August 3, 2012

theparisreview:

For here we see a designer for whom Surrealism, the fantastic and the ludic are never far away … and for whom the letterform is just one vital element (or set of elements) and not necessarily always the most important, in a field of communicative resources that includes every kind of made, found or photographic pictorial device.

An appreciation of the work of influential French book designer Pierre Faucheux.

(Source: Design Observer)

May 27, 2011
writersnoonereads:

Rest in peace, Leonora Carrington

writersnoonereads:

Rest in peace, Leonora Carrington

May 27, 2011
So long, Leonora. RIP.
proustitute:

Leonora Carrington, Litany of the Philosophers, 1953
(thanks skibinskipedia)

So long, Leonora. RIP.

proustitute:

Leonora Carrington, Litany of the Philosophers, 1953

(thanks skibinskipedia)

May 14, 2011
On Book Shopping: LACMA Art Catalogue Store & New editions from Wakefield Press

With the exception of dimly lit, curiously decorated dive bars, there is perhaps no better place for me than a finely curated museum bookstore. I spent my last day in Los Angeles at the sprawling LACMA campus, moving with ease (thanks to Sierra Nevada Pale Ales) between the cafe, the splendid breezeway bar, the many galleries, and finally, the art catalogue bookstore. 

I was first drawn to the long table collecting a variety of recent arrivals and books of note. I love the way a random assortment of books can lead to unique juxtapositions, synchronicities, and unexpected connections, particularly when books are not segregated by their subject matters. This pleasure was further stoked when I moved to the stacks, and quickly realized that the store had abandoned categorization altogether, merging fiction, poetry, artists’ books, architecture, urban planning, photography, monographs, and other curiosities. 

At LACMA, rare art books sit in the stacks with their contemporaries. Though most were well out of my league, it was nice to investigate small run monographs, and rare editions of more well known works on folks like Le Corbusier.

Though I was tempted by MIT Press’s Leave Any Information At The Signal, I surprised the manager of the bookstore by selecting a new edition of Benjamin Peret’s The Leg of Lamb from Wakefield Press (she had ordered it on a whim, thinking it would sit on the shelves—alas it had only been there two days!). Peret’s work is incredibly under-represented, and any new edition entering the commercial sphere is cause for celebration. I was first introduced to him by poet James Tate, who generously shepherded my reading of proto-surrealist, surrealist, and other wonderfully odd works in an independent study many years ago. The only Peret texts I could track down at the time were the University of Nebraska’s French Modernist Library edition of Death to the Pigs, and the sublime collections issued by @las press, which are rather scarce.

Wakefield’s edition of The Leg of Lamb, translated by Marc Lowenthal, is very nice specimen of current trade paperback book design, with a pleasingly minimal cover, endflaps, textured endpapers, and crisp typography. I realized after returning home that I had recently acquired another Wakefield title, Georges Perec’s An Attempt At Exhausting A Place In Paris (a valentine from my lovely partner!), which is just as sensuous, though smaller in size, but with endflaps still intact. They currently have three series:

Wakefield Handbooks series (the guidebook as imagined through literature) and the Imagining Science series (science as imagined through literature), as well as forays into classic experimental fiction (literature as imagined through literature)”. 

As for the qualities of Peret’s work, and The Leg of Lamb in particular, well, I’ll save that for another post; but, in short, he’s a master of the automatic impulse, filling his fantastic narratives with an amazing imagistic capability, and a wondrous sense of humor. A scene, a sentence, may begin sensibly enough, undertake an unforeseen turn, and end with a surprise. Por ejemplo (taken at random), “And to punish him, each one of his toes gives birth to a tiny jasmine whose flowers are so many butterflies that go nest in his ears” (from “The Bridge of Sighs”).

For my coin, Peret’s work is one of the best examples of surrealist literature. Do the world a favor, and support Wakefield Press! I’m gonna order up the rest, especially excited for Paul Scheerbart’s works!

May 4, 2011
Artaud, All Writing Is Pigshit

yourlastaffront:

Artaud, Antonin. “All Writing Is Pigshit…” Artaud Anthology. San Francisco: City Lights Publishers, 2001. Tras. David Rattray. 20 Apr. 2011. <http://endingthealphabet.org/019valentines.html>.

April 8, 2011
salvaged:


Hans Bellmer - Machine Gun(neress) in a State of Grace, 1937

via eraseourhead

salvaged:

Hans Bellmer - Machine Gun(neress) in a State of Grace, 1937

via eraseourhead

March 29, 2011
"During this time, on deserted highways licked avidly by an icy wind, we ventured out, Despair and I, to get clear of misfortune by wandering in the marshlands."

— Pierre Reverdy, Haunted House.

March 28, 2011
autoentropy:

Opium den&#160;: photo by Brassaï

autoentropy:

Opium den : photo by Brassaï

(Source: autoentropy)

March 26, 2011
"The sordid feet of misfortune will come and swell the ranks of the loathsome gang that sinks deeper into the mud left by these whirlpools of glutinous water. That sinister gang marching complacently toward death. Then if meticulously honed screams begin to rip the night, the sleeping eardrums, the shredded hearts, the wilted souls, the crooked reckonings, the screen of cowardice, the skin of hands without gifts, the veils of palates, the pupils of the eyes and the dawn of ideas, these troops of shepherds will be rolled like a ball before the storm; along the tracks hewn in the marble of the quays they will be seen running like clouds of smoke caught in the underbrush, transfixed against the parapet of their fragile consciences. And yet it’s the beginning of a new life that has been placed on the shelf of daybreak, this morning. A dawn like whipped cream made all the leaves weep for miles around, sorrow streamed along the living timbers, in secret channels and as far as the sluices of the human heart."

Pierre Reverdy, Haunted House.

March 22, 2011
"

It aspires to a spontaneous reclassification of things according to an order that is more profound and more subtle, and impossible to elucidate by the methods of ordinary reason, but an order all the same, and one that is perceptible to some unknown sense…but perceptible all the same, and an order which does not belong entirely to death.

Between the world and ourselves the rupture is complete. We do not speak to make ourselves understood, but only inside ourselves, with the plowshares of anguish, with the cutting edge of a fierce obstinacy, we turn thought over, we make thought uneven.

"

— Antonin Artaud, “The Activity of the Surrealist Research Bureau,” 1925.