrome silkscreen of sand tossed by footprints, creating an abstract landscape of sorts. Bruce Nauman, Sturtevant and Mika Rottenberg contributed video displays, along with special projects by Anne Collier, Rokni Haerizadeh and Lou Reed. Some of the works are hung on walls covered with paint splatter in vivid hues courtesy Shirana Shahbazi. Miniature prints of Hiroshi Sugimoto’s Day & Night Seascapes (1990-1996) are placed in traditional Japanese paulownia wood boxes lined in delicate rice paper. Long after the ink has dried, these works serve as a testament to a catalyst of creative thought and change that is now a thing of the past.

Olivia Hampton

PHOTO: The First Survey of All Photographic Works Made by Artists for Parkett since 1984. Parkett Space. Zurich, Switzerland. Until 31 August. Find out more here.

1. Thomas Demand,
Gangway, 2001, Lambda print, diasec on black acrylic glass with attachable chromium-plate stand, 8 1/4 x 10 x 1/5” (25 x 20,8 x 1,2 cm), Ed. 75/XX, signed and numbered certificate.