Saturday, August 31, 2013

On Vesa-Pekka Rannikko's Art, Frame Publications, Finland, ed. 8000, 2011

An interesting example of the genre of exhibition-catalogue-as-accordion. This book includes an essay and interview by curator Laura Koonikka with Finnish artist Vesa-Pekka Rannikko about his work and more specifically the preparatory work he was doing for an installation in the Alvar Aalto pavilion for the Venice Biennale in 2011. Since the Aalto pavilion is a work of art in itself it became a bit confusing separating Rannikko's invovlement with the nature of the space and Aalto's involvement with the same as embodied in this structure. Indeed, one might understand this catalogue to be a dialogue about one work of art that was to be placed within another work of art, all of this overlayed with Rannikko's own aesthetic concerns that in itself involves his overpainting of anonymous works of art by amateur painters.

It could be worthwhile to explore further the history of accordion exhibition catalogues. From my experience as a curator they represent one of the most economical means of presenting a limited amount of didactic material in an easily accessible format. 18 pages (13' x 4.25") fully extended 6' 4.5".

Many thanks to Dave Dyment up in Toronto who is the founder of the really wonderful blog "Artists' Books and Multiples," who sent me this catalogue. Check out his site at: Artists' Books and Multiples

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Golden Cosmos, High Times, Nobrow Press, London, 2012

Another cool accordion from Nobrow press' concertina/accordion series. With its wraparound cover and potted history, this two-sided panorama is a skillfully illustrated and lively history of aviation.

10 pages at 9.25" x 5.5," and total width when open 4' 7."

Monday, August 5, 2013

Anne Carson, Nox, New Directions, New York, 2010

This substantial book comes in its own box and is a facsimile of a book Carson created after the death of her older brother in Cophehagen in 2000. Estranged from the family and having had minimal contact with Carson over the years the publication functions as both an elegy and memorial for her sibling. In its bulk and weight this book might also serve as a kind of headstone to the mystery of a brother she never really knew. 

A classics professor by profession Carson uses the left hand pages to list the dictionary definition of each word of Catullus' poem No. 101, which itself is an elegy he delivered for his own brother who died overseas. On the pages on the right side Carson has assembed her own notes, poems, essays, postcards & drawings coupled with photographs and scraps of letters from her brother. The title 'nox' is Latin for night and this book is definitely a search for some light into the life of her brother, and it would appear that through the act of bringing together all these pieces she had hoped that it would magically illuminate something about her brother's life, and perhaps also something of his own search for mearning in the meandering path that was his life. This book is also about the nature of grief and grieving, and how each of us comes to terms with the fact that someone is no longer with us.

It's also curious that Carlson chose the accordion format for this book, since the pages are essentially couplets that are most immediately in dialogue with each other, and no use is made of the extended format that is so intrinsic to the accordion format. 

Individual pages 8.25" x 5.25" and fully extended the 193 pages must give it the distinction of being one of the longest accordions on record at 84' 5.25." Here's a link to a particularly interesting examination of the book by Meghan O'Rouke in the New Yorker, July 12, 2010: The poet Anne Carson’s “Nox,” review : The New Yorker

Richard Avedon Portraits, Harry N. Abrams, Inc. and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2002

Book with slip cover and Avedon self-portrait (1980)

A wonderful catalogue for a show of Avedon's work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York from September 26, 2002 to January 5, 2003. One side includes a long essay by Maria Morris Hambourg (curator of the Met's Department of Photographs) and Mia Fineman. Also included is an insightful essay by Avedon himself. The other side of the accordion is taken up with 30 of the portraits that were in the show. This publication really utilizes the panoramic qualities inherent in the accordion format to create an expansive mini-exhibition of Avedon's powerful and always slightly disturbing portraits.

32 individual pages 10.5" x 8.5," and fully extended 24' 1"

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sophie Smallhorn, A Book of Postcards, Circle Press, London, ed. 1000, 1999

This vibrant series of 17 postcards is the first totally non-representational accordion I've come across. Smallhorn works in a variety of media and she states that "her work explores the relationships between colour, volume and proportion." Single card 6" x 4," fully extended 5' 6." To see how this accordion fits into her larger larger artistic practice check out her website: Sophie Smallhorn - Selected Works

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Hans Hess, Imaginary Cook Book, Redfox Press, 'Blue Fox Collection,' ed 75, 2007, Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland

Front with cover
Front with colophon information
Another beautiful double-sided silkscreened accordion from the Redfox Press' 'Blue Fox (accordion) Collection.' This is a wonderfully idiosyncratic cook book that leaves everything to the reader's imagination. The text is of no help since it's a totally abstracted language. About the artist, Hans Hess, I'm copying here his entry in the 'Mail Artists Index,' a project initiated by Birger Jesch and Lutz Wohlrab (Mail Artists Index): 

Hans Heß was born in Annaberg-Buchholz in 1951. After an apprenticeship as steel-relief engraver he attended evening courses at the College of Fine Arts in Dresden, branch Oederan, from 1973 to 1976. Subsequently, he studied metal design at the School of Industrial Design Burg Giebichenstein in Halle until 1981. Since 1982 he has been living in Schwarzenberg in Erzgebirge.

Since the late 1970s he has been active in the Mail Art movement, of which he had heard from the essay on Robert Rehfeldt written by Joachim Walther. Curios after reading about him, he wrote to Rehfeldt and thereby gained access to the network. He initiated a number of projects, the first one in 1990.
From 1991 to 1994 he was trained as an occupational therapist and has since worked in this profession.

Ten pages 6" x 4", extended 40," double-sided. For further information about Red Fox Press: ARTISTS' BOOKS by Francis Van Maele / Fan Mail / Antic-Ham .. redfoxpress, Dugort, Achill Island, County Mayo, Ireland

Victoria Lucas, Remedy, ed. 100, 2013

This is a really smart publication that consists of photographic documentation of seven blank billboards that line the road from Athens International airport to downtown Athens. The blank billboards serve as succinct metaphors for the shattered Greek economy and resonate at all sorts of levels with the more general crisis in Greek culture. The brochure accompanying this publication includes two essays by John Ledger and Billy Kontoulis that tease out different perspectives on these blank advertising spaces. The publication gets it's ironic title from the curious text atop the first billboard. Individual pages 8" x 5" and extended 35". For information about works and other projects by Victoria Lucas see: Victoria Lucas