“Reality as mud as dense as air” reads the spine of Sofia Borges’ book The Swamp, and equally, the series of photographs that she presents is as leaden as it is impenetrable. Spanning a seven-year period, it largely records Borges’ countless visits to natural history museums, zoos, aquariums and research centres, where the artifice of reality became her point of focus. For Borges, displays such as habitat dioramas serve as the ultimate form of representation, where objects have the virtuous task of representing “themselves” – a type, genre or group that is inherently bound to language through layers of history and meaning. As a motionless walrus lies in its plastic Antarctic locale and the beady eye of a fossilised bird catches your glance, what glares back at you from the depths of The Swamp is not the thing itself, but the image, of an image, of an image.
“What I seek are images, which, in their very artifice, are able to present themselves as a problem”, Borges has said. Beyond the comical absurdity of museological spectacles that spawn the living dead, The Swamp takes aim at the notion that images can be “read”. Taking inspiration from the insoluble language of Beckett on the one hand, and the cinematic mind-twists of Lynch on the other, Borges disrupts logical processes of comprehension, offering seemingly random sequences of images, whose monstrous forms and coarse surfaces purposefully assault the senses.
Open spine softcover book with wraparound dust jacket
49 colour plates
22 black & white plates
21 cm x 26 cm
Texts by Terry R. Myers and Nicholas Hatful
Oliver Osborne is not the first painter to make pretty choice paintings that are about choice, or, better yet, about doing something about choice itself: something critical yet open, timely yet mindful of history. The categories in which his paintings could be situated remain well-placed themselves not because they have been kept in their place as dogma but rather because many artists have worked hard to resist those aspects of choice that have too often and too easily become limiting, if not exclusionary and reactionary. Abstract, representational, high, low, painting, picture, even colour and line are less likely than maybe ever to fit into any construct of either/or. Not that long ago any hint of such a resistance to definition was usually taken as evidence of a lack of commitment or conviction, a verdict rendered more often than not on the basis of modernist doctrine.
Now, of course, new painters are emerging after postmodernism has moved from theory to doctrine itself, and, to my eyes (and ears), it’s clear that another paradigm is emerging, one that pushes against not only the either/or but also any continuation of the ‘death of painting’ narrative. It seems to me that that story now seems to many of these emerging painters as having been exhausted by those of us who lived through a parent-child relationship with both modernism and postmodernism that was (and may still be) ambivalent. There have been, fortunately, some agile and reliable ‘runaways’ such as Laura Owens, who, as demonstrated in a recent interview, is very much on point about what the death of painting wasn’t able to extinguish: ‘painting does things , and why wouldn’t you use all the things it does?’
This is the attitude adjustment that emerging painters such as Oliver Osborne have taken on and then intensified to up their game. Well versed in crucial aspects of image culture (its production and analysis), and with an anything-but-lacking desire for the material conditions of making and, yes, the dexterity of both hand and brain, Osborne has already established in his work that the long-standing ways and means of painting (long, long before modernism) are not all that played out after all.
Softcover, 21 x 29,7 cm
In Almost Every Picture 14
The fourteenth edition of Erik Kessels’ found photography series presents a semi-nude detective story: who chopped the heads off all the sunbathers?
This latest series was discovered in the late eighties by the photographer Toon Michiels. Edited & designed by Erik Kessels.
Colour, 155 x 200 mm, 148 pages, soft cover.
Work 1969 – 2013
The reference monograph on the work of artist Agnes Denes, this profusely illustrated book aslo gathers an extensive selection of the artist’s texts and manifestos. Born in 1938 in Budapest, Denes lived in Stockholm from the age of nine, before spending her teenage years, from 1954 on, in New York, where she still lives and works today. Since the late 1960s, Agnes Denes has combined a conceptual approach to drawing and printmaking with interventions in the natural and urban environment, which were altogether pioneering in terms of her ecological origins and scope. “Although I deal with difficult concepts, my work remains visual. The process of ‘visualization’ is double important since aspects of the work explore invisible systems, underlying structures, and patterns inherent in our existence,” Denes said in 1978. This catalogue provides incontrovertible evidence to the statement.
Softcover, 24 x 32 cm
Texts by Maurizio Cattelan, Johanna Fateman, and Thomas Micchelli
This publication is the first major catalogue of the work of feminist artist Judith Bernstein, and was created in conjunction with the artist’s retrospective at Kunsthall Stavanger, Norway in 2016. A former Guerilla Girl and founding member of A.I.R Gallery, New York, Bernstein has worked consistently for over five decades despite censorship and periods of art world neglect. Titled Judith Bernstein Rising, the catalogue serves as the first publication to contextualize Bernstein’s vast oeuvre within the history of art, feminism, and the American socio-political climate of the late-20th century. The catalogue presents a variety of archival images tracing the artist’s fifty-year career from the 1960s through the present day, as well as installation images from the exhibition at Kunsthall Stavanger, and commissioned texts from artist and writer Thomas Micchelli, and Le Tigre band member and writer Johanna Fateman, as well as an interview by artist Maurizio Catalan.
Softcover, 23 x 30 cm