An archive of my ever expanding book and print collection

Matthew Barney – Cremaster 2

Cremaster 2, released in 1999, was the fourth installment of Matthew Barney’s Cremaster Cycle. The film has a circular narrative that intertwines the life and death of murderer Gary Gilmore with Harry Houdini who was rumoured to be Gilmore’s grandfather. Throughout the film bees are used as an allegory of Gilmore’s struggle with his destiny. The film opens with a seance where the spirit of Houdini is summoned and the conception of Gilmore is seen. The film then progresses to the murder of the gas station attendant that resulted in Gilmore’s capture. In this sequence, two Mustangs are joined together on a gas station forecourt, depicting the relationship between Gilmore and his partner Nicole Baker, both of who owned similar cars. The shooting of the station attendant moves the narrative to the trial and to Gilmore’s execution which is portrayed as a bull rodeo to the death on the Utah salt flats. In death, Gilmore’s life is linked back to Houdini through the depiction of his grandmother meeting with Houdini at the Columbian Exposition Hall, an act that sets in motion the circular narrative.

The catalogue produced for the film contains numerous production shots, drawings and associated artwork. As with all of his books, it was lavishly produced with numerous 4 panel foldouts and comes in a blue plastic slipcase, embossed with the Cremaster 2 emblem.

(click images to enlarge)



Francis Alys – Untitled Print

dOCUMENTA 13 is a festival that runs from June to September in Kassel, Germany and brings together over 300 participants. The festival is spread across numerous sites and includes exhibitions, lectures, seminars and poetry readings presented by artists and academics from all over the world. Among the artists participating in this festival is Francis Alys who is showing a new work commissioned by dOCUMENTA. Belgian-born artist Alys is internationally renowned and recently had a retrospective at Tate Modern which was highly acclaimed. His work, which spans painting, film, sound and installation, has a strong political theme and often highlights social and political injustices. For his commission, Alys created the film Reel-Unreel which sees two children pushing film reels through the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan; the film can be viewed here and is well worth watching. The film is a commentary on an event that occurred in Afghanistan in 2001, I won’t say what as the story is part of the video and isn’t explained until the end.

To coincide with the festival, Alys has produced a limited edition print; as far as I am aware this is a rare event, I have been unable to track down any other edition prints by Alys, so it is sure to be a collectors item. The print, produced in an edition of 200, is housed inside a cardboard portfolio that is held closed by a ribbon. The print itself measures 21.5x28cm and is stamped and signed on the front. At present it is unavailable to buy through the dOCUMENTA website but can be ordered through the Walther Konig website here.

Edition print for dOCUMENTA Reel-Unreel

Edition print for dOCUMENTA Reel-Unreel

Stephen Gill – Outside In Print

Earlier this week, the 2012 Brighton Photo Biennial was announced at the Photographers Gallery in London, and yet again looks set to be a great event. The last Biennial had an incredible roster of artists, including Stephen Gill who exhibited his Outside In series, which I have previously featured. To accompany the exhibition and the book, Gill released a limited edition print which embodied the projects aims; as Gill described……

“My aim was to evoke the feeling of the area at the same time as describing its appearance….The results included some highly detailed macro recordings amongst and within the landscapes and portraits. I like to think of these photographs as in-camera photograms in which conflict or harmony has been randomly formed in the final image depending on where the objects landed….I also used a magnifying glass to concentrate the Brighton sunlight onto some of the negatives in order to etch markings directly onto the image. Some of the negatives I dipped in the sea. I was imagining and hoping the finished series would be like the regurgitated contents of a giant vacuum cleaner.”

The print, an edition of 50, has sold out but he has two other prints from this series available on his website here

(P.S  The print isn’t this wonky, that’s just my bad angle!)

Richard Hamilton – Polaroids

I recently posted my Richard Hamilton Polaroid books (here), which documented Hamilton’s 34 year long project to have his portrait taken by every artist he met. In  2010, the Serpentine Gallery held an exhibition of Hamilton’s more political works to great acclaim; it turned out to be one of his last major exhibitions as he sadly passed away the following year. In conjunction with this exhibition, Hamilton revisited his Polaroid Portraits project and restored all the original images with the help of his son. These images were then offered as an edition to Serpentine patrons and visitors. However, rather than being able to choose which Polaroid you wanted Hamilton organised a raffle. Each person was allowed to buy a single raffle ticket for £145 (if i remember correctly) and towards the end of the exhibition Hamilton held an evening at the gallery where he raffled off each unique original print with the help of Roxy Music singer, Bryan Ferry. With our raffle tickets, we got Polaroids taken by the American artist Ron Kitaj and British Painter Stephen Buckley.

Anthony McCall – Between You and I

British born artist Anthony McCall was a central figure of the London Film-makers Co-operative in the 1970’s and was renowned for his filmed performances involving fire. After moving to New York in 1973, McCall embarked on a new series of Solid Light works, the most famous being Line Describing a Cone. Using rooms filled with a smoky haze, McCall projected beams of light that slowly pulsed and morphed, creating shapes that drew their footprint on the walls and floors of the space. At the end of the 70’s, McCall all but retired from the art world and his work faded in to history. It was only 20 years later, when McCall was reinvigorated by the possibilities of digital projection, that he started to make work again and reopened his Solid Light series. Around the same time, his work was enjoying somewhat of a renaissance and exhibited in major museum all over the world.

In 2007, the Serpentine Gallery presented a retrospective of his work, including film, drawings, photographs and scores, largely from McCall’s personal archive. This exhibition reinvigorated the UK art establishments interest in his work and he has since had a number of major exhibitions and commissions, including the upcoming piece Column, a spinning column of vapour cloud that will rise from the Wirral waters near Liverpool. To accompany his exhibition at the Serpentine, McCall produced a limited edition print of his Solid Light piece Between You and I. The print (53cm x 37.5cm) was produced in an edition of 150 and has since sold out although a similar print entitled Coupling can be bought from Peer here.


Mat Collishaw – Insecticide 28

By now you will no doubt know that I like Mat Collishaw’s Insecticide series. As part of the London 2012 cultural festival that surrounds the Olympics, Collishaw has teamed up with UK designer Matthew Williamson to reinterpret one of his Insecticide images which can be seen here. To tie in with this, I thought I would post the final installment of my Insecticide collection. Here is Insecticide 28, a print I recently bought from Mat Collishaw. I believe this is one of his more recent images in the series, it is not documented in the Insecticides catalogue I recently posted. To find out more about this body of work click here for a full run down of all my Collishaw posts to date.

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)

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