Monday, May 7, 2012

Derek Sullivan, Albatross Omnibus (exhibition catalogue), The Power Plant Contemporary Art Gallery, 24 Sept. - 20 Nov., Toronto, Canada, 2011

Albatross Omnibus is a fascinating catalogue/artists' book for Derek Sullivan's 2011 exhibition at Toronto's, Power Plant. On one side of this 26 ft long double-sided accordion are reproductions of his artworks and images of the gallery's accordion shaped walls on which they were hung, and on the other side are the titles of the artists' books that Sullivan made for this exhibition. Situated somewhere between catalogue, artists' book & printed matter exhibition, this publication plays a number of games that comment on aspects of the book as well as the context of the exhibition — the original and its simulation, the spaces & shapes of display, texts and reading, context and framing, and the influence of historical antecedents. 

In the original exhibition the first room was dissected by an accordion shaped wall with works on both sides. In the second room 52 limited edition artists' books were hanging from the ceiling accompanied by stepladders available for viewers to have a closer 'reading' of the books. Over the course of 52 days Sullivan made each book available for sale in the gallery's bookshop for one day only, and unsold copies were withdrawn from sale at the end of the day. 

This publication comes in a slip case with a small brochure of texts by Gregory Burke, AA Bronson and Kathleen Ritter. Burke's and Ritter's writings are particularly useful in opening up Sullivan's rich vein of inquiry. There's also a very interesting interview with Sullivan, and a discussion of Albatross Omnibus, by Saelan Twerdy in C Magazine (Canada), #113, July, 2012. Individual page size: 9 1/4" x 6", 26ft fully extended.

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