Fukt is a magazine, based in Berlin, dedicated to contemporary drawing. Overseen, since 2001 by editor Björn Hegardt, it is a visual celebration of the medium and has featured the likes of David Shrigley, Keith Haring, Tracey Emin, Louise Bourgeois and William Kentridge alongside new and exciting artists over its span of 16 issues.
Meaning moist or damp in Norwegian, the name was chosen as a contrast to the magazine’s content of drawing on paper. “Obviously the English meaning is also wanted, but Fukt is actually pronounced more like ‘fookt’,” Björn explained to us. The magazine aims to present the most interesting artists out there whilst being a platform for contemporary drawing – they occasionally feature comic artists and illustrators as well – without any ads so that the focus remains on the work.
Björn, who was raised in Sweden but studied fine art in Trondheim, Norway, started Fukt alongside Swedish comic artist Nina Hemmingsson as way to provide a publication that focussed on drawing, something they had been unable to find anywhere else. “This was before Vitamin D from Phaidon and other similar compilations came out,” he explained. Since 2006, Björn has been the sole editor, supported by a small team including graphic designer Ariane Spanier and assistant Stephie Becker. The magazine has evolved a great deal over the years, experimenting with different formats and designs in an attempt to create “a magazine we would love to read and look at.”
Issue 16 entitled The Sex Issue, features the work of “23 artistic positions focusing on erotic contemporary drawing.” Previously, the publication was less theme based, instead striving to find an eclectic mix of expressions and techniques within the medium, with a focus on the artistic practice of the individual artists. However, with issue 16 Björn told us how “subconsciously this theme had always been there, and there came a moment where we decided ‘it’s enough, we have to do something about it’ and make a whole issue about erotic drawings.”
Since 2006, Ariane Spanier has been spearheading the design of Fukt, constantly pushing its aesthetic in a new direction and the concept for issue 16’s cover was very much her vision. It materialised from the notion that “so much of sex is about hiding, about not showing all at once, guessing, not knowing for sure,” and so what could work better than a mask that references the fetish world? The eyes and mouth are cut out so as to reveal the letters of Fukt peeking through and the cover itself hides David Shrigley’s humorous but referential remark “it’s time for sex.”
The magazine is always an amalgamation of work, usually finished works that the team feel fit the issue. Only on rare occasions to they ask artists to make something new. “The goal is to show the drawings artists make in their studios, without having them commissioned. We are interested to get a glimpse of their practice, and quite often we present several drawings from each contributor,” Björn told us. These drawings are sometimes accompanied by interviews or photos from the artist’s working process, however, the publication is a largely visual one.
Over the past few years Björn has worked hard at striking a balance between established and more emerging artists as, for them, the more unknown names are very important – they allow their audience to actually discover something new. However, they have their favourites – David Shrigley, Louise Bourgeois, Raymond Pettibon and William Kentridge have contributed to several issues. In these instances, they are often in direct contact with the studio of the artist but sometimes it’s a gallery or even, in the case of Keith Haring, a foundation.
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