Saturday, January 17, 2015

Anders Nilsen, Rage of Poseidon, Montreal: Drawn and Quarterly, 2013

Poseidon was one of the twelve Olympian gods from Greek mythology and he was called the "God of the Sea." In this book he returns to our contemporary world and through a mix of mythology and his experiences in the present, he explores all the philosophical questions that were relevant in his 'previous' life. Other characters and stories from mythology appear also in the 7 chapters that make up this book, including Leda and the Swan, Prometheus, Jesus and Aphrodite. Drawn by the writer in sparse black and white drawings and combined with handwritten text under each work, this is a curiously compelling and humorous philosophical meditation located somewhere between the age of Greek mythology and our own contemporary time.

Individual pages 9"(h) x 7"(w), the books' 72 pages extend to 42ft. 

Friday, January 9, 2015

Patrick Lombe, Placenta Popeye, Marseille: Le Dernier Cri, 2007 [200 copies, with CD]

Another wild double-sided accordion from the French publishing house Le Dernier Cri. Patrick Lombe is a Marseille based artist and musician. This 5 color silk screened book is comprised of 3 accordions of varying sizes. There's a CD that comes with this book but I was unable to get it to play as it had paint and various glues all over it! However, from an internet search Lombe's music sounds like its totally experimental and probably would be classified as 'musique concrete', that is composed of experimental sounds and put through various different electronic boxes.

Two of the larger accordions are 10 pages, with each page 8.25" (h) and 6" (w) and extended a total length of 30". 
Front cover (right) and back cover (left)

Monday, January 5, 2015

Sarah Robbins, The King is Dead, 2012

A 2 layer screen printed double-sided accordion. The title is an homage to The Decemberists' album of the same name. There is also some evidence that this title itself may be an homage to The Smiths 1986 album the Queen is Dead. The album reached #1 on the US Billboard 200 in February, 2011. [credits wikipedia]

I think of this 'book' as more of a long print that's been folded into the accordion style. The print stretches out to reveal a panoramic image that is at once sophisticated, humorous and naive. On the back there is sparse imagery but what is there spells out the title of the work coupled with a caricature of a king. All in all a curiously appealing piece with an extra tactile element being the good paper its printed on.

Sixteen pages, each 8.5" (h) by 6" (w), extended 4'.

Sury, Caroline, Sex Tonic Avec Animaux, Collection Sandwich #1, Marseille: Le Dernier Cri, 1996 (150 copies)

Another incomparable publication by the French artist/illustrator Caroline Sury who with her partner Pakito Bolino run the cool publishing house Le Dernier Cri. This publication is part of that project and from a series of accordion publications they did under the 'Sandwich' series. In this double-sided accordion Sury illustrates a slurry of taboo imagery and sexual activity in which animals, for the most part, serve as voyeurs of the unfolding activities. For more information about Le Dernier Cri:

Fourteen double-sided pages at 4 5/8" (h) by 4 6/8" (w), fully open 2' 9 2/8".

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Mateo, Jose Manuel & Javier Martinez Pedro, Migrant, New York: Abrams, 2011

A fascinating double-sided accordion, one side in English and the other in Spanish. Conceived as a children's book the subject is the migrant's journey from Mexico to the USA and the perils of this journey north on the network of Mexican trains, colloquially known as La Bestia (The Beast). Written from the perspective of a young Mexican boy who describes his life in the village and the gradual depopulation of his community as the inhabitants head north in search of work leaving only women and children behind. Since his mother is forbidden by their landowner to work their patch of land and unable to find decent work locally she and her son and daughter make the journey north. The boy describes the journey and the dangers they face and their successful arrival in Los Angeles where they are confronted with a host of new difficulties, but at least they have work.

The combination of the text (Jose Manuel Mateo) and the wonderful drawings (Javier Martinez Pedro) really brings alive the myriad issues related to why Mexicans, and children in particular, are forced to undertake this perilous journey North. Interestingly, Javier Martinez Pedro at one time illegally migrated to the USA and thus his drawings are imbued with the first hand knowledge of the trip that hundreds of thousands of Mexicans and others have taken. This book should be required reading for children and adults alike!

Page size: 6.25" (h) x 12.5" (w), fully extended 5' 2.5".  Price very reasonably at $17.95.