March 10, 2020
Franz Parts Schule
A book by Michael Part and Constanze Schweiger with contributions by Kerstin Cmelka, Hannes Böck, Marina Gržinić, Ilse Lafer, and Simon Starling
The book Buch is published by Verlag für moderne Kunst
At the end of the 1980s Franz Part used a color photocopier from the camera shop in Waidhofen an der Thaya to make a full-sized image of Marcel Duchamp’s “Nu descendant un escalier no. 2” (1912) from a book. He compiled the laser copies into one image that he subsequently hung in the reception hall of the local gymnasium. At the same time, he placed a bottle drying rack which he had bought while on holiday in Munich on the wall next to the room where art classes were held.
Franz Part is an artist and formerly the head of the art department at the Bundesgymnasium and Bundesrealgymnasium in Waidhofen/Thaya (a school for ages 10 to 18), in the northernmost district capital in Austria, with about 5000 inhabitants. As the art teacher for the senior students, he designed his own art classes to be much like those at an art academy. There were required courses for studying art and art history, otherwise free independent work was called for. Projects could be chosen freely and were realized independently. If somebody could not make up their mind, they were advised by Franz Part, but seldom told what to do. Two hours per week were scheduled for art in the curriculum, however, workspace was made accessible outside the allotted times.
With the installation mentioned above, Franz Part immediately inspired his students to participate in the making of further reproductions. Step by step, more replicas of works by Duchamp followed, then by Man Ray and Joseph Beuys, and after a while the corridors and staircases of the school were filled with a kind of retrospective consisting of replicas and large numbers of copies of iconic artworks from the recent art history of that time. From school year to school year, the project grew into “The Museum of Replicas,” which both conformed to Franz Part’s concept for his own artwork and also introduced an up-to-date principle for art education: Starting with Duchamp’s idea of the readymade and other visions to have emerged in modern times, it was not the craftsmanship and techniques of the Old Masters that students learned to copy but an adherence to the conceptual and context-related approach of the art of the 20th century.
Franz Parts Schule
28 x 18.2 cm
numerous ills. in color und b/w
Verlag für moderne Kunst