In 2014, Erik Kessels’ father suffered a stroke and has since been barely able to speak or move. Prior to this, he was extremely active. His projects included restoring examples of the iconic Fiat 500 or “Topolino”. Before his stroke, he had completed four such restorations and was working on a fifth, the half-finished carapace of which remains at his home. With the Unifinished Father project Erik Kessels plans to transport this last Topolino to Reggio Emilia and show it alongside the images his father made to document his restoration. For the artist, this work is about a man who, like his vehicle will never be complete destined to forever remain unfinished. Simultaneously, Topolino is the reverse of his father’s philosophy in life: he was a man who didn’t like to leave things unfinished, who saw them to their end. While films and stories teach us that endings are neat (and often happy), the truth is that everything ends abruptly, more or less unfinished. No matter how carefully we plan and how precisely we those plans are executed, there is never a guarantee of reaching the desired conclusion. We can thus attempt to control our circumstances, but in the end they control us.
About the Artist
Erik Kessels (1966) is a Dutch artist, designer and curator with a particular interest in photography, and creative director of KesselsKramer, an advertising agency in Amsterdam. Kessels and Johan Kramer established the “legendary and unorthodox” KesselsKramer in 1996, and KesselsKramer Publishing, their Amsterdam-based publishing house, both of which they continue to run. He is “best known as a book publisher specialising in absurdist found photography”, extensively publishing his and others’ found and vernacular photography. Notable works include the long-running series Useful Photography, which he edits with others, and his own In Almost Every Picture. Sean O’Hagan, writing in The Guardian, said “His magazine, Useful Photography, forgoes art and documentary for images that are purely functional. … Humour is the unifying undercurrent here as it is in KesselsKramer’s series of photo books, In Almost Every Picture”.
About the Publisher
RVB Books is both an independent publisher dedicated to designing and printing unique fine arts books and a gallery featuring exhibitions on new editorial practices.