Pieter Engels

Project ‘Owlglass’


Pieter Engels
Project ‘Owlglass’, 1975-1977
8 posters, folded as issued, nr. 1, 3, 4 and, Project ‘Owlglass,’ are double-sided + 2 out of 8 envelopes for the folded posters with address labels, 4 out of the 8 accompanying cards. Self-published, Amsterdam. posters: 10.25 x 10.25 in / 27 x 27 cm folded and 30 3/4 x 20 1/2 in / 78 x 52 cm open


$ 600.00

Beginning in the 1960s, Dutch artist Pieter Engels (1938-2019) made conceptual work in which he ironically deflated the seriousness of the art world. His projects reflected a questioning of the value of art, its commercialization and the genius of the artist. In 1976, Engels & Es, his fictional publicist/alter ego, founded BAMM: Brain-squad against mass-communication and mediocrity. One of BAM's most important projects was ‘Owlglass,’ a series of eight poster-sized prints, whose text and imagery mock conceptual and minimalist artists, critics and the art audience. 

The posters were each published in an edition of 1,000, folded and sent around the world by the Worldwide Wandering Gallery. All sent copies included a card that the recipient could return with a response or a request to receive a signed copy for $100. In this project, Engels abolished the dogmatics of conceptual art, which he described as 'mediocre', 'sleep-inducing', 'academic' and 'visually unstimulating.’ Several works of art were also made from this poster series, which Engels simultaneously exhibited in the Amsterdam gallery Kornblit.

The Posters
Project ‘Owlglass’ the first show of Simon Es / works about Engels (the Rolls-Royce amongst artists) 
Black print on white poster stock. Galerie Yaki Kornblit, Amsterdam. Exhibition announcement on one side; other side shows 2 artworks.

Nr. 1
Project ‘Owlglass’: Temporary Event 
Black print on white poster stock. The main image involves a torn fragment entitled 'Temporary Event 1976' that states 'The average conceptual art is the main reason of the present day, spiritual inflation in modern art because it is academical/boring/similar and rarely visual (like this piece). ENGELS (the Rolls-Royce amongst artists). This plate addresses appearances in current conceptual art, which Engels considers mediocre, stereotypical, not expressive and sleep-inducing

Nr. 2
Project ‘Owlglass’: Event of repetition / A critic in his time
Black and gold print on white poster stock. The image is an artwork by Engels. The text plate takes jab at art critics and art dealers, who despite a certain complacency or bias, always turn out to be just average viewers/ supporting artwork. simon es / Engels A golden bard amongst artist or a disturber of the balance of mediocrity.

Nr. 3
Project ‘Owlglass’: Egnels A Magician Amongst Artists or A Loner Without A Claque
Black and gold print on white poster stock. Recto is an image of Engels in a magician's top hat. The image is a symbolic plea for the non-conformist among those artists who, because of their mentality, go through life (art) alone and perhaps because of that pure.   

Nr. 4
Project ‘Owlglass’: A Rose Amongst An Artificial Bouquet Of Fading Artists
Black print on white poster stock. Recto is image of Engels with a rose and a metal mask which reads 'a rose amongst (an artificial bouquet of) fading artists. The impact of art is unchangeable.

Nr. 5
Project ‘Owlglass’: Karl Marx
Black print on white poster stock. On the image of the shoes is printed 'down with mediocrity' (on the heels). The text is poking fun at those who interpret democracy only in terms of the material. Down with mass-communication / Down with mediocrity.

Nr. 6
Project ‘Owlglass’: Duchamp
Black and gold print on white poster stock. The name 'Duchamp' is printed in black alongside Engels’ signature. The text image is a symbolic obliteration of a big name, which continues to infiltrate an artist through established art authorities, moreover, an artist who has become wrapped up with academies / every artist ‚ by definition vain ‚ needs to see himself as great, if he is to continue to find his drive to start again and again.

Nr. 7
Project ‘Owlglass’: Engels & Es The Best Artists Of Holland Since Mondrian Jansen
Black print on white poster stock. The image is of Engels' distorted canvas artworks. The poster advertises a fictional retrospective exhibition by Engels at MoMA New York, 'On the long run and anytime Holland 'delivers' the best artists of the world. The joking text is to those who, as in every present time, are not aware of an art in their time and often propagate a contemporary academism unconsciously and are sensitive to all kinds of machinations of a mostly commercial art trade. Again, designed to encourage the non-conformist in his contradictory activities and who is careful not to be labeled.

Nr. 8
Project ‘Owlglass’: Enge& Es Mind Shares
Black print on white poster stock. The text image is a gesture towards those who buy art as a material investment.