For the last 20 years publication Fukt Magazine has explored contemporary drawing. With a focus on visuals, with a couple of interviews thrown in the mix, the magazine sheds light on emerging artists of the day and significantly, has no ads. As its design and layout changes with each issue depending on the theme, Fukt’s latest issue, The System Issue, communicates its theme through a bespoke cover and a grid-breaking layout.
Delving into the innately human desire to create systems, Fukt’s 18th issue explores how artists interpret these systems in their work. Whether it’s a methodical set of rules that the artist follows for each artwork, or a specific schedule or structure followed throughout a creative process, the magazine burrows into a number of differing perspectives on the systems of drawing.
“During the years and through all the work we’ve done on previous issues, we have seen certain themes constantly recurring in different artistic practices,” the magazine’s editor Björn Hgardt tells It’s Nice That. So from issue 16 onwards, the Fukt team started to dig deeper into these mutual topics. With the Sex Issue on dirty drawing, followed by a Words then Written Drawings Issue, the team observed that “many artists are not only working with different kinds of systems, but also directly criticising one.”
Björn cites political drawings as an example of this, specifically, the way creatives can challenge the system of government through satire. Tackling this issue centre-stage in the magazine, is none other than the actor Jim Carrey, who is more often seen in Grinch attire come Christmas, or the cult classic The Truman Show. “We tried to get an interview with him,” says Björn on the time consuming process of getting in touch with Carrey’s manager, “but it was impossible as he was in the middle of shooting for a TV show.” Instead however, they wrote a text about his “blunt but really fantastic political cartoons”; an unquestionably fantastic addition to the magazine.
Other than Jim Carrey, The System Issue provides insight into a host of artists working around the theme of systems. Hanne Darboven – the godmother of systematic art thinking and making for instance – was a no-brainer for the editor. The same went for Georgia Lupi, an artist known for her hand-drawn data driven works, not to mention Bjarni H Thorarinsson, an Icelandic artist known for inventing a complex but peculiar system of thought known as visiology.
As well as 19th century drawings by a neurologist, cartoons poking fun at the art world and drawings created through dance, the magazine features a myriad of intriguing systems; both metaphorical and methodological. “We could have created an issue of 500 pages easily,” adds Björn on the extensive research, “we also found new artists through an open call and were surprised by the amount and the quality of the submissions.”
Embedded in a layout designed by Ariane Spanier that literally breaks the system, the bespoke cover takes the form of an interactive puzzle which can be rotated to either align or dissolve the systematically designed front cover. It cleverly embodies the overall notion of the publication, visually communicating how “systems are a tool for understanding the world.” Björn continues, “It isn’t ‘just a subject’ it is the core of what we are. Through systems, you can see and find, define, invent or criticise, you can align yourself to one or you can break one. It’s recognising patterns and trying to put logic into chaos. Setting up systems is mostly driven by the urge to become more free.”
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