An archive of my ever expanding book and print collection

Month: June, 2012

Yoko Ono – Serpentine Gallery Exhibition

Last night was the private view for Yoko Ono’s exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery in London, her first exhibition in London for more than 10 years. Prior to the opening, Ono sat down with art critic Waldemar Januszczak for a Q&A session in the pavillion that drew a large crowd. Afterwards, the gallery was opened and crowds queued all night to get a look at the exhibition.

The exhibition includes both new and previously exhibited works; outside the gallery, Yoko has installed Wish Tree where visitors are asked to write down their wishes, ask a friend to do the same and then tie them to the trees. Yoko Ono has been collecting these wishes for over 15 years and now has over one million. Inside, there are numerous films and installations, including the infamous Ceiling Painting that has become a symbol for John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s first meeting. In the central atrium a perspex maze turns the viewer into the observed object and a wall of screens show iconic films from throughout her career.

Central to the exhibition, and perhaps Ono’s grandest project to date, is Smile; an international project that asks people to upload geotagged images of themselves smiling which are then turned in to a film. You can find out about uploading your smile and being part of the project here.


Stephen Gill – Buried Prints

London-based photographer Stephen Gill recently moved studios, and to make the job a bit easier, had an open day where he sold many of his books and prints. We managed to pick up two unique and original prints from his Buried project; I still kick myself to this day for being too slow in buying the book he created for the project so these more than make up for it! Those that know Gill’s work, or have seen previous posts on my Gill collection, will know that physical interventions and manual manipulation of the image are often central to his process.

For this project, Gill explored and documented Hackney Wick, an area that is now rapidly changing and disappearing due to the building of the Olympic site. Once the images were printed, they were then returned to Hackney Wick where Gill buried them in numerous locations.  The photographs were then left for varying amounts of time, depending on rainfall, and developed a unique patina depending on how they were buried (i.e facing each other, back to back, on their own). In this way, the link between the image and the location was cemented, Gill says “Not knowing what an image would look like once it was dug up introduced an element of chance and surprise which I found appealing. This feeling of letting go and in a way collaborating with place – allowing it also to work on putting the finishing touches to a picture – felt fair. Maybe the spirit of the place can also make its mark”

Visionaire 59 – Fairytale

For issue 59, Visionaire collaborated with Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin to create a mini library of childrens books entitled Fairytale. Together, they recruited and paired up artists from music (Bjork), fashion (Viktor & Rolf) , literature (Cecily von Ziegesar and Stéphanie Cohen Chaptal), art (Richard Phillips, Douglas Gordon and John Baldessari) and film (James Franco and Kirsten Dunst) to come up with eleven books with themes that ranged from the traditional to the surreal. In addition, each book used a different technique to add another dimension; the book by Bjork, Sjon, M/M Paris and Gabriela Fridriksdottir played a new track by Bjork (The Comet Song from the Moomins movie) as you flicked through the pages, Viktor & Rolf used glow in the dark ink and Pierre Huyghe and Mario Bellantin created a scratch and sniff book. Other unique touches included holograms, flocking, foil stamping and lenticular images. The collection was held together by a black patent leather traditional bookstrap and produced in an edition of 4000 copies. A portion of the proceeds from this issue went towards funding scholarships for the Blue School, a not-for-profit creative elementary school in New York.

Jo Ratcliffe and Stephanie Cohen Chaptal

Bjork, Sjon, Gabriela Fridriksdottir and M/M Paris

John Baldessari

Karen Kilimnik and Kirsten Dunst

Ugo Rondinone and John Giorno

Richard Phillips and Cecily Von Ziegesar

Viktor & Rolf

Pierre Huyghe and Mario Bellatin

Mat Collishaw – Insecticides

For those who follow my blog, I’m pretty sure you’ll have gathered I’m a great admirer of Mat Collishaw’s work, particularly his Insecticide series. The series consists of high resolution images of squashed moths and butterflies that the artist found in his studio. The resulting images are, at times, visceral and abstract; it is hard to discern the individual body parts, only traces, colours and forms remain. In 2009, Collishaw collated his Insecticide images into a signed, limited edition (500 copies) hardback book. The book itself is stunning, the cover is embossed with the title stamped in gold and the pages are gilt edged. Inside the images are separated in to Insecticides I and II, the images in the first series have the look of a Victorian lepidopterists study whereas the second series is much more sleek and graphic. Each image is printed on high gloss paper and is protected by a vellum sheet. Unsurprisingly, the book sold out quickly and is hard to find online (there is one for sale on Amazon). This isn’t the end of my Insecticide posts just yet, I recently bought a new Insecticide print from Mat Collishaw that is not in the book which I will post soon.

(click images to enlarge)

2012 Serpentine Gallery Pavilion – Ai Weiwei and Herzog & de Meuron

Last night, against a backdrop of high winds and pouring rain, saw the launch of the Serpentine Gallery’s 2012 pavilion. Each year the gallery commissions an architectural firm to come up with a unique and innovative temporary structure for their lawn. This year, the people behind the 2008 Beijing olympic stadium, Herzog & de Meuron and Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, came up with a pavilion that paid tribute it’s predecessors. The structure goes underground to explore the foundations of previous pavilions; cork clad geometric shapes cut across the space, creating multiple levels to explore, whilst 12 columns support a floating platform of water above. Despite the rain there was a good turn out as everyone sheltered in the pavilion between runs to the bar. The pavilion will host a number of cultural events over the summer as part of the London 2012 Festival, including the Serpentine Gallery Memory Marathon, the seventh marathon in a series conceived by the gallery’s co-director Hans Ulrich Obrist.

(additional images courtesty of Serpentine Gallery and Iwan Baan)

copyright Iwan Baan




Visionaire 46 – Uncensored by Mario Testino

For issue 46, Visionaire pushed the boundaries of both how they presented artwork and also the nature of the content. Mario Testino curated a whole issue dedicated to sex in contemporary art and as such, the issue came with a warning for the easily offended. Housed inside a silkscreened perspex case, the hardback book contained works by a wide range of artists including Tracey Emin, Jeff Burton, Marlene Dumas, Cecily Brown, Vik Muniz, Angus Fairhurst and Testino himself. To add to the sensory nature of the issue many of the works were uniquely presented on tactile inserts of latex, flocked paper, 35mm film and butcher paper and used techniques such as embroidery, embossing, laser cutting and pinpricking. In addition to the works in the book, there is a portfolio in the back that contains 5 previously unpublished original prints by Testino along with swatches from supermodel Gisele Bundchen’s bedsheets and male supermodel Jetzel Padilla’s underwear. The issue was produced in an edition of 2500, below are some of the less graphic images in the issue but caution should still be applied if viewing at work!

(Click “Read the rest of this entry” at the bottom of the post to see the other images)

Read the rest of this entry »

Cornelia Parker – Sugar Bowl (Thirty Pieces of Silver)

As I mentioned in a previous post this week, I picked up some great artworks at this years Art Car Boot Fair in London. This one by Cornelia Parker, may just be my favourite though, I have wanted to own a piece by her for years so this was a great opportunity to buy a one off, unique, work. The piece is entitield Sugar Bowl and is a polaroid of one of the pieces from her Thirty Pieces of Silver sculpture. This work comprises over one thousand flattened silver objects that are arranged in to thirty circular groups that are suspended by wire from the ceiling; The piece is now owned by The Tate and can be seen here. Much of Parkers work revolves around the notion of destruction and rearrangement, previous works have seen an exploded shed reconfigured around a light bulb or a single silver spoon melted and stretched in to a wire the same height as Niagra Falls.

When the work was first shown at the Hayward Gallery in 1990, Parker described her thought process behind Thirty Pieces of Silver: “As a child I used to crush coins on a railway track – you couldn’t spend the money afterwards but you kept the metal slivers for their own sake, as an imaginative currency and as physical proof of the destructive powers of the world. I find the pieces of silver have much more potential when their meaning as everyday objects has been eroded. ‘Thirty Pieces of Silver’ is about materiality and then about anti-matter. In the gallery the ruined objects are ghostly levitating just above the floor, waiting to be reassessed in the light of their transformation. The title, because of its biblical references, alludes to money, to betrayal, to death and resurrection: more simply it is a literal description of the piece.”

Dayanita Singh – Blue Book Special Edition

Indian photographer Dayanita Singh is internationally renowned for her work that involves the notions of journey and communication. Her photographic works are often accompanied by uniquely designed books that open her work to a wider audience (she is fiercely protective of her photographs and rarely sells them), in fact Singh describes herself as a bookmaker working with photography.

In 2008, the Serpentine Gallery presented Indian Highwayan exhibition of the pioneering work being created in India today. As part of this group exhibition, Singh presented her Blue Book project. The images in this project were made during her travels around the industrial landscapes of India, and as the name suggests, the images share a common theme of the colour blue. The richness of the blues in many of the images are almost hyperreal; Singh never manipulates her images in post production, instead the effect is achieved through using daylight colour film. The overall feeling of the project is one of peace and serenity, many of the images are created at dawn/dusk long after everyone has left. The culmination of this collection of images was Blue Book, a small cardboard folder containing 23 postcards which could be used to disseminate her work and communicate with others. For the exhibition, Singh created a special edition of 100 copies which included a 9cmx9cm print of the most well know image from this project, Dream Villa 11.

Dream Villa 11

Visionaire 49 – Decades

For issue 49, Visionaire took us on a trip through time from the 1880’s to the present day. Housed inside a huge embossed metallic clamshell case were thirteen foilstamped 18″x14″ sewn portfolios each created by a different artist to embody their assigned decade. The roster of artists included regular contributors Mats Gustafson, Karl Lagerfeld, Nick Knight, Bruce Weber and Lamsweerde & Matadin, each taking a unique and distinct approach to the project; Bruce Weber created a tribute to the soliders of WWII, Mario Testino took images of himself from the 70’s and created colourful montages and Steven Meisel gave us a scrap book of outtakes from numerous projects in the 80’s  The issue was produced in an issue of 4000 and is no longer available direct from Visionaire but can still be found in online bookstores.

(click images to enlarge)

Clamshell Box

1880s – Craig McDean

1890s – Mats Gustafson

1900s – Nick Knight

1910s – Karl Lagerfeld

1920s – Peter Lindbergh

1930s – Glen Luchford

1940s – Bruce Weber

1950s – David Sims

1960s – Francois Berthoud

1970s – Mario Testino

1980s – Steven Meisel

1990s – Mario Sorrenti

2000s – Inez Van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin

Luke Fowler – Pleasure Of Your Company (2009)

British artist and film maker, Luke Fowler was recently announced as one of this years Turner Prize shorlisted artists. His works, which are often described as cinematic collages, incorporate audio recordings that compliment rather than didactically labour the visuals. In 2008, he was awarded the Derek Jarman Award at the Serpentine Gallery which was followed by his first major solo exhibition there the following year. The exhibition comprised three films covering subjects such as the Kingsley Hall refuge set up by psychiatrist R.D. Laing and the career of avant-garde composer Cornelius Cardew. The exhibition was accompanied by a limited edition print entitled Pleasure Of Your Company which was produced in an edition size of 150. The print is still available direct from the gallery and is sure to be a good investment.

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