Spreading fear and mayhem in the visual arts.

Archive for the Belletristica category

20 Most Popular Posts on Wurzeltod in 2011

by Suzanne on December 26th, 2011

To wrap up 2k11 on the Wurzelblog, I decided to post the 20 articles you guys liked best - according to likes, shares and reactions - and I must say, you've got a rather amazing and futureproof taste in the arts, people.

Many thanks for taking the time to submit stories, comment and interact in the past year(s).

(In order of popularity and ordered into rather random categories. Click on images to read stories.)





Keiichi Tanaami's "Hop Step Jump" published by Nieves

by Suzanne on October 21st, 2011

Double page from Hop Step Jump by Keiichi Tanaami, published by Nieves, 32 pages, 19.5 x 25.5 cm, color offset, 2011 - click to enlarge

I guess I have expressed my huge love affair with the small(est) press and tiny publication houses/rooms/shoeboxes here often enough by posting about releases by My Dance The Skull, Shelter Press, Le Dernier Cri, Atem Books and obviously also the now sadly defunct Kaugummi Books and Les éditions derrière la salle de bains. And everyone I forgot.

A small publisher that's been around for a decade now releasing book after book and zine after zine is Zurich's Nieves. Their catalogue is really diverse and eclectic and they have their own iPhone app and they're an incredibly progressive and very driven bunch of people.

Why am I telling you all this? For mainly three reasons:

• Because a lot of small art zine publishers are struggling to survive due to a low-to-non-profit nature of their business and no-advertisement approach while doing highly important communication work for the visual arts. So they deserve your support.

• Art zines are often super cheap, a lot of them numbered and limited in edition size, lovingly produced - a lot of them screen-printed or printed on Risographs or Goccos, and they simply offer you so much more authenticity and genuinity than a glossy mag.

• Nieves has just released a little book on the art of Keiichi Tanaami and it's super tasty and psychedelic.

Double page from Hop Step Jump by Keiichi Tanaami, published by Nieves, 32 pages, 19.5 x 25.5 cm, color offset, 2011 - click to enlarge

Hop Step Jump is a fantastic visual journey through Keiichi Tanaami's memories and nightmares. Born in Tokyo in 1936, he absorbed the horrors and grotesquery of warfare from early childhood and later wrote about these experiences and how they affected his art:

“I was rushed away from my childhood, a time that should be filled with eating and playing, by the enigmatic monstrosity of war; my dreams were a vortex of fear and anxiety, anger and resignation. On the night of the air raid, I remember watching swarms of people flee from bald mountaintops. But then something occurs to me: was that moment real? Dream and reality are all mixed up in my memories, recorded permanently in this ambiguous way.”

You can preview the book here and purchase it here.

Confessions of an Ill-Fitting Mask

by Suzanne on October 13th, 2011

Sometimes I write notes on Facebook - of all places - and sometimes they get really long so I thought I might post this one here as well because there's a certain lack of personal articles here. Thanks to Nana for reminding me about the book and to Rob for letting me (accidentally) rip apart his copy.

I knew I'd fall in love with Yukio Mishima's Confessions of a Mask and it's probably one of the main reasons I hadn't read it before. I wanted to read it at the right time and place where a hard look at my own childhood would be undisturbed.

I could always identify with male book characters way easier than female heroines and the only female characters I could ever fully immerse myself in were the doomed and downright pathetic ones like Madame Bovary - the ones "strong" only in their subconscious determination to really fuck things up big time.

So while I always understood stories better from a male perspective, this is the absolute first time I can also physically identify with a male character because my childhood body, my "bad habit" as Mishima calls it, awoke in a similar way - albeit a lot earlier. So early, I had to completely stop talking about it because if there's something curious about human nature, it's how we completely deny and repress the fact that we're extremely horny little animals from a very early age.

So whenever someone embraces that fact - be it in art or literature - and explains and yes, in Mishima's case you could say, exploits it passionately and vividly, I'm all ears.

It means writing against the forces who find honest looks at our early lives "disgusting", "perverted" and "misguided" when it's really just that: Brutal honesty and the willingness to remember and chronicle PRECISELY.

It's probably one of the most exhausting mental acts to bring back those memories - and in many cases, they've obviously been repressed for a reason and should maybe even stay that way forever.

In my case, however, the only reason they've been tippexed is because if there was one constant in my early childhood, it was the feeling of doing something wrong, something bad... essentially of BEING wrong, of BEING bad. I don't even know where that feeling came from as it didn't come from my parents so I have to blame generations of genetic devout Roman Catholicism for it.

Anyways, I don't really want to write about how, in a way, we're all born "perverts" but more about how we're all born guilty, all born sad.

The main reason apart from the very obvious ecological ones why I never want to put a life into this world is because I firmly believe that we are born with all the sorrow, all the weariness, all the longing, all the guilt, the Weltschmerz, the incessant coming of death (I don't believe for a second that children don't "get" the concept of death because they're so very close to it, so very mortal, so utterly incapabale of survival) but, perhaps most importantly and painfully, the full realisation that we'll never understand anything.

Babies look like old men, like used star dust thrown back together to form something really useless and compared to other animals, frankly quite ugly in shape.

One of my first childhood memories is, very similar to Mishima's actually, how some old lady bent down to take a good hard look at me when I was out with grandma and said - addressing me in the third person as if I didn't have ears.. or indeed, wasn't present: "She looks like she's carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, that little thing. Does she ever smile?"

Now, what society taught me was to put a smile on my face when people ask such questions because I would get lollipops, kisses, friends... yes, money. Instead, I hid behind my grandma's giant leg and started sobbing. I felt like I had let my guard down and that for a second, that woman saw right into me. So much so that it physically hurt.

Don't all children carry the weight of the world on their shoulders though? We are born crying and from the moment we can speak we ask the one essential question over and over and over again: Why. Why. Why.

If you're one of the lucky few, like I was, we get born to patient, imaginative parents who - often not knowing the answer to our whys themselves - just invent something glorious, something pompous, a lie so utterly megalomaniac it stills the thirst for a while, lets the mind go on an exotic journey full of colours and flavours.

I always knew it when I was being fed a make-believe, but then just like now, if the lie was pretentious and ridiculous enough, I would go along with it like a Sturm & Drang hero if it would make my brain stop aching and rotating and take it to some place else, some place far away, some place arcadian.

We are born curious escapists yet we are taught to get a firm cynical grip on reality (whatever that might be).

We are born sad wisemen and -woman yet we are taught to grow a smiling face around our masks and not ask too many questions.

I refuse. This mask and my face, they'll never fuse and when I die, I will take it off and lay it down beside me.

Julie Heffernan in San Francisco & Alex CF's limited edition of "Many Dead Things"

by Suzanne on August 28th, 2011

Budding Boy by Julie Heffernan, oil on canvas, 78 x 56 inches, 2010 - click to enlarge

This coming Saturday, September 3, Julie Heffernan's highly anticipated solo show Boy O Boy II will be opening at Catharine Clark Gallery, 150 Minna Street, San Francisco.

Since it's totally impossible to notice the subtleties, the intricate microcosms (see for instance the tiny ladder in Budding Boy bottom left), the cultivated pastoral or the symbiotic opulence which are all so very essential to Julie's work in an online reproduction, I would highly recommend you to go see Boy O Boy II in person if you happen to be in S.F..

The official reception is actually not until September 10, 4 - 7 PM. The exhibition will remain on show until October 29, 2011.

© Alex CF

Good news just reached us from Alex CF HQ: Alex's acclaimed debut monograph Many Dead Things - The Specimens of Lord Merrylin will be released as a new edition. Click here for more details and here to pre-order your own copy.

The release is limited to 100 copies only - each of them signed - containing 140 pages of glorious cryptozoology, a foreword by the great Reece Shearsmith from League of Gentlemen and costs £30.

Finally, and for absolutely no reason other than CAUSE I FUCKING CAN, please enjoy these fabulous horror GIFs that were brought to my attention by the SameHat Tumblr. If you happen to have any information on their source and/or creator, please do get in touch.

Click images to enlarge

Chicago People: Kaugummi at Golden Age, one-night-only!

by Suzanne on July 8th, 2011

From Dondoro by Estelle Hanania & Hoichi Okamoto, published by Kaugummi, 2011, 48 pages, FR/EN, full colour offset, 1000 copies - click to enlarge

If you happen to find yourself in Chicago tomorrow evening: This is an event not to be missed as one of my very favourite French publishers of small press is having a retrospective displaying more than 70 zines from their 7-year publishing history.

If you've never heard of Kaugummi Books, you obviously haven't been paying attention to this blog and I suggest you go stand in a corner and think about what you've done.

From It's My Life by Aleksandra Waliszewska, published by Kaugummi, 2010, 20 pages, black and white on pink paper, 100 copies, handnumbered - click to enlarge

For all others: The event will take place at Golden Age from 6 - 9 PM tomorrow and I highly suggest you show up with a few bucks to support independent publishing.

Venue details below.

From Death Patrol by Stephane Prigent, published by Kaugummi, 2011, 20 pages, printed on grey paper, 100 copies, handnumbered - click to enlarge

On show: Jul 9, 2011, 6 - 9 PM

Address: Golden Age, 119 N Peoria St. #2D, Chicago, IL 60607, USA, tel: +1 312 288 8535

Opening hours: Fri - Sat: 12 - 6 PM and by appointment

Kaugummi Books

WurzelForum discussion

Eikoh Hosoe (yes, AGAIN!) at Clair, Munich

by Suzanne on June 22nd, 2011

Yukio Mishima as Saint Sebastian by Eikoh Hosoe - click to enlarge

Yes, I know I abuse every Eikoh Hosoe exhibition announcement to indulge in Mishima erotica when the rest of his oeuvre is absolutely breathtaking, but deep deep down, you all want to see Mishima's perfectly toned oily near-naked body (... and ANYWAYS, I even threw in a Kazuo Ohno to be fair!)

Kazuo Ohno by Eikoh Hosoe - click to enlarge

People who are close to me know of my obsession with St Sebastians in art, and I actually have to admit that I now completely forgot what I wanted to write about here but OH BOY!

Exhibition details are below and let's here it from the man himself:

"The world to which I was abducted under the spell of [Hosoe’s] lens was abnormal, warped, sarcastic, grotesque, savage, and promiscuous…It was, in a sense, the reverse of the world we live in, where our worship of social appearances and our concern for public morality and hygiene create foul filthy sewers winding beneath the surface. Unlike ours, the world to which I was escorted was a weird, repellent city—naked, comic, wretched, cruel, and overdecorative—yet in its underground channels there flowed, inexhaustibly, a pellucid stream of unsullied feeling."

Mishima's preface to Eikoh Hosoe's Ordeal by Roses

From Ordeal by Roses by Eikoh Hosoe, gelatin silver print, 1963/1976 - click to enlarge

On show: Jun 7 - Jul 16, 2011

Address: Clair, Franz-Joseph-Str. 10, D-80801 München, Germany, tel: +49.(0)89.386674-42/46, email: info@clair.me | Map

Gallery hours: Wed - Sat: 3 - 7 PM, and by appointment

Preview | Bio

Franz von Bayros & Alphonse Inoue at Vanilla Gallery, Tokyo

by Suzanne on February 5th, 2011

Endless thanks to BibliOdyssey and Journey Around My Skull for trying to spread the word about Art Nerd on Twitter and Dana for commenting - trust me, you have no idea how much it means and you'll have a place in my heart until the end of times.

Ex-libris of Sweet Snail by Franz von Bayros, ca. 1900 - click to enlarge

With my knowledge of Japanese being sadly close to nada, I'm not sure I got all the information about this Ex Libris exhibition at Vanilla Gallery in Tokyo right and I do believe that it actually closes today, i.e. has already closed by the time I post this, so please do correct me if certain details are wrong and the show is still running.

What I think I did gather is that works by Franz von Bayros (top) and Alphonse Inoue (bottom) are/were on show and that alone is epic enough to grab my attention.

© Alphonse Inoue - click to enlarge

Address: Vanilla Gallery, 2nd Kamata Bld.4F, 6-10-10 Ginza Chuo-ku Tokyo, Japan | Map

Gallery hours: Mon - Fri: 12 – 7 PM, Sat: 12 - 5 PM

Preview show

Discuss on the WurzelForum: Alphonse Inoue | Franz von Bayros

In other exciting news, old WurzelFavourite® Chris Ryniak is currently posting daily sketches of his works over on his blog Eat the Future which make his insane genius even more apparent.

Go check it out, yo!

Two Important Sunday Thoughts From Our Friends Slavoj And Werner

by Suzanne on December 19th, 2010

(Slavoj Žižek on toilets and ideology)

([Faux] Werner Herzog reads Twas The Night Before Christmas)

Please also make sure to check out Werner Herzog Reads "Where Is Waldo?". It's a masterpiece.

Okay, carry on children.

New Alexander Korzer-Robinson book sculptures!

by Suzanne on December 14th, 2010

Family Book by Alexander Korzer-Robinson, cut medical book, ca. 1910, 25cm x 18cm x 4cm - click to enlarge

In a time when lasers cut everything with maximum precision and zero blood, sweat 'n' tears, people like Alexander Korzer-Robinson are an endangered sub-species so it is with great pleasure that I present you his new works!

May I say that considering the amount of time, nerves, plasters & Savlon® involved, these books are an absolute steal and I would buy them all if I had enough cash monehs. Just saying.

You can discuss the Master of the Scalpel's dissected books and other bibliophile matters over on The WurzelForum®

Ferdinand Schmutzer at Anzenberger Gallery, Vienna

by Suzanne on September 26th, 2008

Albert Einstein by Ferdinand Schmutzer, 1921 - click for details

Ferdinand Schmutzer was a famous Viennese etcher and engraver and a little known photographer who - during his lifetime from 1870 - 1928 - happened to portray some of the most illustrious personalities of the glorious past century. His photographic oeuvre, however, disappeared from public knowledge and was only rediscovered under a Viennese rooftop 7 years ago.

His work is now the focus of a publication and a greatly deserved exhibition titled Ferdinand Schmutzer - The Photographic Oevre 1894-1928 that opened at Anzenberger Gallery in Vienna the other day. You can find all necessary details below.

On a personal note, I selected the portraits of Albert Einstein and Sigmund Freud for a reason: Ever since reading their lucid exchange of letters entitled Warum Krieg? (Why War?) seeing them and their great minds together has always made me feel strangely awestruck, inspired and endlessly grateful for the way they - and their fellow 20th century scientists - passed their immense knowledge on to us - the future generations that would eventually fuck everything up. o_O

Anyway, I can highly recommend the little book as some kind of anticlimactic reading material that will make you wonder where all the big thinkers and changers of the 21st century are hiding.

Sigmund Freud by Ferdinand Schmutzer, 1926 - click for details

On show: September 25, 2008 - January 31, 2009

Address: Anzenberger Gallery, Regina Maria Anzenberger, Zeinlhofergasse 7, A - 1050 Vienna, Austria, tel: +43-1-587 82 51

Preview works

Publication: Ferdinand Schmutzer by Regina Maria Anzenberger and Uwe Schögl (editors), 228 pages, 100 photographs, published by Moser Verlag, Munich 2008