In 1995 while studying at Ecole Supérieur des Arts Décoratifs de Strasbourg, Christian Gfeller (born 1973, Alsace) started publishing screen-printed graph'zines and artists' books under the moniker Bongoût (good taste).
Bongoût found it's roots in the french D.I.Y art punk scene and, together with an handful of people, also organised concerts, party's and performances in an old warehouse named Lactina in Kehl, across the Rhine from France. The location became cult with its first techno parties, noise concerts and art performances, as well as exhibitions. Christian's first screen-print studio was located in Lactina and beside zine and book making, he designed and printed posters for the events as well as record covers for the cult garage trash punk label Yakisakana Rcds. In 2000, FLTMSTPC in Paris published a polaroid book by Christian, where this vivid time at Lactina was well documented. During this period Christian also played in several local bands: Pitfall, Elcamino and The Cheeraks.
Christian Gfeller met Anna Hellsgård (born 1980, Stockholm) at a concert in Berlin on September 11th 2001.
After Anna's short art study at Konstskolan in Stockholm, she was eager to develop her photographic interest and become an assistant to a commercial photographer for 2 years. In the meantine Anna also was Dj-ing in several clubs and bars in Stockholm. A vague memory from 1991 of her first Berlin visit and her music interest draw her to move to Berlin in 2001. There she continued with her B/W photographs and shot hundreds of pictures during her first time in Berlin. When she met Christian, she got immediately drawn to the french underground scene and its subversive graphic art content. Whenever she visited Christian in Strasbourg she would help him with his printing at the Lactina studio.
In 2002 the couple moved to Bordeaux and built up a screen-print studio there. This is where they started to work full time together as an artist-duo, publishing their own zines, artist's books as well as designing gig posters and record covers. The year and a half in Bordeaux was very prolific and they grounded together a strong artistic direction and a unique style. Bongoût editions continued to grow there as well.The artist-duo produced over 40 screen-printed books in collaboration with other artists during this time.
In 2004 they decided to move back to Berlin, and relocated their studio to the Friedrichshain neighbourhood.
Over the years, the duo released over 200 screen-printed zines and artists' books, some by themselves and others in collaboration with artists from around the world: David Sandlin, Brent Wadden, Manuel Ocampo, Stéphane Blanquet, Jean-Louis Costes, Atak, Mathieu Desjardins, Arnaud Loumeau, Antoine Bernhart... They continued to design record covers, prints and gig posters for bands like Sonic Youth, Billy Childish, the Ex, Psychic TV, Pj Harvey, Nick Cave, Boredoms, Animal Collective, Wolf Eyes, Black Dice and many more. Alongside this they createdads and packaging for major brands like Converse, Camel, Sony Music, Playstation, Mazda, Vice and L&M.
In 2005, the duo started Mollusk magazine, a pot-pourri mixed media art quarterly. Following Mollusk magazine's success, the duo ventured into art book publishing and released several books, exhibition catalogues and monographs.
In 2007 the couple formed the electro-noise music project Preussisk Grävling Klubb and released an LP on Wwilko Records.
2008 saw the opening of "Bongoût Gallery", an art space in Berlin-Mitte. This on-going project is an extension of Gfeller + Hellsgård's art praxis, building bridges and blurring boundaries between mediums and artists, navigating from contemporary art to underground illustration, graphic design, outsider art or music. The space held solo and group exhibitions, presenting the work from international artists like Harmony Korine, Richard Kern, Damien Deroubaix, Manuel Ocampo, Stu Mead, Christoph Ruckhäberle, Gregory Jacobsen, Antoine Bernhart, Atak and Henning Wagenbreth.
In 2012, they decided to close the chapter Bongoût and their project was renamed Re:Surgo / In:Surgo! The space became a curated art space together with the screen-printing publishing. The same year the Library of the University of Minnesota acquired the complete Bongoût 1995 - 2012 publishing archive. In 2015, the Mediathèque André Malraux in Strasbourg acquired the entire Bongoût / Re:Surgo! publishing archive and the same year hosted a retrospective exhibition, celebrating the 20 year anniversary (1995 - 2015).
Since 2011, the duo have started to focus on producing unique art works under their own names "Gfeller + Hellsgård". The first series of works were 12 oversized unique abstract monoprint books, each one titled after a chapter of "Alice In Wonderland", and playing with the conceptual idea of Alice's labyrinthal mise-en-abîme. Represented by Booklyn Artists Alliance, each book was bought by different notorious public collections across the world: Standford University, The Librairy of Congress in Washington DC, The British Library, the Fine Art Museum of San Fransisco and the Bibliotheque Nationale du Luxembourg, to mention a few.
Since then, the artist duo have committed to rethink, deconstruct, reconstruct and stretch the limits of the screen-printing process through experimentation, working incessantly across diverse media, ranging from artist's books to monoprint, from installation to paintings. Complex to label in their fresh combination of punk minimalism / pop abstraction, handcraft / seriality, hybrid experiment and subtle Duchampian humour, Gfeller + Hellsgård are a very unique voice in the contemporary art scene.
In 2011, the duo builded up a screen print studio dedicated to the production of art prints in the location of the D.A.G.C gallery in Manilla, Philippines.
In 2014, the duo builded up another screen print studio dedicated to the production of art prints in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Die Praxis unseres künstlerischen Duos basiert zuerst auf dem Prozess ; das Bild liefert Antworten auf experimentelle Fragen.
Stets aufs Neue werden die Grenzen des virtuos beherrschten kreativen Druckprozesses überdacht, dekonstruiert und verschoben.
Mit unseren abstrakten Werken möchten wir Assoziationen wecken ; kleine Feinheiten, Details und subtile Aspekte der Vollkommen– oder Unvollkommenheit spielen dabei eine große Rolle. Wir verwenden Materialien wie Holz, Glas, Papier und Metall, angrenzend arbeiten wir auch an Alltagsobjekten wie Möbeln und architektonischen Elementen.
Neutrale und leuchtende Farben erzeugen ein ständig wandelndes Raumerlebnis und schaffen ungewohnte Kontraste. Für uns hängt dieses Erlebnis auch mit der Funktion eines Raumes zusammen. Mit unseren großen monumentalen Installationen und Werken möchten wir zeigen, wie man einen Ort bzw. Raum aktivieren kann, wie Material, Farbe und Raum dynamisch gestaltet werden können, um die Architektur wieder ins Gespräch zu bringen.